The 50 Democratic senators who support the For the People Act (or least Sen. Joe Manchin’s compromise proposal keeping some key elements of the bill while excluding others) represent 43 million more Americans than the 50 Republican senators who oppose it, according to data compiled by Alex Tausanovitch of the Center for American Progress. Yet because of the 60-vote requirement to pass most legislation, 41 Republican senators representing just 21 percent of the country can block the bill from moving forward, even though it’s supported by 68 percent of the public, according to recent polling.
The bill wouldn’t change the deeply unrepresentative nature of the US Senate, but it would expand voting access for millions of Americans through policies like automatic voter registration and two weeks of early voting, while cracking down on partisan gerrymandering and dark money to make the system more fair.
Yet Democrats and Republicans are playing by two different sets of rules. Because Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will not support getting rid of the filibuster, Democrats must find 10 GOP votes to pass legislation to preserve American democracy—essentially giving Mitch McConnell veto power over protecting voting rights—while heavily gerrymandered GOP state legislatures unilaterally enact a barrage of new voter suppression bills through a simple majority vote that will make it harder for Democrats to win future elections. [Continue reading…]