President Joe Biden called bills aiming to curtail voting accessibility by state legislatures across the country a “21st century Jim Crow assault” Tuesday. The video above shows parts of the president’s Tuesday speech in Philadelphia.
“This year alone, 17 states have enacted, not just proposed, but enacted 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote,” President Biden said. “Not to mention, and catch this, nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislatures are trying to pass.”
Biden called the state efforts “un-American” and “un-democratic”. He also attacked Former President Donald Trump, who made unfounded claims about the results of the 2020 election.
“You don’t call facts fake and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy,” Biden said. “That’s not statesmanship, that’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness.”
While Biden attacked Republican legislatures and Former President Trump, he offered few concrete proposals to counter their efforts. This includes changing or getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have tried to pass the For the People Act, a sweeping federal voting and elections bill Senate Republicans have united to block. Most Republicans have also dismissed a separate bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. That bill would restore sections of the Voting Rights Act the Supreme Court has weakened.
If left in place, the current Senate filibuster rules would require 60 votes in the evenly split, 100-member chamber to even bring up a bill. This has proven to be an insurmountable roadblock in the past, like when it was used to block a bill that would establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Biden appeared to at least partially the improbability of either the For the People Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Tuesday. He said he would launch a nationwide campaign to educate voters on rules changes and restrictions ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“No matter what, you can never stop the American people from voting,” Biden said. “They will decide and the power must always be with the people. That’s why just like we did in 2020, we have to prepare for 2022.”
Joe Biden, U.S. President: “Some things in America should be simple and straightforward. Perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things, is the right to vote, the right to vote freely, the right to vote freely, the right, the right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted. The Democratic threshold is liberty, with it, anything’s possible without it, nothing, nothing. And for our democracy and the work and to deliver our work on our people, it’s up to all of us to protect that right. This is a test of our time. In 2020, more people voted in America than ever, ever in the history of America, in the middle of a once in a century pandemic. With recount after recount after recount, court case after court case, the 2020 election was the most scrutinized election ever in American history. No other election has ever been held under such scrutiny and such high standards. The big lie is just that, a big lie. The 2020 election, it’s not hyperbole, suggests the most examined and the fullest expression of the will of the people in the history of this nation. This should be celebrated. An example of America at its best, but instead we continue to see an example of human nature at its worst. Something darker and more sinister. In America, if you lose, you accept the results, you follow the Constitution, you try again. You don’t call facts fake and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship, that’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness. That’s not democracy, it’s the denial of the right to vote. It suppresses, it subjugates. The denial of a full and free and fair election is the most unAmerican thing that any of us can imagine, the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic and sadly, not unprecedented. I just got back from Europe talking to the G-7 and the NATO. They wonder, not a joke, they wonder, Gov., they ask me, is it going to be OK? The citadel of democracy in the world, is it going to be OK? Time and again, we’ve weathered threats to the right to vote in free and fair elections, and each time we’ve found a way to overcome. That’s what we must do today. They want to make it so hard and inconvenient that they hope people don’t vote at all. That’s what this is about. This year alone, 17 states have enacted, not just proposed, but enacted 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote. Not to mention, and catch this, nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislatures are trying to pass. The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real. It’s unrelenting. And we’re going to challenge it vigorously. To me, this is simple. This is election subversion, it’s the most dangerous threat to voting and the integrity of free and fair elections in our history. Never before have we decided who gets to count, count, what votes count. Some some state legislators want to make it harder for you to vote, and if you vote, they want to be able to tell you your vote doesn’t count for any reason that they make up. They want the ability to reject the final count and ignore the will of the people if their preferred candidate loses. You have to forge a coalition of Americans of every background and political party, the advocates, the students, the faith leaders, the labor leaders, the business executives, and raise the urgency of this moment. Because as much as people know they’re screwing around with the election process, I don’t think that most people think this is about who gets to count what vote counts. No matter what, you can never stop the American people from voting. They will decide and the power must always be with the people. That’s why just like we did in 2020, we have to prepare for 2022. We’ll engage in an all out effort to educate voters about the changing laws, register them to vote, and then get the vote out. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about who we are as Americans. It’s that basic, it’s about the kind of country we want today, the kind of country we want for our children and grandchildren tomorrow. And quite frankly, the whole world is watching. But I swore an oath to you, to God, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. That’s an oath that forms a sacred trust to defend America against all threats, both foreign and domestic. I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed. I’m also saying this, there’s good news, it doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be for real. We have the means. We just need the will, the will to save and strengthen our democracy. We did it, we did it in the 2020, the battle for the soul of America. In that battle, the people voted. Democracy prevailed. Our Constitution held. We have to do it again.”