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Biden Is Right To Call The State Of Voting Rights An Existential Threat. But The Walk Must Be As Aggressive As The Talk.

talkingpointsmemo.com
8 min read
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This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM's home for opinion and news...
This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM's home for opinion and news analysis.

Earlier this summer, the president of the United States traveled to the city where the Constitution was written, debated and signed and warned of mounting perils to American democracy. He invoked Jim Crow and called new election laws and voter suppression efforts in state legislatures the most dangerous threat to voting and the integrity of free elections in American history.

"We're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War," President Biden said in his speech at the National Constitution Center. "That's not hyperbole," he added, before repeating "since the Civil War."

That's a frightful warning from an American president, many of whom tend not to make such stark comparisons with two of the most bitter and poisonous eras in our history — let alone as a means to double-down and insist that such an apocalyptic warning doesn't overstate the threat. Biden sees the threats to representative democracy clearly: A nation drifting toward one-party, minority rule at nearly all levels of government, that citizens are powerless to control via the ballot box. A nation where one party remains captive to a "Big Lie" of election fraud that inspired an insurrection at the Capitol on the day when Electoral College votes were to be tallied. The Big Lie has swollen in influence over the past year as we witness fraudulent audits across the nation and a steady stream of voter suppression efforts in our most competitive and quickly changing states that could ensure a deliberately anti-majoritarian outcome in 2024.

It would, of course, stand to reason that a president who believed this moment rivaled almost five years of bloodshed between North and South, rooted in this nation's original racial sins, would exert every moral and persuasive power he could to ensure that our democracy withstood every threat.

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