Expand the Vote, Of Course

Thoughts behind the tweets

Sometimes it seems my brain is wired to produce thoughts in exactly 280 characters. That’s what compulsive, daily tweeting will get you. But this occasional feature will give a behind-the-scenes look at some of the thoughts and questions that motivated the tweets. I hope that you find it valuable.

Some things are so obvious, they must be reiterated so we don’t allow ourselves to get sucked into a ridiculous debate. A healthy democracy depends on the right to vote. Full stop. What kind of democracy is it if one of the two major parties is passing bills to suppress the vote or rejecting bills intended to enable our diverse population the right to fulfill its most essential duty as citizens? We have seen this black-and-white movie far too many times in our history.

The demographics are against them. Their policies don’t appeal to the majority. So the Republicans at the state and national levels are trying every dirty trick they can to hold onto power. But what kind of country is it if we stand back and let them continue to strip away voting rights? Surely not a democratic one.

H.R.1, the For The People Act, includes calls for automatic voter registration, a nationwide guarantee of free and fair elections without voter suppression, the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, an end to partisan gerrymandering and an overhaul of federal ethics rules. This is about stopping the aggressive efforts to disenfranchise voters, particularly Black and brown voters in underserved communities. This is about racial justice and reforming democracy at its core. This is about one person, one vote. I’ll save a longer reflection on the filibuster for another day, but ending this relic of the Jim Crow era cannot happen soon enough.

If there’s one person who has embodied the commitment to thwarting voter suppression and strengthening our democracy, it’s Georgia’s Stacey Abrams. In the weeks and months ahead—as policies and legislation are pursued to strengthen our democracy, give Americans a fighting chance to overcome COVID-19, confront the climate crisis and build a better America—I may try to resist thanking Stacey Abrams every time. But I might not.

A total of 81,283,098 Americans voted for Joseph R. Biden for President of the United States. That was a record, and 7 million votes more than the other guy. We all know how deadly, painful and just plain stressful the days were between November 3 and January 20. So many things could have gone another way, including in key states where the electoral wins were close, leaving us hostage for four more years of corruption, crime and death. Despite all of the continuing struggles to bend the arc toward justice, we have plenty of reason to be hopeful about the future.