We all heard the news about Joe Manchin. It was frustrating to see. His stand against the For the People Act because no Republicans are on board is simply disappointing. Our team has been grappling with what it means for our organizing and our advocacy all week.
Here’s what I know: The path isn’t closed. We can and we will keep pressuring the Senate to protect and expand our freedom to vote. In fact, this fight has just begun.
When we look back at the history of American democracy, we have to acknowledge that progress wasn’t only hard fought — it took time. It took decades of courage, effort, and tireless organizing, sweat, and suffering by regular people — especially by folks of color — to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Following the political drama surrounding Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema can make it feel like progress is not possible. But it’s moments like this when we need to act. The Senate will be voting on the For the People Act the week of June 21st and we are as little as one vote and an arcane Senate rule away from passing the most transformative democracy bill since the first Voting Rights Act — which also faced filibusters and monumental political opposition. (You’ll hear more from us later on about why we also still need a new Voting Rights Act.)
This is the moment we can put our senators on the record about where they stand: with their constituents or against us. In favor of protecting our democracy, or reinforcing Trump’s lies about our elections and who is worthy of participating in our democracy.
Our freedom to vote is under threat because there are still too many people in this country who believe our democracy should only benefit the white and the wealthy. For the past few months we have seen Republican-controlled state legislatures use every tactic under the sun to suppress the right to vote, from slashing early voting periods to attacking mail-in ballots. There is nothing accidental about this crisis.
The goal has always been to consolidate conservative power by any means necessary, including suppressing the vote of communities of color.
We don’t know the exact shape this fight will take over the next few weeks and months, but this is what we know for sure: Very soon, senators will be forced to take a stand publicly on expanding and protecting voting rights. Our job is to pressure them to do the right thing, and, if they don’t, hold them accountable for failing to protect our democracy.
So what can you do right now? Take a moment to rest if you need it, but then get ready to make phone calls, send emails, and attend rallies so that every senator hears us loud and clear. We are watching how they vote and we need them to get this done.