By blocking voting reform today, Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the white moderates Dr. King warned us about.
America’s multiracial democracy is a recent, and fragile invention. Dr. King was, after all, protesting for the protection of rights supposedly guaranteed by the 15th Amendment but denied for nearly a century through anti-democratic schemes that barred Black Americans from voting. The passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act finally guaranteed Black voting rights and led to dramatic increases in both voting and substantive representation. But conservatives on the Supreme Court have substantially undermined that law and now voting rights are once again under attack by Republicans in a bid to maintain and secure power.
Manchin and Sinema’s claim they want a bipartisan solution to voting rights is, at best, a refusal to face political reality. At worst, their so-called moderate position of defending the filibuster gives cover to an anti-democratic extremism reminiscent of many of the worst moments in American history. To paraphrase Dr. King, by choosing order over justice, they remain the nation’s great stumbling block in the stride toward a fully inclusive democracy.
“Voting Rights: A Continued Fight for the Ballot” is hosted by CITIZEN by CNN on Wednesday, January 19 at 2pm ET. Join Dana Bash, John King, Abby Phillip and Manu Raju and RSVP at www.cnn.com/citizen