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Ross: The kiss of death on a bipartisan compromise

People participate in early voting on June 16, 2021 in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Yesterday, we brought you the news that the Democrats’ lone holdout on the election reform bill in the Senate, Joe Manchin, had come up with a compromise after talking with Republicans and Democrats. And among other things, it included a voter ID requirement.

Well, the moment I saw that a voter ID requirement was in the compromise plan, I figured that no matter how many Republicans it might attract, Democrats would run from it.

But then who should step up to endorse it but the Democrats chief election reform crusader Stacy Abrams! Who said it was a mistake to think Democrats were against requiring voter ID.

*I* certainly thought Democrats were against voter ID. But if Stacy Abrams is now publicly embracing the idea, that sounded like a pretty big deal.

For a moment, I thought Congress might actually succeed in making voting easier and more secure.

No, I’m joking, I didn’t think that. I did think, though, that the compromise might live a little longer than it did.

As it turns out, yesterday afternoon, Republicans pointed out that when they say voter ID, they mean a government-issued photo ID. No substitutes like the signed statement Democrats would permit.

The law also sets up public financing for Congressional elections: a 6 to 1 public match for smaller contributions.

But Senator Ted Cruz rejected that as “welfare for politicians” and said – and I think this is significant – it would have ended up giving him $30 million taxpayer dollars! Would Democrats want that, he wondered? His opposition therefore is an act of love toward taxpayers who don’t want their money coming anywhere near Ted Cruz. He’s trying to be nice.

So there it is. It’s too bad that the bipartisan compromise is already dead, but thanks to Ted, at least bipartisan altruism is alive and well.

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