Why is the 1965 Voting Rights Act so crucial to democracy? The law was a great victory for equality at law after a bloody, generations-long fight for enforcement of the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, a right long denied, openly and also under many subterfuges.
From the start, wealthy, determined reactionaries gritted their teeth about Black, brown and urban poor people voting and got to work to counter “majoritarian tyranny.” Over decades they figured out how to get the Supreme Court to grant them a series of game changing powers to perpetuate their privileges.
A key prize was the new constitutional right to form legal entities to spend limitless amounts of tax-deductible money to engage in fully protected freedom of speech, to express partisan political views and influence political outcomes, to the extent their vast fortunes allowed. Everybody else, one vote and limited campaign donations, at best. The right to vote is the majority’s only voice to oppose the designs of determined, activist billionaire reactionaries.
The right to vote is the essential right of democracy, in a government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. It can take millions of us casting votes to express our combined wishes to overcome the will of a handful of super-wealthy individuals, their identities secret, spending limitless, anonymous, tax-deductible dough to influence elections, to lobby and buy the Sinemas, Manchins, McConnells and their ilk.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse describes the electoral game, tirelessly and cleverly rigged by right-wing billionaires and their hired political operatives and other hirelings to secretly wield undemocratic influence on a mass scale.
Whitehouse ends his speech talking about the dark money funded “Honest Elections Project,” a corporate entity created solely to influence elections. The Honest Elections Project exercised $45,000,000 in 100% anonymous free speech prior to the 2020 elections. No individuals are associated with this gigantic influence machine because all identities are legally laundered through 501(c)(3) Donors’ Trust, which also makes their political gifts tax deductible. Here’s Whitehouse:
Somebody wrote [The Honest Elections Project] a $19,000,000 check to suppress votes.
Folks, if we don’t get to the bottom of this we’re going to have a real problem on our hands, and when we get to the bottom of this, the American public will be with us because they hate this stuff.
You can be a Bernie Bro or you can be a Tea Partier, you can disagree on everything. and you agree that big dark money corruption has no place in American democracy.
Hard to argue with any of that (hence the filibuster, which silences all debate). The whole presentation is well worth taking in.