These issues are especially salient because they concern the heart of Democrats’ public philosophy. Roughly since the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, Democrats have been telling a story about the country that focuses way too much on race and way too much on Donald Trump.
The various iterations of the voting-rights bill known as the For the People Act are a case in point. Holding the presidency, both houses of Congress and the most influential parts of the media, Democrats have monopolized the political argument for a year now. If there were a solid case that the bill really was an emergency project to protect democracy, rather than the partisan wish list that its opponents claimed, it would have triumphed by now.
When Mr. Biden told an Atlanta crowd this month that those who opposed this bill were on the same side as the segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace and the Confederate president Jefferson Davis, he was arguably combining the condescension of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 “deplorables” remark with a kind of anti-white race-baiting. That is electorally dangerous. Democrats lost white noncollege-educated voters by 25 points in the last election, and there is no guarantee that the margin will not get wider.