The election reform being reviewed by the Senate is backed by a vast majority of Americans, but opposition by Republicans and those with financial power almost guarantee its failure.
The “For the People Act” was approved by the House of Representatives on March 3. It aims at promoting the participation of the greatest number of citizens possible in elections and at limiting secret spending on election campaigns, among other things.
In the Senate, this project is virtually sure to be blocked by the Republican minority unless the Democrats can unanimously agree to limit the minority’s blocking power.
The future of American democracy depends on it.
A major objective of this reform is to limit the ability of states to use measures targeted at suppressing the vote.
This is the case with a recent law adopted in Georgia, which aims explicitly at creating obstacles to the votes of ethnic and racial minorities, among other things, by making registration and access to ballot boxes in urban zones excessively complicated.
This absurd law goes so far as to criminalize the distribution of water or food to people forced to wait hours to vote. Voter suppression measures that essentially aim at depriving millions of voters of their right to vote are currently being considered in many states where Republicans see this as their only lifeline.
The other front in this battle for democracy is secret financial contributions by businesses or rich individuals to groups that intervene in election campaigns. Such groups acted on both sides of the last presidential campaign, but only the Republicans are opposed to a stricter regulation of their partisan activities.
It is not surprising that billionaires scramble in the wings to block a reform that would remove part of their enormous power. Neither is it surprising that they back the party that has given them hundreds of billions in tax reductions.
Winning at All Costs
According to the polls, if they are presented in a neutral light, all the measures to protect the right to vote being considered by Congress have garnered support from an overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republicans.
Nevertheless, we do not hear a word from the elected Republicans determined to block this reform. They do not seem to have a single argument that justifies their actions other than the thinly veiled desire for their party to win at all costs, even at the expense of democracy.
Considering that many Republicans backed the violent insurrection of Jan. 6 and considering the false accusations of voter fraud brought by their leaders, it’s clear that for many of them victory and power are more important than democracy.
If the Republican minority neutralizes an election reform that is supported by a majority of elected representatives and an immense majority of citizens, American democracy will be taking an enormous step backward.