NYT calls on Biden to pressure Joe Manchin on voting rights: 'Bring all the powers of persuasion'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the focus of a New York Times editorial published online on Saturday.

The editorial is titled, "Joe Manchin Got the Voting Bill He Wanted. Time to Pass It."

"Far too many Republicans are players in a cynical pantomime: They say that the new voting restrictions being passed across the nation are designed solely to thwart widespread voting fraud, when the reality is that widespread fraud does not exist and the new restrictions' purpose is to frustrate and disadvantage voters who lean Democratic — especially minority, young and lower-income voters. Are Democrats going to do a darn thing about it?" the newspaper wondered.

The newspaper noted new legislation, The Freedom to Vote Act, that was introduced on Tuesday.

"Merits aside, the new bill's prospects are shaky at best. To avoid death by filibuster, it needs the support of all 50 Democrats plus 10 Republicans. Absent that, Democrats will face a hard choice: Let this crucial legislation die or eliminate the legislative filibuster in order to pass the bill on a party-line vote," the newspaper noted.

The newspaper did not think Manchin can round up ten GOP votes for the bill.

"No one expects Mr. Manchin's gambit to succeed. But if his earnest outreach to Republicans fails, where does the senator go from there? Will he simply shrug and sacrifice voting rights on the altar of bipartisanship? Will he bow to a minority party pursuing antidemocratic measures to advance its partisan fortunes?" the newspaper wondered. "Bipartisanship can be a means to an end. But when voting rights are being ratcheted backward by one party, bipartisanship can't be an excuse for inaction."

The newspaper said it is time for President Joe Biden to act, saying it should be the top priority.

"Now, Mr. President, is the time to act boldly. Make those calls. Set up those Oval Office chats with Mr. Manchin and any other Democrats who might still need persuading. Bring all the powers of persuasion and the weight of the office to bear on this issue before further damage is done," The Times argued. "Having lost the White House and the Senate last year, Republicans appear intent on rigging the game in their favor before the midterms. Protecting the integrity of America's electoral system and the voting rights of its citizens should be priority No. 1 — not because it helps Democrats, but because it helps preserve democracy."

Read the full editorial.