50 Republican senators, not just Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, killed democracy

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What’s tragic about the U.S. Senate’s failure to alter the filibuster rule in order to advance the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act is not that two of 50 Democratic senators voted against it.

What’s tragic is that there were not two Republican senators willing to vote for it.

Not two Republicans out of 50 willing to protect and expand voter protections. Not two Republicans willing to restore some of the anti-discriminatory authority of the original 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrats, contributed to that failure. And they should be ashamed, particularly Sinema, who often boasted of her support for the act.

Another view: Sinema really should become an independent now

But the most disheartening aspect of what went on in Washington is that all 50 Republican senators turned their backs on an attempt to protect the most fundamental right of citizenship: the vote.

A 'tidal wave' of voter suppression

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who led the fight against protections for voting rights.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who led the fight against protections for voting rights.

As it is, Republican-controlled state legislatures, like Arizona’s, have been passing voter suppression laws that make it more difficult to vote in person and by mail; that make it easier to remove voters from the rolls; that reduce the days allowed for voting; that add roadblocks to registration; that reduce the number of polling places, and more.

This in addition to the blatant gerrymandering of congressional districts that has gone on all across the nation.

The Lewis Act would have restored a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required places that had a history of voting discrimination to receive approval from the Justice Department or federal court before making changes.

It would have protected early voting and expanded voter registration. It also contained provisions to provide protection for local election officials, many of whom were harassed after the 2020 election. And it had restrictions on gerrymandering.

The Brennan Center for Justice researched and described much of what it called a “tidal wave of restricting voting legislation.”

Is it racist? Consider McConnell's answer

Most of those state-level bills will now go into effect. Simply put, it’s a way to rig elections through the law. And all 50 Republican senators went along with it.

Is it racist?

You tell me.

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked if minority voters had a reason to be concerned about voter suppression.

McConnell said, “Well, the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

Many, many, MANY of McConnell’s fellow citizens took to Twitter and other forms of social media to explain to the senator from Kentucky that Black people are Americans.

Mary Trump, the niece and frequent critic of former President Donald Trump, responded with a quote by Nobel Prize winning Black author Toni Morrison, who said, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”

Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 50 Republican senators, not just Sinema and Manchin, killed democracy

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