For the past several months, we’ve seen the left fighting against election integrity reforms in the states. They reject such reforms and are trying to impose a federal takeover of elections to force changes to state laws that would facilitate — whether intentional or not — greater fraud and tampering.
But that’s not the only reason they are fighting.
They are using election reform as a Trojan Horse to get something even bigger: The death of the Senate filibuster. Once the legislative filibuster is gone, the floodgates will open for all their extremist policies — not just the federal takeover of elections, but the Green New Deal, tax hikes, and more — all of which they would be able to pass with just 50 votes if Vice President Kamala Harris casts a tie-breaking vote.
The left is pulling out all the stops to fight common-sense reforms such as requiring voter ID and ensuring campaign operatives can’t intimidate voters who use absentee ballots. From comparing reforms to segregationist Jim Crow laws to calling reformers racists, the left has baselessly accused conservatives of pushing laws that deliberately make it harder for minorities to vote while touting themselves as the new incarnation of the 1960s civil rights movement.
We’ve heard Vice President Harris compare Democrat legislators who fled Texas to avoid voting on election reforms to the Selma civil rights marchers of 1965, without, of course, mentioning that instead of facing fire hoses and police batons, they’re flying chartered jets, staying at nice hotels, and going to elite cocktail parties in Washington. Trying to play up these absurd comparisons to true heroes, the Texas legislators twice broke into spontaneous renditions of the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” in front of TV cameras, except they botched that too, singing “We Will Overcome.”
But the attacks on legitimate election reforms aren’t just happening with Texas. A few months ago, Georgia, Arizona, and several other states were targets. As I stated, these attacks are about more than just opposing election reforms. Here’s how they are a Trojan horse to get rid of the Senate filibuster:
- Average American citizens — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike — realize there are serious issues with the way elections are handled and have lost confidence in many of their outcomes.
- Conservatives and centrists in several states have responded by passing election reforms that provide greater election security and reduce the potential for fraud and mismanagement. Many reforms also expand early voting and other voter conveniences (quite the opposite of the so-called voter suppression conservatives are being accused of engaging in).
- Many Democratic politicians oppose these reforms. Democrats at the federal level have devised legislation that would allow the federal government to take over elections and make it illegal for states to do things like require voter ID, ensure that noncitizens don’t vote, and crosscheck voter rolls to make sure people can’t vote twice in two different states.
- Democrats realize they can’t get 60 votes in the Senate to stop a filibuster and pass these election takeover bills or most of the other unwise and dangerous legislation they want to pass. But if they could get rid of the filibuster, they would only need 50 votes.
- So, Democrats and their allies have been attacking the state election reforms as racist voter suppression. President Joe Biden even claimed that state reforms are “the worst challenge to our democracy since the Civil War.” The left is now calling for the federal government to step in just as it did during the 1960s civil rights movement — this time, taking over elections from the states. But they complain to the American people that they don’t have the votes to achieve this “great good” as long as the filibuster exists. It has to go.
If the left kills the filibuster, it can pass virtually all of its agenda with just 50 Democrat votes. The door would be wide open for passing not only an election takeover but things like the economy-destroying Green New Deal; the repeal of the 2017 tax cuts that saw even the lowest income earners taking home bigger paychecks; “free” taxpayer-funded college tuition; packing the Supreme Court to increase the likelihood that its decisions are pleasing to the party in power; and so much more.
These politicians aren’t fighting for civil rights. They are fighting for their own power, and they are working to convince people they are the good guys while shamelessly hijacking the mantle of the civil rights movement to do it.
• Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.