In a July 13 speech, President Biden had some strong words for Republican efforts to make it harder to vote. He called the laws currently sweeping statehouses a “21st-century Jim Crow assault,” “the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine,” and “simply unconscionable.” It was a bully pulpit–thumping performance.
It was most notable, however, for what the president did not say: anything about the filibuster rule, its choke hold on federal legislation, or the prospect of Senate Democrats changing it so they can actually pass a voting rights law.
In Washington, the filibuster is the only real power GOP legislators have. In the majority of state governments, the party is dominant — and it’s using its power to try to change its national fortunes by suppressing votes. While no evidence of voter fraud was found in the 2020 election, since then 17 states have passed laws restricting access to the ballot.