Democrats watch expectations outpace realities: The Note

In the push for a voting-rights overhaul, Dems finished about where they started

June 23, 2021, 6:02 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Fifty still isn't 60. Fifty is a little better than 49 -- but that notion applies to both parties.

Up to and including stubborn lessons in political math, the failure to advance Democrats' voting-rights overhaul happened just like it was long expected to.

Democrats did not pass new federal voting legislation, and are still not even fully united on the substance of the matter. They appear to have changed no senators' minds about altering filibuster rules. They did not succeed in dividing Republicans.

With the other major items on the Biden agenda in the balance, now comes the fallout of defeat on an issue where Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said "failure is not an option," and President Joe Biden promised supporters just weeks ago that "we're going to overcome again."

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., left, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks with reporters before a key test vote on the For the People Act on June 22, 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., left, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks with reporters before a key test vote on the For the People Act, a sweeping bill that would overhaul the election system and voting rights, on June 22, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Expectations are in danger of outpacing realities with enough regularity to bring intra-party grumbles. On infrastructure, progressives are warning of what might happen if the emerging bipartisan package doesn't deliver on their priorities.

Immigration and policing reform confront roughly similar dynamics, as some on the left hold out for provisions that almost certainly cannot pass in the current Congress. Biden turns his attention to gun violence and recent crime waves on Wednesday -- hardly a recipe for pleasing progressives.

Schumer is promising to give voting rights another go in the Senate, a sentiment echoed by Vice President Kamala Harris, who was charged by Biden with seeing legislation through enactment: "The fight is not over," the vice president said after presiding over the 50-50 vote Tuesday night.

In this push, though, Democrats finished about where they started.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leads in the preliminary count of first-choice in-person votes for the New York City Democratic mayoral primary, with about 30% of that vote. The city’s count offering is an incomplete picture of the primary’s outcome.

Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio Maya Wiley hold the top spots in the pack of 13 Democratic mayoral hopefuls who appeared on the Democratic ballot. Ranked choice votes, which add a layer of unpredictability to the race, have yet to be tabulated and the wait for a winner is only beginning.

People prepare to vote in the New York City mayoral primary at P.S. 249 The Caton School on June 22, 2021.
People prepare to vote in the New York City mayoral primary at P.S. 249 The Caton School on June 22, 2021.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

New York City Board of Elections officials has long warned that the first tabulation of ranked choice voting would begin a week after election night and complete results may not be available until July.

While there is much we don’t know about the outcome, we learned that relative celebrity alone won’t garner a win in New York City. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang conceded defeat Tuesday night.

“I am not going to be the next mayor of New York City based upon the numbers that have come in,” Yang said. “Tonight, I am conceding this race, though we're not sure, ultimately who the next mayor is going to be. But whoever that person is, I will be very happy to work with them.”

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In a letter addressed to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, a group of 15 Republican governors sounded the alarm about census delays affecting the redistricting processes in their states.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks at an event in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 3, 2021.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks at an event in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 3, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The governors are now requesting Raimondo "release redistricting data this month or as soon as possible prior to the delayed release date of September 30, 2021." They also said the holdup places "an unreasonable burden" on the states and "undermines public trust in the foundations of our democratic republic" as states scramble to figure out the logistics and legalities surrounding redistricting on a tightened timeframe.

"Further delaying the release of redistricting data negatively impacts redistricting efforts nationwide, places state governments in an unnecessarily precarious position, and presents compounding delays in operations at every level of government," the governors said in the letter.

Politics is still playing out in the background -- the signatories included Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who represent states where Republicans are likely to flex redistricting advantages after gaining seats from the apportionment data released in April. The more granular redistricting data the governors are seeking is currently slated to be released late this summer.


After months of speculation, former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez announced his candidacy in the race for Maryland Governor on Wednesday. He's joining an already crowded primary to replace term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott, who tells us about the future of voting rights legislation after a Sen. Joe Manchin-backed plan was blocked in the Senate. ABC News' Luis Martinez explains why Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is recommending the military chain of command be removed from sexual assault investigations. And ABC News' Ashley Riegle explains why the fight over Britney Spears' conservatorship is coming to a head.

FiveThirtyEight's Politics Podcast. Democrats brought their wide-ranging election legislation, the For The People Act, to the Senate floor on Tuesday. Senate Republicans planned to filibuster the bill, meaning Democrats will have to come up with legislation that can get 10 Republican votes or amend the Senate's filibuster rules, both of which seem unlikely. This comes after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia proposed compromise legislation last week, which key Republicans rejected. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses what comes next in Democrats' attempt to pass election reforms. They also look at how debates about "Critical Race Theory" entered the culture wars, particularly in schools and state legislatures.


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  • President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive the president's daily brief at 9:50 a.m. The president attends and delivers remarks at former Sen. John Warner's funeral, which begins at 11 a.m., at Washington National Cathedral. Biden and Harris have lunch together at 12:45 p.m. The president and Attorney General Merrick Garland meet with stakeholders to discuss ways the administration is working to keep cities and neighborhoods safe at 2:15 p.m. and then they deliver remarks on the administration's gun crime prevention strategy at 3:30 p.m.
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  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing at 12:45 p.m.
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