ATLANTA — In Perry Bacon Jr.’s latest column for the Washington Post, he highlights the urgent need for meaningful action to preserve America’s democracy as Republicans continue working to undermine our election system. Bacon Jr. shares his six-point plan for stopping the anti-democratic shift currently taking place in state legislatures across the country.
In 2021 alone, anti-voter lawmakers in 48 out of 50 state legislatures have introduced more than 400 bills attacking the freedom to vote—all part of a coordinated, nationwide effort by the Republican Party to stifle the political power of voters of color who turned out in historic numbers in 2020.
Read more about the six things Perry Bacon Jr. believes need to be done in order to turn the anti-democratic tide in his full Washington Post column here.
Washington Post: They tried to overturn the 2020 election. Now they want to run the next one.
By Perry Bacon Jr.
June 6, 2021
- “First, we need a collective national effort focused at the state level — either to block anti-democratic laws from passage or to at least get their worst provisions removed. Since the states adopting these provisions are so dominated by Republicans, there is often little the Democrats there can do. National Democrats and nonpartisan groups have to interject themselves into these fights.”
- “Second, we need federal legislation. Today’s voting-rights fights aren’t perfectly analogous to the 1960s, but there is a major similarity: Conservative White lawmakers holding power want to limit voting by Black people in particular, because they fear that those Black people will vote against them. So just as in the ’60s, we need the federal government to step in and set new national voting-rights standards. The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act include vital provisions, particularly on early voting, gerrymandering reform and reinstatement of federal pre-clearance of voting laws in places with a history of discrimination.”
- “Third, we need courts to start acting in a decidedly pro-democracy way. No right is more fundamental in a democracy than the right to vote. Judges performed well last fall in rejecting bogus challenges to the 2020 election; now we need the same skepticism toward legislation making it harder to vote and easier to disqualify votes, overturn results or create districts so gerrymandered that it’s effectively impossible for a party in power to lose. No piece of federal legislation can anticipate every sneaky vote-suppressing move by officials at the local and state level. We need judges to use common sense.”
- “Fourth, we need the media to permanently adopt the avowed pro-democracy posture it took as President Donald Trump sought to overturn the 2020 election. That doesn’t just mean covering the GOP’s anti-democratic drift negatively, but also covering it constantly. Democracy erosion is the most important story right now, but it’s largely happening outside of Washington. So news organizations need to react accordingly — centering more of their political coverage in the states.”
- “Fifth, we need leaders in every sector of America, from faith to business to sports, to emphasize democratic values. It won’t be enough if the pro-democracy message is carried only by politicians and the media. And it can’t be vague “voting is important” rhetoric. Those taking democracy-eroding actions — like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Trump — have to be named and shamed.”
- “Finally, we need a full-scale pro-democracy movement, with rallies in cities across the country. Such a mass mobilization will help alert those who may have thought Biden’s election returned everything to normal that the threat to democracy remains very real.”