Let's try to be fair to each other and admit a few things up front. First, when you study your opponent, analyze the ways that they are most successful, determine the weaknesses that they exhibit and then try to change the rules of the game in ways that will diminish their advantages and overly emphasize the areas in which they are weak, that is strategy. At least it is when you are playing a game or creating one. But when you are trying to make or participate in a democracy, where all votes are equal and all legitimate votes should be counted, it's called cheating. When you see when they vote and then change the hours in which they can vote away from those prime times. Or when you see how they vote and make those methods more difficult. Or arrange things so that it is more convenient for your own side to vote and less so for your opposition. That is suppressing the ability of your opponent to vote, AKA voter suppression. You can color it up with excuses to pretend it's in the interest of security or transparency, education or whatever bullshit excuse you find handy but it's good old fashioned disenfranchisement and we all know it. So for the sake of this conversation, we're going to bury the bullshit and be honest about it.
Second, when asked "if there has been no fraud in your state, why is your state changing the law to make it more difficult to vote?" talking about how your new, more restrictive laws are not as restrictive as XYZ other state is not an answer. It's a dodge! If you have good factual reasons for why you are changing your laws, that do not contradict the results of the election you signed off on as being perfectly legitimate, then list them, that's an answer!
Third, in their futile search for proof of "The Big Lie", Republicans have been extremely clever in imagining ways that the Democrats "could have cheated" and some of those methods should be appropriately addressed by changing the law so that those imagined methods of cheating never become reality.
Across our country there has been a second "pandemic". The disease of partisan "election rigging" in the name of voter fraud prevention. Mostly this is happening in Republican held districts and states. Not because Republicans are any less honest than Democrats. Simply because Republicans are becoming outnumbered by a greater and greater margin. Partially due to their shrinking demographic, partially because a great many of them are embracing crazy conspiracy theories and ostracising more rational and sane members of their own caucus. Any party seeing it's chances of winning an election based upon a straightforward comparison of numerical votes diminishing would scramble for alternative means of victory. Yes, I'm saying if the situation was swapped the Democrats would be cheating every bit as much as the Republicans are. The Democrats are becoming a greater majority and therefore have less of a need to cheat. It's not because the Democrats are "the great defenders of our democracy, Constitution and way of life". The rules of our American democracy, as designed, are starting to favor the Democrats, so naturally the Democrats want as many people to vote as possible while the Republicans are forced to hope for low voter turn out. Well, that, or rig the elections.
The problem is, rigging the elections is probably unconstitutional and having minority instead of majority rule is not exactly democratic. Plus, having just one side deciding what the election rules ought to be is just wrong. Joe Manchin recently said, "The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics. Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.". So, making the rules should not be one sided, nor should protecting the rules.
Unfortunately at this very moment we have exactly that, one side making the rules. The Republicans are unilaterally changing the rules in their favor across the country. This will most definitely have an impact on our next elections, not to mention the gerrymandering that will take place when the Congressional Districts get redrawn. While Joe is protecting our national government from being overrun by Democrats who are trying to have it "all their way" he's allowing the Republicans at the state level to do do the exact thing he's trying to prevent.
Don't misunderstand me, I agree with Joe. No one side should be allowed to write the rules however they'd like carte blanche. But Joe! Letting one side get away with it while preventing the other side from defending itself is the wrong answer!
I submit, there needs to be national guidelines guaranteeing all citizens of The US, who want to vote legally, be able to do so as conveniently as is reasonably possible, in whatever manner can be securely protected. That both parties have a relatively equal say in what those rules are and what restrictions are reasonable to avoid fraud and which restrictions are not. I also submit that this legislation should be initiated by Senator Manchin, or one of his moderate colleagues, who could easily recruit reasonable Republicans and Democrats to take part in the discussions. This legislation should be passed into law prior to the end of 2021 before any unfair and unilaterally imposed state laws are able to impact our national elections. The JOHN LEWIS VOTING RIGHTS ADVANCEMENT ACT most likely is a great place to start the discussion.
Senator Manchin, protecting our democracy from the tyranny of the majority has fallen almost exclusively upon your shoulders. Please, while being the hero holding back the tide, do not forget to also protect us from the tyranny of the minority. If you threaten to allow an exception in the filibuster rules regarding voting rights when Mitch tries to block a vote, he will relent. Sir, there is no more important issue for safeguarding our democracy than to insure fair and secure elections. It's time to go to the mat with Mitch on this issue. Call it a bluff, brinkmanship or whatever you like. You are right and he is wrong and you both know it. He will relent.