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If right to vote is fundamental, why won't Manchin protect it?

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One of the sad truths of American politics is that Democrats need Sen. Joe Manchin more than he needs the Democratic Party – and this applies even more to little “d” democracy. Joe Manchin, apparently, can take or leave it.

As of now, he’s leaving it to Republicans, who seem to have given up on majority rule right about the time they realized older white voters were no longer in the majority.

While Democrats at least briefly have more national legislative power than they’ve had since 2011, our system of free and fair elections appears to be one election away from a catatonic state. “Turns out, things are much worse than we expected,” Daniel Ziblatt, a co-author of the book “How Democracies Die,” said recently.

We now know that while Donald Trump was summoning his fans to Washington, D.C. for a “wild” time on Jan. 6, his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was trying to convince the Department of Justice to raise questions and even overturn an election certified in all 50 states. The evidence Meadows offered? Video of an "Italygate" conspiracy theorist claiming people in Italy had switched U.S. votes. The lawyers in DOJ dismissed this fever dream summarily, the way the dozens of courts that dismissed complaints from Trump campaign lawyers and allies in the wake of Trump’s loss.

But you know who would gladly use a wacked out video clip to contest a free and fair election? Republican state legislators, local officials and members of Congress.

Much like the Jan. 6 insurrection, the GOP plan to steal the........


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