Supercreator Daily: Where we're at with the For the People Act

Republicans are about to kill the legislation, but — good news! — Joe Manchin won’t join them (at least for now).

All eyes on the US Capitol tonight as the Senate votes on whether or not to make it easier for voters to participate in our democracy. Photo by Jose Fontano on Unsplash

In a few moments, the Senate will take a show vote on the For the People Act, the comprehensive voting-rights act that would blunt a lot of the damage that the hundreds of bills across the country will wreak on communities of color in future elections. I’ve obviously devoted a lot of newsletter real estate to this legislation because many of the policies that would elevate the economic well-being of the creative class are dead on arrival unless we have the opportunity to vote for the politicians who will pass them.

Republicans have been restlessly waiting to kill the bill all day long. (I’ve been snickering at this headline from Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker all day: “Mitch McConnell Warns That Voting Bill Would Bring U.S. to Brink of Democracy.”) And Democrats, mostly those from the progressive flank of the party, are upset for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious: They want to expand voter access so more Americans can participate in our democracy. As for the second, several Democratic lawmakers and civil-rights activists are pressed because they think President Biden was lukewarm at best in his public support for the bill. The White House disagrees with this characterization though. During a briefing with reporters today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Democrats were picking “a fight with the wrong opponent.”

But there’s a bit of good news to report: Sen. Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the upper chamber who opposes the For the People Act as it stands now, announced that he will vote along party lines on this evening’s vote. “I’ve found common ground on a new version of the bill that ensures our elections are fair, accessible and secure,” Manchin said in a statement this afternoon. “Today I will vote ‘YES’ to move to debate this updated voting legislation.” Thanks for taking one for the team, Senator. It won’t be the last time you’ll be asked to do so.

Anyway, here’s why Manchin’s support is so important. Republicans were counting on at least one Democrat to vote against the bill to show that the left is divided on one of its signature legislative priorities, while the GOP is totally united. Now, they can’t campaign on that messaging going forward. And Democrats get to promote their party’s unity while pointing to the other side as absolute obstructionists. All of this will play out as midterm campaigns kick into high gear in the months to come.

Biden is expected to release a statement after the vote. “I expect you’ll hear more from him in the coming days, as well,” Psaki added.

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It’s Tuesday, June 22. Here’s what you need to know this evening:

  • The White House said that it will take “a few extra weeks” to vaccinate 70 percent of American adults with at least one dose by July 4, falling short of President Biden’s goal. 70 percent of adults 30 years old and up have been vaccinated though. [Morgan Chalfant / The Hill]

  • President Biden is set to double the number of Black women serving on federal appeals courts as Tiffany Cunningham, Eunice Lee and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi are on track for Senate confirmation. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed last week to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. [Niara Savage / Atlanta Black Star]

  • A group of more than 40 House Democrats urged the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevent to extend and enhance the federal moratorium on evictions. The freeze is set to expire at the end of the month. [MaryAlice Parks and Sasha Pezenik / ABC News]

  • Turnout appeared to be low across the five boroughs as New Yorkers voted in the city’s Democratic primaries. The election features a new system that allows voters to rank their top five candidates in order of preference. [Shant Shahrigian, Chris Sommerfeldt, Michael Gartland and Dave Goldiner / New York Daily News]

  • A 17-year-old student graduate of the Florida public school system called the state’s recent ban on critical race theory “the most tangible attack on free speech in education.” For the record, CRT — an advanced academic framework — is not being taught in most schools. [Valerie Strauss / The Washington Post]

  • A new nationwide survey found that the majority of students identifying as liberal or liberal-leaning are not proud of America. 57 percent of liberal-identifying students answered “no” when asked, while nearly three out of four conservatives answered “yes.” [Jackson Walker / Campus Reform]

  • The estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. reached an international agreement with the publisher of his first book. The partnership will enable the global reissue of Dr. King’s books and a range of children’s stories and graphic novels based on his life and writing. [Hillel Italie / AP News]

  • Subscribers to The New York Times will now be able to “gift” 10 articles per month to the non-subscribers in their life. Gifted articles won’t count towards the limited number of articles that non-subscribers can click before hitting a paywall and recipients have 14 days to read them. [Sarah Scire / Nieman Lab]

  • Twitter announced it is now accepting applications for Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows, two of its new creator monetization tools. The company will claim a three-percent revenue share on both products until creators exceed $50,000 in lifetime earnings. [Ellen Havlicek and Esther Crawford / Twitter Media]

  • The biggest tech companies committed $3.8 billion toward diversity, equity and inclusion since last year, with the bulk going to support Black-owned businesses. But it’s important to compare companies’ commitments to their operating income. [Katharine Schwab / Fast Company]

Read All About It

Sophie Vershbow at Vogue on drinking:

Like the many women I spoke to for this article, nearly a year and a half at home made me reassess my alcohol consumption, which had been largely on autopilot since I drank my first Smirnoff Ice in high school. I’ve always been a social drinker, mimicking the ingestion level of those around me. In college, that meant binge-drinking on the weekends; afterwards it meant catching up with friends over a few rounds a couple of times a week. I’ve never been one to drink alone at home, and now that my hangovers reflect my age, I rarely see the point. In recent years, chronic migraines forced me to adjust my drinking habits significantly, but it took the pandemic pause for me to really cut back and see the subsequent reduction in my frequency of attacks. It’s only been in recent weeks, post-vaccination, that my boundaries have begun wavering as social temptations creep back.

Ibram X. Kendi at The Atlantic on our new postracial myth:

But the postracial idea is the hardest racist idea to put down. Everyone is inclined to consume it. White people and people of color alike long for racism to end. When we yearn for something to end—and don’t know what the end looks like—it is easy to make ourselves believe the end is near. Believing the myth of a postracial America is a cheap way to feel good, like buying the fast food down the block from my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. We don’t realize that to believe the postracial myth is to normalize racial inequity and deny that racism is dividing and devastating our society.

Rebecca Jennings at Vox on everyone’s supposed thirst for friendship:

It feels like the stakes of “getting out there” have never been higher. It’s birthday season in my particular social group, and each weekend since I’ve been vaccinated I tell myself that this is going to be the one where I stay in and recharge, and each weekend there’s somewhere I absolutely must go and drink and dance and hug my friends. It’s been thrilling and wonderful, and yet a nagging part of me is still grumpy about the nights I missed, nights I either wasn’t invited to or couldn’t make, wondering whether everyone else was having fun without me. I want to be everywhere, with everyone, but I also sort of want nobody to text me ever again.

Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein at The New Republic on raising taxes on the extremely wealthy:

Furthermore, if we continue to buy the specious idea that taxes “pay for” government spending, we’ll be buying into the idea that we need to perpetuate extreme wealth in order to fund services—just as a carbon tax to fund, say, free college education requires the continuous extraction of carbon. The larger question is: How does such vast wealth accumulate in the first place? Discussions of inequality rarely talk about the expansive patent laws that drive profits for tech companies and pharmaceutical firms; or about how Tesla’s profits were underwritten by a government subsidy for consumers buying their cars; or about lucrative military contracts that prop up weapons manufacturers and aerospace corporations. All are mechanisms through which government action creates private fortunes. Changes to legislation in these areas could prevent inequality building up in the first place, instead of trying to fix it after the fact through taxation. For any of these plans to work, it’s important to remember that taxation is a limited tool that’s prone to abuse. We can’t over-rely on it to distribute wealth.

Jennifer Liu at CNBC on middle-aged millennials and upward mobility:

Though millennials have been stuck with the reputation of being job-hoppers, the reality is that young workers in their late teens into their early 20s are just generally more likely to try out more jobs as they figure out their careers. This has been true of young workers from any generation — including baby boomers, who have been stereotyped as hard-working loyalists. What's different for millennials may be how it has become the top strategy to actually get ahead in their careers.

Leticia Miranda and Kalhan Rosenblatt at NBC News on viral products and TikTok:

With a mainly young audience — but a growing share of adult users — companies are finding unexpected trends leading to skyrocketing sales and sold out shelves. A product going viral on TikTok is just like a dance or song going viral — it starts with a few trendy creators showing off a hot commodity like LED light strips illuminating their bedrooms or driving through Starbucks to order a complicated personalized “appucino” which sends followers scrambling for the same items. Dozens of companies briefly sold out of product at the height of their virality, including a Stardrops cleaning product called The Pink Stuff, a line of butt-lifting leggings on Amazon and lash-lengthening mascara from Maybelline.

Michael’s Pick

Thank You for Voting: The Maddening, Enlightening, Inspiring Truth about Voting in America by Erin Geiger Smith ($17): With the New York City primaries and the imminent defeat of the For the People Act today, this timing of this book’s paperback release feels prescient.