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Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader, has scheduled a vote on a bipartisan border security measure despite knowing it will fail. He sees this as a way to highlight that Republicans are blocking a solution to the chaos at the southern border and to potentially benefit Democratic candidates in tough races. With the election approaching, Senate Democrats are focusing on messaging votes, with a two-pronged plan from Schumer involving abortion rights and border security. The sword is abortion rights, where Democrats believe they have an advantage, while the shield is the border legislation to counter accusations from Republicans.

Senate Democrats plan a series of meant-to-fail votes on abortion rights bills and border security measures to shape the election conversation and win over voters. Republicans acknowledge that these issues are likely to dominate the campaign and determine the outcome. Democrats aim to allow vulnerable incumbents to vote on popular measures while casting Republicans as opposed. However, Republicans like Senator Steve Daines of Montana dismiss the efforts as political stunts, and Senator Mitch McConnell believes it is too late for Democrats to change the narrative on the border issue.

Democrats are trying to neutralize the issue of border security and provide a counterargument to Republican claims that the Biden administration allowed a porous border to develop. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, a Republican who worked on the border bill, has spoken out against Schumer’s use of the legislation for political purposes. Nonetheless, Schumer believes Democrats have already weakened Republican strength on the issue and are poised to present a compelling counterargument. The border bill faces hurdles due to divisions within the Democratic ranks and opposition from progressives.

After dealing with the border bill, Schumer plans to focus on abortion rights through a series of floor votes, aiming to showcase the distinction between Republicans and Democrats on a key issue. He intends to introduce legislation protecting access to birth control and in vitro fertilization to highlight the parties’ differences. Republicans are developing their own legislation, such as a proposal to block Medicaid funding to states that ban I.V.F., but Democrats see this as insufficient. Both parties are preparing to emphasize their stances on abortion rights, with Republicans advocating for state decisions and Democrats focusing on protecting national access.

Schumer views the Senate votes on abortion rights and the border proposal as a way to demonstrate the stark contrast between the two parties on critical issues. He believes that these votes will showcase how different the parties are on these issues and serve as part of the Democratic Party’s strategy to win over voters in the upcoming election. Schumer’s approach involves highlighting the differences between Republicans and Democrats on important issues in an effort to sway voters and secure electoral victories.

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