Watch: Robert Reich demands abolition of Senate filibuster to protect voting rights

Watch: Robert Reich demands abolition of Senate filibuster to protect voting rights
Robert Reich image via Screengrab

Former United States Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Tuesday urged for the abolition of the Senate filibuster to clear a path for the passage of critical voting rights legislation. In a video posted to Inequality Media, Reich spells out the Republican Party's war on the franchise through gerrymandering and stresses the importance of having the Senate get out of its own way.

"Republicans are gerrymandering themselves into entrenched minority power unless we stop them now," Reich explains. "What's really different about this redistricting cycle is that Republicans have become much more proficient at figuring out exactly how to design gerrymandered districts to minimize Democratic voters and maximize Republican voters."

In some states, the GOP's objective of stopping non-whites from voting is abundantly clear, Reich says.

"If there was ever a demonstration of the power of gerrymandering to actually suppress the votes of people of color, you don't have to look beyond Texas. In Texas, you've got about 40% of the electorate that's white and about 40% of the electorate that’s Hispanic. But if you look at actually the congressional districts, fewer than one-fifth are majority Hispanic because of gerrymandering. Hello?" Reich says.

"What we have here is a system — we might call it entrenchment," he continues. "If you look at Wisconsin or North Carolina or Georgia or any of these key swing states, these states are all becoming more and more Democratic, capital 'D.' But Republicans are radically gerrymandering so they can stay in power. As they gain more and more power and grab it from majorities, disproportionately people who are Black or Hispanic, they're able to, not only take over a legislature, they can take over the electoral machinery."

Reich fears that by the time the November midterms come around, Republicans will have successfully put in place the means to subvert the will of the majority. And that will have dire consequences for the nation in 2022, 2024, and beyond.

"They can simply declare that the will of the majority is not going to be observed, or that most of the votes are not going to be counted, or some other way of rigging —and this is rigging — an election that further entrenches their status," warns Reich.

The Senate, therefore, must eliminate the filibuster and enshrine the right to vote into law.

"Look, we have to have national minimum voting standards, but in order to be passed, they need to be passed by 60 votes in the Senate because of the Senate filibuster, which means that the only way they're going to get passed is if the filibuster has a carve-out," he concludes. "I mean the choice ahead is very very clear: it's either the filibuster or it's our democracy. It comes down to that."

Watch below:

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