Joe Manchin has put out his own version of a voting right/democracy protection bill. Tierney Sneed has the details here. Broadly speaking it seems like a watered down version of a Voting Rights Act upgrade and a stripped down version of H.1/S.1, the For the People Act. Like everything else with Manchin, it’s hard to know whether it means anything anyway since his baseline is needing 10 Republicans in support and there’s virtually no chance that happens.
But there is one detail which immediately caught my eye.
From his overview it seems like he is on board with the parts of H1/S1 that ban partisan gerrymandering. Yes, devil’s in the details and how much H1/S1 ban it is itself sort of an open question. I know many people don’t agree with me on this. But to me, the ban on partisan gerrymandering is the most important thing about the whole effort. The voting protections are very important too. Some more critical than others. In any case, I’m not trying to litigate that. A lot of it is important. But if Manchin is for a bill that hits gerrymandering, a lot of the voter protection stuff if not all and makes some progress on restoring the Voting Rights Act, I’d say take it.
The key here of course is what’s he going to do to pass it? If this is just what he supports along with 10 Republican unicorns, who cares? But to me this is significant. And various things I’ve heard in the last couple days make me think that the filibuster reform question is not as closed as it looks.
Late Update: I just noticed that Stacey Abrams seems to agree.