JOE BIDEN'S SECRET VOTER PLAN. It wasn't terribly big news on March 7, 2021. President Joe Biden, then less than two months in office, signed an executive order "promoting voting rights," in the words of the Washington Post, to "make voting easier," in the words of the New York Times. Both papers played the story as a modest Democratic measure to push back against Republican efforts to "roll back voting access," as the Washington Post put it, and to counter former President Donald Trump's "months-long assault on the voting process," as the New York Times said.
Executive Order 14019 directed what is known as an "all of government" initiative, meaning Biden ordered all federal agencies to be involved, to increase voter registration among groups that have historically been part of the Democratic coalition. "Black voters and other voters of color have faced discriminatory policies and other obstacles that disproportionately affect their communities," the order said. "These voters remain more likely to face long lines at the polls and are disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail."
It was standard Democratic boilerplate — and mostly false, at that. Democrats have long pushed the "voter suppression" story even as data showed it was a myth. But March 2021 was the month in which the Georgia legislature, controlled by Republicans, was debating a new voting law, and Biden and other Democrats were making hysterical, over-the-top pronouncements about "Jim Crow 2.0." Maybe they believed it. Maybe they didn't. The goal was to pass two bills that were at the top of the Democratic agenda in Washington: the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Together the bills, if passed and signed into law, would nationalize elections and remake voting laws on terms favorable to the Democratic Party. But Democrats, barely in control of the Senate, could not pass such a baldly partisan bill without some Republican support — and there was none of that.