Watch: Robert Reich rips Republicans over their war on civil rights

Watch: Robert Reich rips Republicans over their war on civil rights
Economist and former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich speaking at the Santa Rosa Unitarian Churc in Santa Rosa, California in 2013 (Wikimedia Commons).
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In a new video published on his YouTube channel on Thursday, former United States Labor Secretary Robert Reich tore into the Republican Party's nationwide effort to subvert democracy to cement its own power.

"Democracy is not just under attack in America. In some states, it’s being lost," Reich began. "Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once suggested that states could serve as laboratories of democracy, but these states are more like laboratories of autocracy."

Reich pointed out that in Wisconsin, for example, "the GOP has so successfully rigged state elections through gerrymandering that even when Democrats get more votes, Republicans win more seats. In 2018, Republicans won just 45% of the vote statewide, but were awarded 64% of the seats."

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While Wisconsin was once a reliably blue state, the Republican takeover of its legislature and governorship in 2010 changed everything for the worse, and it set a dark example that would go on to be "replicated" in right-wing strongholds.

"One of the first bills they passed gutted workers' rights by dismantling public-sector unions — which then decimated labor’s ability to support pro-worker candidates," Reich explained. "This move aligned with the interests of their corporate donors, who benefited from weaker unions and lower wages."

Elsewhere, those measures quickly caught on.

"Republicans in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina won a minority of votes in 2018, but still won majorities in their state assemblies thanks to gerrymandering," Reich noted. "In Texas, Ohio, and Georgia, Republicans have crafted gerrymanders that are strong enough to create supermajorities capable of overturning a governor’s veto."

READ MORE: Texas Congresswoman is the latest Republican to brag about infrastructure improvements she voted against

The GOP's abuses of authority came to a head after President Joe Biden defeated his predecessor, Reich added, when "hundreds of these Republican state legislators 'used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election' on behalf of Donald Trump."

All of this is not happening in a vacuum, either. Cash-rich corporations and their lobbyists are funding the politicians and campaigns that threaten the survival of the republic.

"This political alliance with corporate power has given these Republican legislatures free rein to pursue an extreme culture war agenda — one that strips away rights that majorities of people support — while deflecting attention from their corporate patrons’ economic agendas," Reich said. "Republicans are introducing bills that restrict or criminalize abortion. They’re banning teachers from discussing the history of racism in this country. They are making it harder to protest and easier to harm protestors. They are punishing trans people for receiving gender-affirming care and their doctors for providing it."

There is, however, a counterinsurgency brewing on the left.

READ MORE: To see Roe as law, the left must stick together

"Elected officials in Colorado and Vermont are codifying the right to abortion. California lawmakers have proposed making the state a refuge for transgender youth and their families. And workers across the country are reclaiming their right to organize, which is helping to rebuild an important counterweight to corporate power," Reich pointed out.

But without a solid majority in the Senate, the chances of nationalizing those protections are virtually nonexistent. Thus, Reich emphasized that "winning will ultimately require a fifty-state strategy — with a Democratic Senate willing to reform or end the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade, protect voting rights, and protect the right to organize nationwide."

The country also "needs a national pro-democracy movement to stop the anti-democracy movement now underway — a pro-democracy movement committed to helping candidates everywhere, including in state-level races," Reich added, urging citizens to "volunteer for pro-democracy candidates — and if you don't have time, contribute to their campaigns."

Reich then issued a reminder to stay focused on the big picture.

READ MORE: House Republicans are 'out for blood' and planning revenge against the Jan. 6 committee: report

"This is not a battle of left vs. right," he concluded. "It is a battle between democracy and autocracy."

Watch below:

The Secret to the GOP’s Assault on Your Rights | Robert Reich www.youtube.com

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