The future of democracy is in the hands of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, alleged Democrat. His refusal to support his party’s main voting rights bill or help abolish the Senate filibuster could mark him in history, if anyone remains free to write it, as having dealt the decisive blow to representative government in the nation that pioneered it.

In states they control, Republicans are moving beyond merely suppressing the vote to enabling themselves to steal it. They’re purging their own honest election officials and setting themselves up to control the next vote count. The Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. did not overstate the situation as creating “the architecture of fascism.”

A version of this editorial first appeared in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.