Nov 10, 2021
For more than 300 million Americans currently facing "electile dysfunction," the grassroots campaign group RepresentUs on Wednesday released a digital ad urging sufferers to get help for their "flaccid democracy," "premature capitulation," and trouble maintaining a "strong coalition."
In a parody of ubiquitous ads for medications that treat erectile dysfunction, the group released the video to call on voters to push the U.S. Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA) --the compromise voting rights bill which would outlaw partisan gerrymandering, make Election Day a national holiday, and implement automatic voter registration. In order to achieve that, the ad also calls for an immediate end of the filibuster which has kept the legislation from being passed.
"I get all excited about a new bill," says one actor in the parody ad.
"The debate gets all hot and heated," adds a woman.
"We'll move things to the floor," says another man, whose partner adds, "And right when we're about to achieve a joint resolution... bam."
"Total government shutdown," the man continues grimly.
Actor and progressive advocate Mark Ruffalo is among those who appear in the video--complaining that "filibusting just doesn't feel good anymorer"--as well as Jake Johnson and Jonathan Scott of HGTV.
The video was released weeks after Senate Republicans blocked the chamber from voting on the Freedom to Vote Act, sparking intensified calls to reform or abolish the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate for legislation to be passed rather than a simple majority.
The bill was unveiled by Democrats in September after right-wing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposed the even farther-reaching For the People Act, which contained stricter automatic voter registration, anti-gerrymandering, and vote-by-mail provisions.
The country's democracy now depends on swift passage of the Freedom to Vote Act, said RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver.
"Our democracy is ailing. Lobbyists write our laws, billionaires, and special interests buy politicians, and gerrymandering rigs our elections by allowing politicians to pick their own voters," said Silver. "This bill is a game-changer and we encourage the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act by any means necessary."
In the parody ad, the actors express optimism upon learning about the FTVA.
"Now my election is rock solid," says Scott, "and it works everywhere."
"It used to take me forever to find the location...to vote," says another actor. "But with the FTVA we have all day to get to the polls."
The video ends with a warning that the FTVA "is only for democracies healthy enough for electoral activity. Talk to your representative if you are experiencing greased palms, lined pockets, dictators, neo-fascists, or other pre-existing conditions, as you may not be healthy enough for the FTVA."
"Passing the FTVA may cause an increase in being heard, power, a full expression of your inalienable rights, representation, and a rare federal condition called... accountability," the voiceover continues.
RepresentUs called on voters to demand that their senators pass the FTVA, warning that unfair redistricting maps "could be in place for the next decade" if the legislation isn't passed by the Senate.
"Every American deserves satisfying elections," said Silver. "The Freedom to Vote Act is a can't-miss opportunity to bring the excitement back to our democracy."
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