The electoral reform under consideration in the Senate is supported by a vast majority of Americans, but the opposition of the Republicans and the forces of the money almost guarantees its failure.
The For the People Act, which aims, among other things, to promote the participation of as many citizens as possible in elections and to limit secret spending on election campaigns, was approved by the House of Representatives on 3 March.
In the Senate, this project is virtually guaranteed to be blocked by the Republican minority, unless the Democrats can unanimously agree to limit the blocking power of the minority.
The future of American democracy depends on it.
Elimination of the vote
A major objective of this reform is to limit the recourse by States to targeted measures to suppress voting.
This is the case of a law recently passed in Georgia, which explicitly aims to impede the voting of ethnoracial minorities, among other things by making it excessively complicated to register and access the ballot boxes in urban areas. This absurd law goes so far as to criminalize the distribution of food or water to people who are forced to wait hours to vote. Voting suppression measures that essentially aim to deprive millions of voters of their right to vote are currently being considered in many states where routed Republicans see them as their only lifeline.
The other front in this battle for democracy is that of secret financial contributions by companies or wealthy individuals to groups that intervene in election campaigns.
Such groups have acted on both sides of the last presidential campaign, but only Republicans oppose stricter regulation of their partisan activities.
It’s no wonder billionaires are scrambling behind the scenes to block reform that would take away a chunk of their enormous power. No wonder they also support the party that gave them hundreds of billions in tax cuts.
Win at all costs
According to the polls, if presented in a neutral fashion, all of the voting protections being considered in Congress have the support of an overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republicans.
However, we do not hear a word from elected Republican officials determined to block this reform. They seem to have no argument to justify their action, other than the thinly veiled desire to ensure victory for their party at all costs, even at the expense of democracy.
Considering the support of many Republicans for the violent insurgency of January 6 and the false accusations of fraud peddled by their leaders, we see that for too many of them, victory and power matter more than democracy.
If the Republican minority neutralizes electoral reform supported by a majority of elected officials and an overwhelming majority of citizens, American democracy will take a huge step backwards.