To counter racial politics, Congress must protect federal voting rights for all

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History and politics walk most easily on familiar paths. By electing republicans Glenn youngkinGlenn Youngkin Seven Governors Most Vulnerable to 2022 Re-election Clinton: “Time to Think Carefully About Who Wins Election” Photos of the Year MORE on November 2, voters in Virginia followed their decades-long habit of choosing governors from the party opposite the president. More dangerous was the other familiar model of the election, the winner’s veiled negative message about race. If we do not focus on it, we risk missing the urgently needed balance: vigilant protection of the right to vote for all.

Anti-black campaign messages camouflaged in socially acceptable terminology have long been a mainstay of Republican electoral politics. Ian Haney-Lopez, author of “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class,” said that appealing to white fear and prejudice “has been a concerted GOP strategy since 1963”.

And in a tight election like Virginia’s, racial dog whistles can provide the winning margin. Youngkin whitewashed his racial message through a fabrication wash. Politifact called his hammered campaign theme that Critical Race Theory (CRT) was taught in Commonwealth public schools “bogus”.

In the Fox-Republican echo chamber, CRT has become an oft-repeated code for anti-white discrimination. Voters have been adrift. Exhibit A is the White Virginian captured on pre-election video saying the key issue was “to teach critical race theory.” When asked what CRT was, he admitted that he “didn’t know much about it”, but he knew he “didn’t like it”.

Racially prejudiced euphemisms in the pursuit of power have deep roots in America’s political past. During Jim Crow’s reign, the southern states adopted innocent-sounding “grandfather clauses” into their election laws. These provisions exempted anyone whose grandparents were qualified to vote – that is, whites – from local taxes and literacy tests, denying the right to vote only black citizens whose ancestors were slaves. banned from voting.

In 1968, Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” stripped the Old South of its traditional Democratic Party cues by emphasizing “law and order,” code words to suppress black criminals. Reagan used “the rights of the state” and “the war on drugs”.

Then of course there is Donald trumpDonald TrumpOne in three Americans say violence against government is sometimes justified: Poll Seven most vulnerable governors facing re-election in 2022 on Sunday show snapshot: Omicron surge continues; anniversary of the January 6 attack is approaching MORE. In January 2018, he lamented that the United States had so many immigrants from “shitty countries” like Haiti and wished for more Norwegians. The CRT is the 2021 sanitized proxy for Trump’s rougher appeal.

In American politics, these racial siren songs directed at segments of the white electorate are not going to go away. The best we can do is to balance them by ensuring a level playing field for them. all constituencies, including blacks. On level ground, let the majority win.

The fundamental principle of fair elections is equal access to the ballot box. Voting is how citizens elect a government that protects their family’s health care, jobs, and children’s food security. Equitable access to the ballot will depend on the fate in the coming weeks of the law on freedom to vote and the John lewisJohn Lewis The 5 Most Important Blows To Our Legal System In 2021 Asian American Leaders Push For National Museum Of Their Own History Shows Only New Voting Rights Law Can Preserve Our Fragile Democracy MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, both pending in Congress.

The first measure overturns 2021 voter suppression laws passed by 19 Republican legislatures to control future elections by enacting restrictive voting laws based on Trump’s “big lie” – this electoral fraud denied him re-election. The second measure will reinstate the 1965 Voting Rights Act of Congress, emptied in 2013 and 2021 by the conservative Supreme Court. Immediately after the 2013 ruling, states with a history of electoral discrimination against blacks enacted new voting restrictions, leading to a sharp drop in minority turnout.

Republicans believe they are winning in the presidential battlefield states of 2024, that in addition to racial messaging to their white base, they must diminish the power of minority voters who helped elect Joe bidenJoe Biden Kentucky Governor declares state of emergency after powerful storm Seven most vulnerable governors to be re-elected in 2022 At least 20 states to raise minimum wage from Saturday MORE. So, on November 3, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the John Lewis Act. On November 4, the Republican Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis Eleven Interesting Races To Watch In 2022 Ocasio-Cortez Criticizes GOP For ‘Projecting Their Sexual Frustration’ On Her True ‘Patriotic Education’ Requires Critical Analysis of US History MORE announced that he would seek another legislative package to push forward more voting restrictions.

Still, there is good news for those who believe in equal opportunity to vote.

More Senate Democrats are ready to reform Senate filibuster rules to allow the Lewis Act and the Freedom to Vote Act by simple majority to pass, rather than requiring a vote from 60 to 40. On November 5, Democratic Senator from Delaware. Tom carperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperBiden raises vehicle mileage standards, reversing Trump’s setback Key climate program remains on the spending bill – for now Amtrak appoints longtime executive as CEO MORE announced its support for such a reform to guarantee the right of every citizen to choose representatives who can determine the essential questions of their life. There is also a lag reported among other senators going in the same direction.

Citizens who understand that the well-being of everyone depends on the freedom to vote must make their voices heard. Senators like Joe manchinJoe Manchin Biden Faces A Series Of Minefields In The Year To Come Five Questions The Economy Is Facing In 2022 The 10 Biggest News Of The Year MORE (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThe 10 biggest news of the year The 9 politicians who had the most impact in 2021 Mitch McConnell is set to win “Politician of the Year” in 2021 MORE (D-ariz.) Have not yet committed to passing the John Lewis Act and the Free Voting Act by simple majority. They need to know where Americans stand when they don’t care about racial dog whistles.

Dennis Aftergut is a former federal prosecutor.

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