President Biden attracted fire for comparing opponents of Democratic election reforms to segregationists and Confederate leaders. Later on, senators from Biden’s own party balked at the proposed law reforms.
Biden Went Too Far
It’s unclear whether Biden mentioned the Electoral Count Act during his visit to Atlanta.
Republican leaders have suggested they’re willing to alter it after its imprecise provisions fueled the January 6 rioting. Some saw a different Biden from the one who entered office a year ago, preaching unity and compromise.
“I’ve known, appreciated, and esteemed Joe Biden for many years,” McConnell said. “I didn’t recognize the speaker yesterday.”
After that, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema voted against a change to the filibuster on Thursday, establishing ECA reform as the only significant election legislation expected to be changed during the current congressional session.
That is, if President Biden, who came into office preaching the importance of togetherness and bipartisanship, eventually comes around to endorsing it.
BREAKING: After President Joe Biden's speech on voting rights Sen. Kyrsten Sinema confirms she is not changing the filibuster. No chance. She is a hero as is Sen. Joe Manchin.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) January 13, 2022
In his inauguration address, Biden stated “unity is the route ahead” and urged collaboration during the bipartisan infrastructure package deliberations.
So far, in 2022, the narrative has been somewhat different. In Biden’s address on January 6, Biden slammed Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole, claiming its leaders appear to no longer be the party of Lincoln, Reagan, Eisenhower, and the Bushes.
Biden also slammed the Democrat Party as a whole, claiming it has become “a party of division.” Now, even the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, thought Biden’s Atlanta speech “went a bit too far.”
21st century Jim Crow is about voter suppression and subversion—it’s about who gets to vote, who counts your vote, and whether your vote is counted.
The Senate must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 13, 2022
GOP consultant John Feehery says the president must modify his approach. “Biden is weakening his base, and he believes ranting at Republicans will reassure them,” he added. “It’s broken.”
Reforming the Electoral College Act (ECA) might avert another January 6 riot by clarifying the procedure for certifying electoral votes. However, many Democratic officials doubt it, seeing it as a distraction from more significant electoral issues.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said ECA reform is “not a replacement” and shouldn’t be considered as such.
She claimed the legislation would defend people’s fundamental rights, enhance access, and ensure their votes count and are not overruled. The White House needs the public to know it is not a replacement.
Republicans slammed Democratic leaders for promoting the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act on January 6, even though both pieces of legislation don’t specifically address the attack’s unclear election certification procedures.
However, many Republicans favor ECA reform.
Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney voted twice to convict Trump in the impeachment proceedings.
Romney now thinks Biden sounds too much like Trump, claiming the president has gone “down the same disastrous road followed by President Trump, raising doubts about the trustworthiness of American elections.”
However, Democrat heavyweights, like VP Kamala Harris and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have spoken out against ECA reform and other major electoral reforms.
“That’s absurd,” Schumer said when questioned about the ECA. “How do you rig the system and then claim you’ll correctly count the rigged game?”