Republicans all over the country are pushing hard and pushing fast to make sure as few people vote as possible. In 11 states, they’ve already passed laws restricting voting rights, and more laws are coming. It’s not just a response to the Trumpist lie that the 2020 election was rigged. It’s basically an extension of the Capitol riots, argues Mother Jones’ Ari Berman—a way to “accomplish the aims of the insurrection through ‘legal, legislative’ means.”
And so far, the Democrats’ response has been the rough equivalent of hitting the collective snooze button. “A lot of people, they just checked out after Joe Biden was declared the winner and they’re like, OK, we don’t have to worry about this anymore.’ But for those of us that actually follow, it’s gotten even more disturbing since the election,” Berman tells Molly-Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.
“I don’t think there’s enough of a sense of urgency right now. I don’t think that Democrats are aggressive and trying to protect voting rights in the same way that Republicans are so aggressive and trying to undermine voting rights,” he adds. “Just look at [Democratic Sen.] Joe Manchin right now. I mean, he’s saying any voting law has to be bipartisan—at the very moment that Republicans are trying to make it so that Democrats can never win a fair election again… Why would most Republicans come to the table and support voting measures that are completely at odds with what their party is doing at the state level?”
And if the Democrats in Congress don’t act fast, they may never be able to act at all. “I worry that if they miss this window, it’s going to be incredibly hard for them to do it again, because I think there’s a very good chance that Republicans take back the House, just by virtue of the fact that they control the drawing of districts in states like Texas and Florida,” says Berman, who’s been covering the fight for the right to vote for decades. “That could be enough right there to take back the House.”
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