Voting rights clash hurtles Senate toward nuclear breakdown

“This is just a fundamental disagreement … people believe that we should make it easier to vote,” Klobuchar said. “We continue to talk to them to figure out if there’s any common ground. But right now you are seeing a fundamental difference between the two parties on voting. Let’s not sugarcoat it.”

But the voting rights bill doesn’t face mere GOP opposition. Unlike immigration, infrastructure or even guns, no senators are even talking across the aisle about whether any compromise can be had. That dynamic, coupled with the Democratic clamor to use the voting legislation as a stage for a filibuster showdown, puts the already-gridlocked Senate on track for a new fissure over its own rules as well as the fabric of American elections.

“I don’t think there is common ground. And on the bigger issue of whether it’s better to federalize the national election process or let states and local officials do it like they have for over 200 years — there’s really not much compromise there,” Blunt said.

Asked about areas to negotiate on with Blunt and other Republicans, Klobuchar replied that the Democratic bill contains nine bipartisan provisions. Blunt’s retort: “So what? That means absolutely nothing.”