“A Voting Rights Push, as States Make Voting Harder”

NYT analysis of President Biden’s big voting rights speech yesterday:

To that end, Mr. Biden called for ending the 60-vote threshold for voting rights bills, a step he opposed taking during his campaign and resisted throughout most of the first year of his presidency.

While Mr. Biden waited, however, the laws governing voting were changed in many states, and a degree of voter suppression may have become all but assured. . . .

But with primary season for the midterm elections beginning on March 1 in Texas, the window for passing any federal voting legislation is shrinking — heightening the frustrations of activists who looked to the White House for action, or at least for more muscular statements of support and urgency, throughout 2021.

“Unless President Biden applies the same level of urgency around voting rights as he did for BBB and infrastructure, America may soon be unrecognizable,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the N.A.A.C.P., said in a statement Tuesday, citing Mr. Biden’s stalled Build Back Better bill. “While President Biden delivered a stirring speech today, it’s time for this administration to match their words with actions, and for Congress to do their job.” . . .

“The administration had over 300 meetings to make the infrastructure bill happen,” said Julián Castro, the former housing secretary who ran against Mr. Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. “They haven’t used that same muscle or effort on voting rights, and that’s been a mistake.” . . .

Mr. Biden’s strategy until now has been to buy time for voting rights legislation by scoring victories on his other major legislative programs. He has privately assured voting rights advocates that Democratic holdouts would eventually relent in the face of persistent Republican obstruction. Senate Democrats also chose to give Mr. Manchin time to try and recruit Republican votes, to no avail.

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