It’s time to start panicking about the possibility of losing democracy in the United States.
A multitude of bills are passed in electoral battlefield states, many of which are vetted by GOP legislatures and majority governors. They seek either to prevent liberal-leaning constituencies from voting or, more infamously, to let election officials overrule specific results.
In Texas, a new law, according to The Texas Tribune, “specifically targets voting initiatives used by various Democratic counties in Harris, the most populous in the state, by banning early hours of voting at night and drive-thru voting -” both of which proved popular among voters. colored last year. And Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduced a bill that would shorten early voting, ban the return of ballots via drop boxes, and limit acceptable forms of voter identification.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – who after the 2020 election repeatedly turned down Donald Trump’s call to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory – faces a major Trump-approved challenger who would be much more willing to do so. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp also faces a major challenge, from Trump-backed former Senator David Perdue for equally sinister reasons.
In short, Republicans across the country are working hard to ensure that the next time a potential autocrat like Donald Trump tries to wrest victory from electoral defeat, he succeeds.
All of this is well documented. The past few weeks have seen increased coverage of Republican-led efforts to further undermine democracy. Perhaps the most shocking headline of an article extensively reported by Barton Gellman in The Atlantic is “Trump’s Next Coup has Already Started.” Another disturbing editorial, “18 Steps to a Democratic Breakdown,” appeared in the December 10 issue of the Washington Post.
Democracy is unraveling before our eyes and time is running out to do something about it. To protect democracy from these predations, we must first pass a new federal voting rights law. There is simply no time to fight individually, through the courts or the ballot box, all of the national and local laws that loosen our already shaky grip on majority rule.
We’ve been on this slippery slope for some time. In 2013, a Supreme Court ruling effectively removed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of discrimination against minority voters to have electoral changes approved by the federal government.
Now, as Old South states like Georgia move towards a system that would allow election officials to steal elections by denying voters the right to vote and threatening to delegitimize the results, we see just how badly this move is. was wrong. And these latest state measures, even gradual ones, are leading the United States into an autocratic abyss.
It’s time to stop playing games. We need to pass a federal voting rights law that replaces state and local laws, further tearing apart our already shredded democracy.
There is always hope. On December 13, Democratic governors of 17 states signed a letter urging the United States Senate to act on voting rights, including the codification of a law passed by the House in August, named after the late John Lewis, to restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Days later, President Joe Biden followed suit, rightly accusing the GOP of a “relentless attack” on the vote.
It must be done, no matter what. This will likely be a matter of getting around the filibuster, as happened with the recent move to raise the debt ceiling. Democrats as stubborn as the senses. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema must get on board or watch America’s democracy take a potentially fatal blow.
The clock is turning.