President Joe Biden recently addressed a crowd of thousands of people on a side of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, named for a reputed Ku Klux Klan leader, where he spoke about the importance of voting protection. During his speech, Biden brought forth images of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday” and the civil rights movement, noting its importance in the country’s history.
He added that the “right to vote” “is the threshold of democracy and liberty.” However, he said that this right is being attacked as the “conservative Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act over the years.” He continued to say that ever since the 2020 election and the “Big Lie” there have been many anti-voting laws and there are “election deniers now elected to office.”
In 2020 during his presidential campaign, Biden had promised to push for legislation that would protect voting rights, however, his 2021 legislation failed to win the 60 votes necessary to pass through the Senate. The legislation would require transparency from the campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to back political causes anonymously.
With the Republicans being in control of the House now, the legislation is unlikely to reach the Senate again. Biden pointed towards this stating that they needed to “get the votes in Congress.” However, currently, there is no pathway for that to happen.
The event in Selma was an opportunity for Biden to directly address civil rights activists who might have previously felt disappointed about the progress on voting rights.