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The wages of Sinema and Manchin’s opposition to voting rights legislation

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And, no, nominally supporting voting rights legislation while also supporting the anti-democratic Jim Crow mechanism that makes passing it impossible doesn’t count. The only thing that can be done is to organize around it, and it will consume resources to do so:

With the door slammed shut this week on federal legislation to create new protections for access to voting, Democrats face an electoral landscape in which they will need to spend heavily to register and mobilize voters if they are to overcome the hodgepodge of new voting restrictions enacted by Republicans across the country.

Democrats rode record turnout to win the presidency and control of the Senate in 2020 after embracing policies that made it easier to vote with absentee ballots during the pandemic. But Republican-controlled state legislatures have since enacted a range of measures that undo those policies, erect new barriers to voting and remove some of the guardrails that halted former President Donald J. Trump’s drive to overturn the election.

Now, Democrats’ best chance for counteracting the new state laws is gone after Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, declared her opposition on Thursday to President Biden’s push to lift the filibuster to pass the party’s two voting access bills.

That failure infuriated Democrats and left them contemplating a long and arduous year of organizing for the midterm elections, where they already face headwinds from Mr. Biden’s low approval ratings, inflation, congressional redistricting and the persistent pandemic.

Democratic officials and activists now say they are resigned to having to spend and organize their way around the new voting restrictions — a prospect many view with hard-earned skepticism, citing the difficulty of educating masses of voters on how to comply with the new rules.

They say it would require them to compensate by spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars more on voter-registration and turnout programs — funds that might otherwise have gone to promoting Democratic candidates.

As we’ve discussed before, the hot Cool Kid argument is that the new round of vote suppression laws is no big deal because they don’t appear to have had a large impact on turnout in the unusually high-turnout election of 2020. The conclusion that this will continue to be true in all elections going forward as the restrictions get tighter is, at best, premature. But given the realities of the Senate I guess we have to hope it will prove true going forward.

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