Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

VP Kamala Harris introduces the DNC's "I Will Vote" plan.

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on the Democratic National Committee's get-out-the-vote strategy at Howard University on July 8, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DNC Strategy Denounced as 'Clueless and Depressing' Amid GOP Assault on Voting Rights

"Just consider gerrymandering, which could determine control of the House for a decade," said voting rights expert Michael Li. "Hard to 'organize' out of that."

Julia Conley

"Clueless and depressing" was how one voting rights expert described the Democratic National Committee's Thursday announcement of a new $25 million plan to invest in get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of the 2022 midterm elections—an effort that critics said the Biden administration appeared to be treating as an alternative to passing voting rights legislation like the For the People Act.

The "I Will Vote" plan, unveiled by Vice President Kamala Harris at Howard University, conveyed little understanding of the fact that "we stand at an inflection point about whether we can be a multiracial democracy or not," said Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program, who highlighted the Republican Party's concerted voter suppression efforts across the country.

"There is a faction within the White House that thinks the best way to respond to voter suppression laws is not to fix the laws, but to get big donors to fund a giant GOTV operation."
—Ryan Grim, The Intercept

According to the Brennan Center, 17 states have enacted 28 new laws restricting voting rights so far this year, with dozens more expected to pass in Republican-led legislatures. Newly passed laws include bans on curbside voting, restrictions on absentee voting, termination of Election Day registration in Montana, and purges of voter rolls—voter suppression tactics which won't be countered by encouraging Democratic voters to show up at the polls, Li and other critics said.

Last month, the White House enlisted the help of Silicon Valley executive Reid Harrison, who hosted a virtual fundraiser for the DNC's initiative. 

"There is a faction within the White House that thinks the best way to respond to voter suppression laws is not to fix the laws, but to get big donors to fund a giant GOTV operation," said Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Intercept. 

Engaging with voters is "all fine and good," added Grim, "But if you do that instead of passing a voting rights law, what you're saying is that the GOP was right, that it was never about democracy reform or voting rights, it was only about winning."

The $25 million investment by the Democratic National Committee will go toward digital and TV ads explaining how to register to vote, social media partnerships to highlight the accomplishments of President Joe Biden and the Democrats, and technology to identify and contact voters affected by voter suppression laws—none of which will help the party to overcome the GOP's redistricting efforts, which the Brennan Center says are rampant across the South.

"Just consider gerrymandering, which could determine control of the House for a decade," tweeted Li from his personal account. "Hard to 'organize' out of that."

In an analysis he authored in February, Li said seven states—Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama—are at high or very high risk for partisan gerrymandering, which the For the People Act would ban as well as strengthening voting protections in communities of color.

"I would have [the Biden administration] de-emphasize the infrastructure bill to prioritize voting rights," said Li. "But since that doesn't seem likely, they could be more engaged on legislation instead of just making anodyne statements. And stop pretending that organizing is a substitute."

Other progressives echoed Li and Grim's concerns on social media, calling on the White House to focus on pushing to abolish the filibuster, passing the For the People Act, and restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, a key part of which was rendered inoperable in the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County vs. Holder.

Both Biden and Harris have expressed support for the For the People Act, but the White House's push to pass the legislation has paled in comparison to efforts to generate public support and reach a deal on Biden's infrastructure proposal.

"Why stump for roads and bridges but not democracy?" said Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible. "Both require 50 votes. If the bully pulpit works on infrastructure, why not democracy?"

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Hanging Your Constituents Out to Dry': 5 Sinema Advisers Quit in Protest

"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people."

Brett Wilkins ·

Leaked Docs Reveal Fossil Fuel-Soaked Nations Lobbying to Sabotage Climate Action

"They are using every opportunity to protect their corporate interests and continue with business as usual while the planet burns."

Andrea Germanos ·

Big Pharma, Rich Nations Have Delivered Just 14% of Vaccine Doses Promised to Poor Nations

"It is painfully clear that the developing world cannot rely on the largesse and charity of rich nations and pharmaceutical companies, and hundreds of thousands of people are dying from Covid-19 as a result."

Julia Conley ·

Sinema Shatters Democrats' Plan to Raise Corporate Tax Rate

Although "all of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda can be paid for by fairer taxes on the wealthy and corporations," noted Americans for Tax Fairness, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's refusal to support tax hikes on the rich could kill the bill.

Kenny Stancil ·

AOC Warns That Corporate Lobbyists Would Love People to 'Give Up Before the Deal Is Done'

"It's way easier for them to try to get away with the things that they're lobbying for and against if people at home aren't watching," said the New York Democrat

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo