Democrats Try To Stir Up Fear Of “Rigged” Mid-Term Elections
With Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona refusing to end the filibuster and pass two election reform bills, Democratic politicians are claiming Republicans will impede fair midterm elections in November.
Both bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, would nationalize elections by preventing states and locales from setting limits on absentee ballots, prohibiting ballot harvesting, and changing polling locations without federal approval, among other changes. Democrats claim that these changes are needed to stop local Republicans from participating in voter suppression and throwing out validly cast ballots.
President Joe Biden described opponents of the bills as the heirs of segregationists, and laws requiring voter ID and banning line-warming as “Jim Crow 2.0.” He also insisted that individuals who support the stricter ID standards “plan to subvert the election.”
“History has never been kind to those who’ve sided with voter suppression over voters’ rights, and it will be even less kind for those who side with election subversion,” Biden said. “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? The side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? The side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?” he asked.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks on voting rights legislation. Georgia has been a focal point for voting legislation after the state voted Democratic for the first time in nearly 30 years in the 2020 election. As a result, the Georgia House passed House Bill 531 to limit voting hours, drop boxes, and require a government ID when voting by mail.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina defended Biden’s remarks while indicating that Biden’s critics lack the personal experience necessary to understand his comments.
“This is Jim Crow 2.0. That was one of the strongest points of the president’s speech that I agree with. So, this whole notion, when you walk around and no one has ever discriminated against you because of your skin color or you have never had to worry about having your vote counted, you can have those kinds of statements,” he said.
During her Martin Luther King Jr. Day address, Vice President Kamala Harris said that opponents of the legislation wish “to interfere with our elections, to get the outcomes they want and to discredit those they do not.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added that Republicans want to “rig the game and rig the count,” when it comes to elections, so a compromise position such as reforming the Electoral Count Act would be unacceptable to his caucus.
“If you’re going to rig the game and then say, ‘count the rigged game accurately,’ what good is that?” he asked during a Jan. 4 press conference.
The top Democrat’s claims come as polls and analysts suggest that Republicans are likely to take back the House and Senate by wide margins in the November midterms. A poll released Monday by Gallup found that Americans were more likely to support the Republican Party than the Democratic Party towards the end of 2021 than at any point since 1995, a year after the GOP secured 54 House and eight Senate seats.
Other polls have shown that voters prefer generic Republican candidates to generic Democratic ones by eight percentage points, with independents breaking sharply for Republicans.
Republicans need to gain only five House seats and one Senate seat to win back both chambers, while the president’s party has on average lost 26 seats in the midterm elections conducted since the end of World War II. The only midterm elections that the president’s party did not lose seats were in 1998, as Republicans impeached former President Bill Clinton, and 2002, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Many Democrats criticized Republicans for equally baseless claims about the 2020 elections, saying that Americans should not question the security and fairness of elections.
After Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley cited “allegations of voter fraud” in his announcement that he would object to the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s victory, Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar accused him of “joining a coup attempt.”
Biden said Hawley and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were “part of the big lie” after they objected to the Electoral College certification.
“Goebbels and the great lie, you keep repeating the law, repeating the lie,” Biden said, name-checking Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist.