Whew! Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trending on Twitter and facing major backlash for his comments yesterday. The Kentucky Republican spoke to reporters after Democrats could not move the ‘Freedom to Vote’ aka John R. Lewis Act to the Senate floor. Democrats in the Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill over the Republican filibuster.
A reporter asked Mitch McConnell to share a message to voters in minority communities. Specifically, those concerned that voting restrictions being enacted in many states will keep them from the ballot box without new federal laws. In a response that some called disgusting, Senate Leader McConnell said, “The concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.” WLKY reports that studies indicate that voting restrictions, like those passed by 19 states in the past year, disproportionately impact voters of color.
The folks on Twitter have been going off all day about the comments. One person tweeted, “I don’t know who needs to hear this (Mitch McConnell), but African-Americans are Americans.” Even public officials have called out McConnell. One being, Democratic Illinois congressman Bobby Rush. In a tweet, he wrote, “African Americans ARE Americans. #MitchPlease ”
Voting now is more important than ever. It’s why the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would have made Election Day a national holiday to ensure access to early voting and mail-in ballots. This method of voting has become especially popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also enable the Justice Department to intervene in states with a history of voter interference, among other changes. Roommates, what are your thoughts on Mitch McConnell’s comments?
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