Biden is speaking to an America that doesn't exist

The premise of Biden’s speech seems to be that voters will uniformly be troubled by this. “Have you no shame?” he asked Republican officials. By now it should be clear that many do not. And they have cover, because many Republican voters back the changes. Polls find that between two-thirds and three-quarters of GOP voters don’t believe Biden is a legitimate president. Six in 10 Republicans think it’s more important to change laws to prevent fraud (which doesn’t happen) than to make voting easier, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. At the grassroots level, GOP voters appear to strongly back many of the very things Biden warns against.

As for those Americans who are alarmed, they have scant power to do anything about it—including Biden, who offered little in the way of new ideas. He called for the Senate to pass the For the People Act, a massive voting bill, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but both bills have been stalled by GOP filibusters in the Senate. Biden did not call on Senate Democrats to eliminate the filibuster or create a work-around for these bills, but even if he had, it wouldn’t have done much good; Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrats’ 49th and 50th votes in the chamber, have made clear that they oppose any changes.

Unified Republican control in 23 states means that opponents have little chance to derail voter-suppression bills at the state level. In state capitals, the country is witnessing a divergence between Democratic-led states, which tend to be loosening their voting laws or keeping them the same, and Republican-led ones, which are mostly moving to make voting more difficult.