Obama: We must “vigilantly preserve and protect” the right to vote

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Former President Obama voiced his support behind the replacement of the filibuster in an op-ed on Wednesday that stressed the need to “vigilantly protect and protect” the right to vote.

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Why this matters: The move comes a day after President Biden publicly endorsed rule changes to ensure the Senate passes Democrats’ voting rights legislation.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has since threatened retaliation.

what is he saying: “For generations, Americans of every political stripe have taken pride in our status as the world’s oldest continuous democracy,” Obama wrote. USA Today Op-Ed,

  • “But as we learned during the Jim Crow era, our role as defenders of democracy is not credible when we violate the rights and freedoms of our citizens.”
  • Recent attacks on voting rights have “exposed the slow pace of basic democratic institutions and electoral systems,” he said.

zoom in: In the op-ed, Obama highlighted the following efforts:

  • Deny and reverse the 2020 election.
  • Gerrimander Congressional District.
  • Prohibit voting through state law.
  • ,[A]Provides power over key election processes such as the ability to authenticate elections.

“These partisan attempts to quash voters are unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times … when one of our two major parties is bent on destroying the very foundations of our own democracy.”

— Former President Obama

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Historically, filibuster “has no basis”. In the Constitution, and according to Obama, was used exclusively to block civil rights legislation.

  • ,[W]E cannot allow it to be used to block efforts to protect our democracy,” he said, adding that he fully supports Biden’s call to revise Senate rules as necessary.
  • “Our democracy is not given… we, as citizens, have to nurture and nurture it,” he said. “And in that task, we have to vigilantly preserve and protect our most basic instrument of self-government, which is the right to vote.”
  • “Now is the time for the US Senate to do the right thing.”

what to watch: The Senate is expected to vote on the rule change in the filibuster by January 17.


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