Getting voting rights legislation through the Senate just became a whole lot more realistic

Among the reasons for pundits on the left and sometimes the center to despair is the upcoming 2022 midterm election – which is often difficult for the party of the incumbent president. That hasn’t always been the case, however, and there are opportunities for Democrats to pick up Senate seats not unlike what the GOP did in 2018, when it was much less popular. One point to fret over has been the fate of the HR 1 For the People Act – an across-the-board package of much needed voting reforms essential for bringing out the core constituency of the Democratic Party in the first place.

It turns out, for voting rights, all hope is not lost. In fact, we could be looking at restoration of the Voting Rights Act with bipartisan support, as Sen. Lisa Murkowski has joined with Joe Manchin to revitalize the key legislation and amend it. There’s not much of a chance that Murkowski will get an additional nine Republican senators to join her in support for voting rights and avoid the filibuster, but that doesn’t matter. Murkowski likely only stepped up to the plate because she’s facing a difficult path to renomination in 2022.

With some exemptions for the filibuster specific to just the Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice will have some powerful tools to fight against the onslaught of voter suppression bills passed in red states. Striking down the laws on their own isn’t enough though – we need to take 2022 as seriously as we have the last four elections and turn out as many voters as possible to vote Republicans out of office.

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