Former President Barack Obama during early voting in 2016.
Former President Barack Obama is speaking out about the urgent need for Democrats to pass voting rights legislation as Republicans across America enact voter suppression measures, based on Trump’s big lie, to thwart the votes of Black Americans and other minorities.
Monday, while speaking during a conference call with former Attorney General Eric Holder, and grassroots activists, Obama articulated the need for addressing and passing voting rights legislation.
“We can’t wait until the next election,” said Obama. “Because if we have the same kinds of shenanigans that brought about Jan. 6, if we have that for a couple more election cycles, we’re going to have real problems in terms of our democracy long-term.”
The 44th president said that while he tries to stay out of the fray of everyday politics the issue of voting rights is too serious for him to stay silent now. Mr. Obama said he wanted Americans to understand the gravity of the current moment.
“Since I left office I’ve tried to make a policy not to weigh in on the day-to-day scrum in Washington,” said Obama. “But what’s happening this week is more than just a partisan bill coming up or not coming up to a vote…I do want folks who may not be paying close attention to what’s happening … to understand the stakes involved here, and why this debate is so vitally important to the future of our country.”
President Obama also took aim at the Republicans’ use of the filibuster to kill voting rights legislation now being pushed by Democrats.
“Republicans in the Senate are lining up to try to use the filibuster to stop the For the People Act from even being debated,” Obama said. “Think about this: In the aftermath of an insurrection, with our democracy on the line and many of the same Republican senators going along with the notion that somehow there were irregularities and problems with legitimacy in our most recent election, they’re suddenly afraid to even talk about these issues and figure out a solution on the floor of the Senate. That’s not acceptable.”
Obama made it clear he felt America now faces a dangerous crisis not just because of attacks on voting rights but also because of the rise of right-wing political violence.
“Whatever else we may argue about, the one thing we should agree on the bedrock idea that we as Americans have been taught to take pride in, this is the fact that we’re a democracy,” Obama said. “The issue of voting rights might not set off alarms for most of us,” but “the violence that occurred in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th should remind us we can’t take our democracy for granted.”