Editor’s note: We endeavor to bring you the top voices on current events representing a range of perspectives. Below is a column arguing that Biden’s election bills are a cover to allow a federal takeover of elections. You can find a counterpoint here, where professor and podcast host Jason Nichols argues that these bills are meant to defend voting rights that are under assault from Republicans.
In his remarks in Georgia this past week, President Biden used the phrase “voting rights” 24 times. He talked about protecting them, restoring them and supporting them.
Not once did he define what they are.
In 2022, it’s hard to find real life scenarios in which American citizens are systematically being denied the right to vote. I know that’s the case because I grew up in segregated Louisiana – you know, the time that Biden likes to compare today to.
If we were to take Biden’s speech at face value, you’d think that black Americans were being turned away from the polls, wholesale. You’d think things had gotten worse than 1950s Louisiana in terms of voting rights, not better. He’s lying.
There is a crisis related to voting in our country, but it is not the crisis that Biden, Schumer and Pelosi have manufactured. It is a crisis of confidence. In the wake of the 2020 election – where widespread vote by mail caused chaos and drew out the election longer than should ever been necessary – too many voters lost faith in the electoral process.
Restoring confidence in our electoral process is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Contrary to the mainstream narrative, Republicans were actually the first to take action on this, as evidenced by their 2021 legislative actions across the country. Election integrity bills signed into law in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona particularly come to mind as positive examples of legislation aimed to restore voters’ confidence.
Instead of reading the fine print, Democrats were happy to hammer home false talking points (such as the infamous claim that the Georgia bill prohibits people from drinking water in the poll lines) about these election integrity bills that grossly distorted their content. In reality, these bills include safeguards and reforms that overwhelming majorities of the country support, including requiring photo ID at the polls and cleaning voter rolls.
Democrats’ answer to lost confidence in elections is not to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, but to strip states of their constitutional right to dictate election laws.
The first of the two nightmare bills Biden wants to pass is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This bill would require every state to get the Department of Justice’s permission to implement any election integrity reforms. Unelected bureaucrats like Attorney General Merrick Garland would have the final say in whether a state election law – like voter ID requirements, restrictions on mail-in voting or the state legislature’s right to draw up their own congressional district lines – are allowed to stand. Do we really want to crown a man who directed the FBI to investigate parents as “domestic terrorists” as king of state election laws?
The Freedom to Vote Act is no better than the John Lewis bill. If passed, the Freedom to Vote Act would federalize election laws, attack the First Amendment, and funnel taxpayer dollars to the reelection campaigns of career politicians. This bill would expose conservative donors to the cancel-culture mob and require large digital platforms to keep a public file of all purchased electioneering communications over $500. It’s not hard to imagine the doxing that would ensue.
After what we saw this past week, Biden knows that both of these bills are doomed to fail. The votes aren’t there in Congress, and Americans’ appetite for nationalizing federal elections is basically non-existent. Still, the PR stunt must be staged. Democrats must be made to look like they are doing something even if they are doing nothing at all.
Democrats want the American public to think that the right to vote is under attack. More than being a distraction from the real problems at hand (think: inflation at a 40-year high), their ploy rests on the ugly and incorrect premise that any legislative attempts to bolster election integrity are racist. Though racism still rears its ugly head in our society today, to say that we are living in the time of Jim Crow 2.0 because we want free and fair elections is to cheapen the legacy of Dr. King and everyone else who fought alongside him for the right to vote.
For a man like Joe Biden to use the past experiences of black Americans as a crutch to advance his agenda is, quite frankly, deeply offensive and shameful. Even worse is that he would have the gall to equate election integrity with racism, all for political gain.
Americans are smarter than that.
Rev. C.L. Bryant is a senior fellow at FreedomWorks, host of the C.L. Bryant Radio show, and former president of the Garland, TX NAACP.