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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Roll Call: Opinion: David Hawkings: Could Steve Scalise Shepherd a Rewrite of the Voting Rights Act?

Roll Call: Opinion: David Hawkings: Could Steve Scalise Shepherd a Rewrite of the Voting Rights Act?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Do I think House Republicans especially the House Republican Leadership will see the Steve Scalise situation as an opportunity to reach out to African-Americans and tell them that they care about their issues and are listening to them. And will say “we now support the Voting Rights Act and want to see it extended”. In one word, no because the House GOP especially listens to the Tea Party and their Far-Right that is part of the Tea Party. That favors states rights and they believe that states even have the right deny people the vote even based on race.

If there’s anything done on voting rights in the 114th Congress that is a Republican Congress, the first one since 2005-06, it will happen in the Republican Senate. Because there is bipartisan support for a Voting Rights Act extension. The question is of of course will Senate Leader Mitch McConnell bring it up or not. I really doubt it and don’t believe he even believes in the VRA and already has plenty on his plate as far as what he wants to accomplish in this Congress.

Now in a perfect world, sure why not if you’re a Republican especially in your leadership in Congress either in the House or Senate, or you have big role on the Senate or House Judiciary Committee’s, why not use the Scalise situation to reach out to African-Americans and say “I support voting rights for all Americans, regardless of race, even at the federal level and support an extension of the VRA”. Especially if you also just happen to be running for president in 2016 and perhaps are not even in Congress right now.

If you’re thinking long-term as a Republican and you’re lets say a big-tent establishment Republican and you even support voting rights ideologically, someone like a Jeb Bush, extending the VRA is a no-brainer. Because you believe its good policy and you know the current situation of your party as it relates to minority Americans, especially African and Latino. But again those aren’t the people who run the GOP in Congress, the big-tenters if you will. It’s still the Tea Party and Far-Right, as well as the growing conservative libertarian wing of the GOP that doesn’t support the VRA.