Months ago I predicted Democrats would do a 180 on the Voting Rights Act – not just stop supporting it, not just stop getting outraged when the Supreme Court strikes down a part for no longer meeting the strict scrutiny standards, but actually legislating their opposition to it.
But voting rights sound good, you might say. And wasn't the act designed to make sure minorities get a voice in Congress? Yes to both! And if you think that's seemingly out of character from Democrats, you aren't wrong.
But in fact HR 1 in the new congress (that's right, this was literally the top priority) was recently described by Democratic congressman Rohit Khanna on an episode of On Point with Renatto Mariotti as being a repeal of the Voting Rights Act – or at least their first attempt. This was in the moment he was admonishing Republicans for not having the... something... to support repeal. Of course, Republicans seemed fine with the Supreme Court striking a part of it. But he is right, they do not support the repeal now, I suspect, for precisely the same reasons he loves it.
No major political party has any principles they're bringing to bear on these questions. They think policy X will get their team more wins. For Democrats, removing the voting rights act. For Republicans, unlimited campaign spending. It's clear that claims to principle are lies from all but a very small number of these people. Perhaps they could take more cues from their electorate – perhaps we're inexpert, but normal people tend to have a coherence to their thought desperate power players lack, at the margin.
Of course, now that it's happened, I think there are going to be lots of people saying, oh, of course, I also predicted this. I'm going to say, you're almost certainly wrong, you did not predict this, and probably did not think it was remotely likely to be an issue in the near future. Read the reaction segment on Wikipedia for Democrats' most recent weigh-in on the merits. And it's clear to me, from how behind-the-curtains this dismantling of the voting rights act is, that they understand how unpopular this decision is with their base.
I would ask you to recall this, and how seldom I make predictions, when judging my writing. Pundits get things wrong. I get things wrong. But this was one of the longer shots I've called, and it came to pass far sooner than I expected.