The Atlantic Daily: Joe Manchin Was Never a Mystery

The hopes that progressives attached to the West Virginian regarding the voting-rights bill were clearly unrealistic. Plus: What to do if you want to decrease your dependence on Amazon.

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Well, what now? Five months into the Biden presidency, Democrats’ signature voting-rights legislation—the bill they symbolically introduced as the first one of the 117th Congress—met an excruciating and predictable defeat last night. All 50 Democratic senators voted to move forward, but with all 50 Republicans voting against it, the bill didn’t have the votes to overcome a filibuster.

  • Democrats don’t have a backup plan. “That the legislation, known as the For the People Act, would fall to a GOP filibuster has been clear for months,” my colleague Russell Berman writes. “Democrats, of course, have vowed to press forward and try again. Yet they approached today’s doomed vote without any apparent fallback.”

  • Joe Manchin was never going to save the day. I argue that the hopes attached to the West Virginian were clearly unrealistic: “Manchin is who he’s always been: a middle-of-the-road guy with good electoral instincts, decent intentions, and bad ideas.”

  • The fight over voting rights continues. “Future Americans could view the resolution of this struggle as a turning point in the history of U.S. democracy,” Ronald Brownstein warned in March. “The outcome could not only shape the balance of power between the parties, but determine whether that democracy grows more inclusive or exclusionary.”

Britney Spears through the years
Getty / Redux / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

The news in three sentences:

(1) We still don’t know who won New York’s (strange) Democratic primary for mayor, though Eric Adams is ahead and Andrew Yang has conceded. (2) Today the Supreme Court ruled on an obscure case that “could reshape American law for decades to come.” (3) The “Free Britney” saga continued with an emotional speech by the pop star in court today.

Amazon Prime
Getty; The Atlantic

One question, answered:

What should I do if I want to decrease my dependence on Amazon, but am not ready to go cold turkey? Our special-projects editor Ellen Cushing, who wrote about the problem with Prime yesterday, has some ideas:

Amazon is so big that fully disentangling yourself is basically impossible. But if you’re interested in moving away from it—and I think you should be—you have a few options.

One is to cancel your Prime account. Subscription fees from Prime—tens of billions of dollars a year—contribute to the company’s growth machine, and revoking them helps, even if you occasionally need to buy some things on Amazon. (In most situations, Amazon still offers free shipping if you’re willing to wait a few days, or spending above a certain amount.)

Another option is to delete the Amazon app from your phone, which will discourage idle shopping. Another is to change your reading habits: Bookstores have been hit particularly hard by Amazon’s domination of the market, thanks in large part to Kindle. The Kobo e-reader offers very similar hardware and selection, and isn’t tied to the Amazon ecosystem.

When you do shop on Amazon, think about availing yourself of the no-rush shipping option, which puts a little less pressure on Amazon’s workforce to get items to you fast.

What to read if … you wish it were Friday:

It’s not, sorry. But for employees at Kickstarter, at least Wednesday is the new Thursday, thanks to the company’s four-day workweek pilot. It joins a growing cadre of businesses that are testing out shortened hours.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Let your unconscious brain ponder life’s biggest questions. Our happiness columnist, Arthur C. Brooks, recommends journaling immediately after your nightly sleep.

Today’s break from the news:

As a teen, Rebecca Black drew national ridicule for her song “Friday.” A decade later, Black is 23, and ready to reclaim the narrative.

Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox