Democrats’ voting rights debacle

With failure imminent, finger-pointing and second-guessing about Democrats’ voting rights strategy has become rampant. “Has there ever been a legislative campaign this dumb, doomed and disastrous from the beginning?” one Democratic campaign professional griped to me, speaking anonymously to more freely criticize his party’s strategy…

All along, some Democrats have been quietly skeptical on both tactical and substantive grounds, as I wrote last year. They argued that the likely impact of the bills for “saving democracy” was exaggerated, and that their chances of success were far lower than leaders were admitting. An adviser to a prominent Democratic donor worried that discussions on the topic were becoming “exercises in unreality,” per an email obtained by Politico…

Another circulating theory is that this whole effort has been a bit of a sham, or at least a performance, from Democratic leaders’ perspective. In this interpretation, top Democrats knew all along they’d never be able to pass anything because of the filibuster. So they put together a “message bill” aimed at making their interest groups and certain key donors happy, but which they never thought or intended would actually become law. The goal has been to prove to activists and the base that they are “fighting” for the cause of voting rights, even though they knew they would lose.