Biden delivered his most passionate speech on voting rights yet. But he didn’t even mention the filibuster. – Mother Jones
In his most prominent speech yet on voting rights, President Biden on Tuesday sought to morally defend voter protections amid the threat posed by Republican Party-backed voter suppression bills being spread throughout the country. “This 21st century assault on Jim Crow is real, it is relentless and we are going to challenge it vigorously,” he said. But his passionate remarks were not the only thing that, according to advocates of the right to vote, is preventing the passage of congressional legislation to stem the wave of restrictive vote efforts: obstructionism.
“Some things in America should be simple and straightforward,” Biden said from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. “Perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things, is the right to vote. The right to vote freely ”. He also indirectly criticized former President Donald Trump’s relentless and false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him. “The big lie is just that, a big lie.”
“It is not said that the facts are false just because you are not happy,” he continued. “That is not political ability, it is selfishness. That is not democracy. “
However, as expected, the president fell short of calling for an end to the Senate’s obstructionist rules, even after Republicans obstructed a vote to debate the Law For the People, the Democrats’ radical democratic reform bill. , at the end of June. Instead, Biden largely kicked Congress, saying it was up to lawmakers to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Promotion Act, legislation he said he would sign if passed. In his speech Tuesday, Biden called passing the For the People Act a “national imperative,” but also said, “we have to keep our eyes clear on the obstruction we face.” As an alternative to congressional legislation, the president also pointed to the Justice Department’s role in his plan to protect voters’ rights, but his lawsuit against Georgia faces an uphill battle after the Supreme Court severely weakened the remaining section. of the Electoral Rights Law.
In addition to denouncing laws that make voting difficult, Biden pointed to a series of laws that subvert traditional electoral management and could make it easier for Republicans to overturn election results in states like Georgia. “Democracy or autocracy – that’s what it comes down to,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments, while the longest to date denouncing voter suppression, are likely to still disappoint advocates of voting rights who have asked Biden to go one step further and call for the removal of obstructionism. which raises the votes needed to advance the legislation from 51 to a threshold of 60 votes. Critics of filibuster say it allows minority parties to block very popular legislation, such as the Law For the People, which would otherwise be passed with a simple majority and is therefore undemocratic. In recent weeks, advocates of the right to vote have also wondered if Biden has focused excessively on his roadmap and infrastructure. Texas Democrats who fled the state Monday to block a broad Republican voter suppression bill have asked Senate Democrats to legislation on exempt voting rights of obstructionism, an idea that is being embraced by an increasing number of high-profile Democrats, like Jim Clyburn, the whip of the House majority.
Obstructionism is not a law. It is not in the Constitution. It is a tradition that has been misused throughout history to deny voting and civil rights.
Our constitutional rights should not be subject to obstructionism.
– James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) July 12, 2021
“We would like him to fight for voting rights as hard as they have been fighting for infrastructure,” Ezra Levin, Indivisible’s co-CEO, said before Tuesday’s speech. “They have probably spent a hundredth of political capital on democracy as they have spent on infrastructure.”