Reality Takes a Baseball Bat to Joe Biden's Plan to Stop State Election Security Laws

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Following the cluster that was the 2020 election, which included a mixture of ill-prepared emergency orders leading to some chaos at the polls, several states have passed election security laws that standardize their voting processes going forward. Things like set early voting periods (which we shouldn’t even have at all, in my opinion), voter ID requirements, and a rejection of universal, unverified mail-in voting make up most of the laws.

In a sane country, that wouldn’t be controversial, especially when almost all requirements actually expand on what the system allowed in 2018. But because Democrats see shades of victory in a system that is more and more unsecured, they lost their minds. We all remember the consternation over Georgia’s recent election law.

That led Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring out the tough talk. Now, the reality of the situation is taking a baseball bat to their plans.

Here, try not to enjoy this write-up from Politico too much.

But next week, when the Senate takes up Democrats’ signature elections bill designed to expand voting access, it will fail. Barring a change of heart among 10 Republicans or certain Democrats dropping their resistance to changing Senate rules, Biden’s legislative agenda on voting and election protections will be dramatically limited…

…“Without new federal legislation, the biggest lever the Biden Administration has is [the] DOJ,” said Rick Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California, Irvine. The Justice Department can file suit under the Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, National Voter Registration Act and other laws “to ensure that federal law protecting voting rights and a fair election process are followed,” he said.

“This is not as good in terms of protecting voting rights as preclearance, killed by the Supreme Court in 2013,” said Hasen, referring to sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down in a decision known as Shelby v. Holder. “But it is better than nothing.”

This entire thing can be summarized in two parts. One, Democrat efforts to pass the For the People Act are going to fail. That bill is a federal takeover of the election system that mandates things like ballot harvesting, universal mail-in voting, and no voter ID, all aspects Democrats see as a way to make themselves a permanent majority. The votes just aren’t there, with Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema both saying they won’t blow up the filibuster to pass it. The former is also directly against the bill.

Secondly, and this is where the tough talk of Merrick Garland comes in, the DOJ really has no arrows in its quiver. Following the 2013 decision by the Supreme Court to strike down “preclearance” as an aspect of the Voting Rights Act, you no longer need Congress’ approval to make changes to state voting laws. Given how well within bounds these Republican-led, state-level election reform bills are, what exactly is the DOJ going to sue over? That they only have two weeks of early voting instead of three? Because the hysteria over election laws like the ones in Texas, Georgia, and Florida is a faux moral panic, there’s no real meat on the bone for Democrats to go after once the CNN hits are done.

This is a reality of politics that the left desperately doesn’t want to admit exists. You can talk big and make all the threats you want, but if you don’t have the power, you don’t have the power. The DOJ will no doubt try to sue, but it will go nowhere. Biden will don his aviators and make Joy Reid squee, but it will go nowhere. The dream of the permanent Democrat majority via federal legislation is dead and Republican-led states are going on the offensive. That there’s so much screaming in response is a good thing. It shows the GOP is making headway.