The fight for the right to vote has gone from partisan to personal.
President BidenJoe BidenBiden says he didn’t ‘overpromise’ Finnish PM to promise ‘extremely tough’ sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine and his Democratic allies, furious with Republicans for opposing the voting rights protections they had enacted for decades, lash out across the aisle with racist claims that the GOP would rather ensure power rather than guaranteeing civil rights.
Republicans fired back, accusing their Democratic critics of deflecting the debate away from the underlying politics to launch unfounded — and highly disparaging — attacks on the basic integrity of their political opponents.
The discussion has flared up remarkably, even in the face of the fierce hostility and heightened mistrust that virtually define relations between the two sides on Capitol Hill, especially since last year’s attack on the Capitol. by a pro-Trump crowd.
Those tensions, simmering unevenly over the past year, are now erupting in full swing as Democrats seek to pass new federal voting protections designed to counter efforts by GOP-led states to install new restrictions at the ballot box. before the midterm elections.
Black Democrats, warning of a return to the Jim Crow era, have taken over the debate, and they are quick to condemn lawmakers who stand in the way when legislation comes to the Senate.
“So today, if they don’t vote, it’s bad. And we want America to know that it is cooperating with evil,” the rep said. Joyce BeatyJoyce Birdson BeattyPelosi suggests filibusters are ‘dishonoring’ MLK’s franchise legacy (D-Ohio), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), spoke about recalcitrant senators, pointing to Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that those who silently accept evil “cooperate with it.”
“We ask them to do their job because our democracy cannot be blocked; the right to vote cannot be obstructed”.
Beatty made the remarks after leading a group of about 20 Black Caucus members on a walk through the Capitol – from the Lincoln Room of the House to the gates of the US Senate – to demand passage of legislation. on the right to vote.
When a reporter asked about the “two senators” blocking changes to Senate filibuster rules – the centrist Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats make final plea for voting rights before filibuster showdown Dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations Mark Kelly says he will support changing filibuster rule to the right to vote MORE (DW.Va.) and Kirsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by the Connected Commerce Council – Biden faces reporters as his agenda falters (D-Arizona) — CBC members quickly corrected her: “52 senators! 52 senators!
Though frustrated with Manchin and Sinema, CBC members say they won’t let the other 50 GOP senators off the hook. It’s a message echoed by Democratic leaders, who also accuse Republicans of seeking to strip Americans of one of their most fundamental constitutional rights.
“We see Republicans trying to undermine citizens’ right to vote, and that’s why it’s not going through,” the House Minority Leader said. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerJoining Pelosi, Hoyer Says Lawmakers Should Be Free To Trade Stock Hoyer Calls For ‘Clear And Careful Gun Guidance’ From Capitol Police Board Desperate Dems Signal Support For Cuts the size of Biden’s bill MORE (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday, dismissing the idea that Manchin and Sinema are the only figures standing in the way.
The personal tenor of Democrats’ criticism echoes that intoned by Biden last week, when he visited Georgia — the home of King and the late Rep. john lewisJohn LewisMark Kelly says he will support change to filibuster rule for voting rights (D), a civil rights icon who gave his name to suffrage legislation – and compared opponents of the bill to some of the most notorious racists in the country’s history.
“Do you want to side with Dr. King or George Wallace?” Do you want to side with John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to side with Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? Biden asked.
The Republican reaction was immediate.
Conservative pundits have accused Biden of stoking partisan divisions in defiance of his campaign promise to unite the country after four volatile years under Trump – speech “not only offensive but intended to offend”. in words by Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist.
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make final plea for suffrage before showdown with filibuster Mellman: Suffrage or filibuster? Budowsky: To Dems: Run Against Doing Nothing GOP, Senate MORE (R-Ky.) Walked into the chamber the next day to hammer Biden for delivering a “deeply anti-presidential” message simply to energize the Democrats’ liberal base at a time when his approval rating is underwater.
“Twelve months ago this president said ‘disagreement should not lead to disunity'” McConnell said. “But yesterday he invoked the bloody disunity of the Civil War to demonize Americans who disagree with him.
“He compared a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors.”
The debate over suffrage has not always been so contentious.
After it was passed in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized and amended five times, from 1970 to 2006, with broad support from lawmakers in both parties. Indeed, versions of the bill were signed into law by former Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George W. Bush. The most recent reauthorization, in 2006, authorized the Senate on a 98-0 vote; 16 Republicans who voted are still in office today.
More recently, Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” have become a common refrain from his most loyal allies in and outside Congress. Many state efforts to enforce new voting restrictions stem from this lie, leading Democrats to level charges of hypocrisy against Republicans who now oppose federal voting protections.
representing Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesClyburn says he fears losing House, ‘losing this democracy’ Inflation offers big upside for postponed Biden House Democratic conference due to COVID-19 MORE (NY), leader of the House Democratic Caucus, hammered Republicans earlier Wednesday with the suggestion that they oppose these bills because, after barack obamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats make final plea for suffrage ahead of filibuster showdown Biden appoints Jane Hartley as UK ambassador To boost economy and mid-term outlook, Democrats must pass bill on clean energy MOREof the 2008 victory, they fear another black president.
“What happened to the modern Republican Party? Was it the election that took place in 2008? Did that bother you? Did that discourage you? Have you been troubled by this, still trying to figure out how it happened? Jeffries told reporters during his weekly press conference.
“What happened to the modern Republican Party? It’s a cult right now. Is it because the cult leader told you to oppose the right to vote?”