It’s so refreshing to hear Democrats put the onus of voting rights on the shoulders of the party making it their mission to destroy those rights for anyone who isn’t white.
This happened in today’s press conference with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when she was asked about details of a virtual meeting Pres. Joe Biden held with Democratic senators on the topic of voting rights. Jean-Pierre listed the senators who attended (Senators Schumer, Kaine, King, Klobuchar, Manchin, Merkley, Tester, and Warnock,) and said they provided Biden an “update on their progress.”
In her follow-up, though, the reporter asked if Biden felt voting rights was an issue so vital that it should take priority over Build Back Better in Congress. Jean-Pierre didn’t entertain the notion that the administration needed to pick one over the other, but after listing all the ways Biden was addressing the problem, she placed responsibility for it even being an issue squarely where it belongs: on the regressive, racist GOP.
“The President has made clear that the systematic effort to deny people the right to vote in this country is just plainly wrong, unconstitutional, and goes against the very foundation that our democracy was built on,” she began. “The President believes the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and has repeatedly urged Congress to act to protect the right to vote and access to voting. He has addressed this issue in front of Congress. He has addressed this issue privately with members of Congress and senators, as I just read out, of both parties — he’s done this. He has addressed this issue with civil rights leaders at the White House. And so, you know, protecting the cornerstone of our democracy should not be a partisan issue but, sadly, what we’re seeing is that it has — this has been the case.”
Then she dropped the metaphorical anvil on the toe of the GOP.
“So, in the past, voting rights has been a bipartisan issue. So, my question to Republicans are: How has this changed? Why has that changed?”
White House principal deputy press sec. Karine Jean-Pierre on voting rights: “Protecting the cornerstone of our democracy should not be a partisan issue…My questions to Republicans are: How has this changed? Why has that changed?” https://t.co/PZm29vRnZB pic.twitter.com/OvQ911NdKr
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 16, 2021
Yes, Republicans — HOW and WHY has this changed? Why won’t a single Republican —even Liz Cheney — vote to protect voting rights for Black people? When and why did they stop caring about even the appearance of being full-fledged white-hood-wearing sociological descendants of Nathan Bedford Forrest?
Later in the press conference, when asked about how Biden would respond to frustration from activists on voting rights legislation, she reiterated that Biden is not waiting for legislation to do what he can to ensure voting rights for all citizens.
JEAN-PIERRE: Let me just run through a little bit of what we have done, because I think that’s important. I feel like sometimes that get — that gets lost as we’re talking about voting rights. And it shouldn’t because the President has made this a priority — voting rights — made this a priority throughout his career and practically on day one.
So, dozens of White House staff work on this priority every day. And it is fundamental to upholding the rule of law.
You all heard the President speak about this at length at the 10th anniversary of MLK’s Memorial, which is very — which was not too long ago, decrying the Big Lie and making the case for voting rights legislation.
Here’s what we’ve also done, because we are not waiting for legislation; we wanted to make sure that we moved forward very quickly and got some of these things done.
So, the President’s historic executive order in March, which he signed on Bloody Sunday and which agencies have now submitted actions plans for, leveraging the power of the administration to protect the franchise and make it easier to vote. That’s one.
DOJ has been doubling their voting rights staff at the Civil Rights Division, as well as taking steps to ensure compliance with voting rights statutes, launching a task force to combat the increase of threats against election officials and election workers, and issuing guidance on a variety of issues pertaining to fair and secure elections.
And the President appointed the Vice President, at her request, to lead this administration-wide effort using the bully pulpit and convening power to the White House.
So, the President believes the right to vote is critical, it’s crucial to the health of our system — of our system of government. So, that’s what we’ve been doing. So, I don’t want that to get lost.
It was energizing as hell to hear this administration push back on the false narrative that Biden and the Democrats are the ones to blame for Republican-led states passing regressive, racist voter suppression laws, and that Congresspeople and Senators from those same states are the ones blocking the remedy at every turn. Doomsayers on the left need to elevate this as much as possible, and make sure they all know the facts about what the Dems ARE doing, despite the obstructionist, anti-democratic, cynical path to destroy democracy the GOP is determined to follow.