Mitch McConnell dismisses voting rights bill as ‘half-baked socialism’ — and betrays his own disregard for democracy

In the House of Representatives, Democrats passed, on March 8, a voting rights bill that seeks to make Election Day a national holiday and would require states to offer automatic voter registration. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to even allow a vote on the House bill in the Senate and has denounced it as “half-baked socialism.”

The Kentucky Republican, who is up for reelection in 2020, is drawing criticism for equating voter participation with “socialism.” Politico’s Matt Wuerker tweeted that McConnell’s angry opposition to the House bill underscores his "disdain for democracy":

Earlier this month, when the House was debating the Democratic voting bill (called the For the People Act of 2019), McConnell saw the proposal as symptomatic of how “radical” the Democratic Party has become. McConnell asserted, “Like many Americans, I’ve spent the last several weeks watching with interest as prominent leaders in the Democratic Party have engaged in a political footrace. They’re sprinting as far left as possible, as quickly as possible, trying to outdo one another.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen has also weighed in on McConnell’s opposition to the bill, writing, “There’s nothing ‘socialist’ about automatic voter registration. Or curtailing partisan gerrymandering. Or requiring officials to use ‘durable, voter-verified’ paper ballots in federal elections.”

Benen added, “McConnell’s weird remarks are emblematic of an awkward truth Republicans should probably take a moment to acknowledge: they’ve undermined their own credibility by becoming the boys who cried socialist. The word has been stripped of any etymological meaning through generations of over use.”

On the Brennan Center website, Andrew Cohen wrote that Republicans oppose the bill because “the GOP sees it as an existential threat to white supremacy in an era of changing demographics. This helps explain why they would so eagerly oppose a measure that would make it easier for American citizens to vote and harder for their elected officials to hoard power.”


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