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Clive Crook

The Reset That Biden and His Party Need

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 desperately needs an update, and Republicans are open to the idea.

He needs a new vocabulary.

He needs a new vocabulary.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Things are going badly for the president and his party, and with midterm elections drawing nearer, Joe Biden and the Democrats need a reset. Paradoxically, the collapse of their plan for a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s voting laws could provide an opening — though Biden’s posturing has made it harder to exploit.

The voting-reform legislation would have set national standards intended to make voting as easy as possible. It was a worthwhile initiative, on the whole, and would have rolled back new state laws that in many cases needlessly tighten the rules. But the president didn’t put it like that. He called themdangerous new Republican laws plainly designed to suppress and subvert voting rights.” This is exactly the kind of overheated language that Biden needs to purge from his vocabulary if he wants to make progress.