Republicans are openly involved in a campaign to delegitimize and destabilize American democracy in full view of the US public, Hillary Clinton has argued in a new op-ed.
In the piece published in Democracy Docket on Wednesday, the 2016 Democratic nominee for the presidency excoriated Republican efforts in legislatures around the country to restrict voting, such as bills that restrict early voting and mail-in ballots.
Her op-ed comes as voting rights advocates and progressives are pushing an overhaul of federal election law, HR 1, that would establish a mandatory early voting period, limit gerrymandering, and establish new ethics standards for federal officials, among other effects.
“Since the 2020 election with its historic turnout, lawmakers across the country have introduced nearly 400 bills making it harder to vote: purging voters from the rolls, making it more difficult to register, cutting back on early and absentee voting, getting rid of ballot drop boxes, even banning giving out food or water to people waiting in line at the polls,” wrote Ms Clinton.
“We are witnessing a concerted attempt to destabilize the democratic process and delegitimize our multi-racial democracy, carried out in full view of the American people. As Democrats, it’s not enough to push back one law, one court case or even one election at a time. We need to fundamentally change the way we think about and fight back against this blatant, sweeping effort,” she continued.
Her op-ed continued with calls for Democrats to support HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down by the US Supreme Court.
More importantly, Ms Clinton asserted, Democrats need to call out Republican voter suppression efforts as attempts to specifically disenfranchise Black and other minority communities.
“We need to call these attacks on voting what they are: part of a clear attempt to move away from a pluralistic, multi-racial democracy and toward white supremacist authoritarianism,” Ms Clinton argued.
The remarks from the Democratic Party’s 2016 standard-bearer come as the Biden administration is under growing pressure from progressives in Congress to be more vocal about voting rights and exercise more political capital to get the two bills passed.
At the moment, both pieces of legislation appear doomed in the divided 50-50 Senate, unless progressives are successful in their efforts to push centrists to either reform or eliminate the filibuster, which forces most legislation to reach 60 votes in the Senate before it can pass.
The White House has publicly chafed at the idea that Mr Biden is not sufficiently supportive of the two pieces of legislation, though most of the president’s public remarks and events in recent weeks have been centered around his push for infrastructure reform as well as combating the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki fired back at Rep Jamaal Bowman for calling on Mr Biden to be “a lot more vocal and a lot more out front” on the issue, telling reporters that “I would suggest that … those words are a fight against the wrong opponent.”
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