Nothing was more tiresome in this week’s House Judiciary Committee slanging than the baseless charge by the Republican minority that the impeachment inquiry is taking up so much of the House’s attention that the Republican minority doesn’t have the time to pretend to care about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure or the cost of prescription drugs. This was all my bollocks, of course. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out, while chasing the president*’s connections to the Ukrainian shakedown, the House has passed some 400 bills, many of them on a bipartisan basis, and the majority of them have died in the Senate because Mitch McConnell has been too busy putting unqualified Christopaths on the federal bench, and because McConnell just decided one day to be a megalomaniac with his thumb on history’s scale.
On Friday, the House passed another bill, this one as important as any of the others they’ve thrown down McConnell’s Sarlacc pit. From CBS News:
The House approved a bill that would require federal oversight of elections for certain state and local jurisdictions that have a history of voting rights violations. It would essentially reverse the effects of a 2013 Supreme Court decision that dismantled the "pre-clearance" provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Advancement Act requires jurisdictions to obtain advance clearance for any election changes with the Justice Department and allow the attorney general to send federal observers anywhere in the country, among other provisions. It passed along party lines with a vote of 228-187. Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick joined all Democrats in voting in favor.
One Republican. From a Republican in a dodgy Maryland district. And, of course:
However, the bill is unlikely to move forward in the Senate. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying that it constitutes federal overreach, and many Republicans see the vote as a virtue-signaling exercise. However, the bill was a key plank of the Democrats' agenda after the 2018 election and contradicts the argument by President Trump that Democrats are only focused on impeachment and not on passing legislation.
This is some serious trickeration. The Republicans don’t want fair elections and, since the 2018 midterms, they don’t want to pass anything of substance coming out of the House. So anything that comes out of the House must be “virtue-signaling” because everyone is supposed to realize that the House should accept its own futility because it is run by Democrats now. It’s the Circle of Derp.
But, almost by the hour, the need for a new Voting Rights Act—for example, one sensitive to 21st-century international ratfcking—becomes more and more obvious. Are we really expecting somebody in a county clerk’s office to cope with the Russian intelligence services and sophisticated misinformation programs? But fundamentally, this bill was meant to correct the slide back toward Jim Crow that was occasioned by the godawful Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. In short, it’s about race, even though nothing ever is.
“I have been thinking a lot this morning about my growing up in South Carolina,” said Representative James E. Clyburn, 79, the No. 3 House Democrat, describing how he drove to a tiny town in his native state to see the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, just a few months after Johnson signed the 1965 bill into law. “I’ll never forget his theme that day: March to the ballot box,” Mr. Clyburn said.
And make sure you can get there. We owe that to each other.
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