McConnell to colleague Bret Baier: If I were the president, I don't think I'd have a two hour press conference again.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 21, 2022
Yeah, because #MinorityLeader ‘Speed Bump’ McConnell can’t even manage a ten-minute presser without stepping on his own… tongue:
In case you missed it, Mitch McConnell said the quiet part out loud last night: “African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”
Make sure everyone sees this.pic.twitter.com/ReOvHGJcnI
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) January 20, 2022
Philip Bump, at the Washington Post — “Awkward phrasing isn’t the only problem with his argument”:
Shortly after the Senate voted down a proposed change to filibuster rules — thereby dooming a Democratic push to implement federal voting standards — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other top Republicans held a brief news conference…
A reporter raised the most extreme version of concerns about that change to McConnell, referring to the legislation that would no longer move forward.
“What’s your message for voters of color who are concerned that without the John L. Lewis Voting Rights Act they’re not going to be able to vote in the midterm?” he asked.
McConnell replied, “Well, the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”…
“A recent survey, 94 percent of Americans thought it was easier to vote,” he continued. “This is not a problem. Turnout is up, biggest turnout since 1900. It’s simply — they’re being sold a bill of goods.”
The point about turnout being up significantly in 2020 is true. This was the same point President Biden made during his news conference on Wednesday, that turnout had been so high even without new federal rules, which he presented as a reason for some optimism. But this ignores a crucial point: Turnout was that high because voting access was expanded in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With more states implementing the sorts of changes that the Democratic proposal would standardize — and, of course, with a hyperpolarizing incumbent on the ballot — turnout was up.
The concern expressed by Democrats is that there has been a backlash to the 2020 turnout that manifests in those new voting laws. Nineteen states passed new laws scaling back voting access. Sometimes those were efforts to unwind new policies that had been implemented for the pandemic. Often, they were broader. The entire point is that the 2020 benchmark provoked a backlash. For McConnell to point to it as proof that the system is doing fine is like a kid trying to assure you he hadn’t broken a vase by pointing to its having been intact when he picked it up.
There’s a useful analogue here. When the Supreme Court decided to remove the preclearance provision from the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pointed to the lack of a racial disparity in turnout as a reason to do so. He described the law as having been “immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process” — and then used that success as a reason to upend the law. In a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg memorably compared this to “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
This is McConnell’s argument now. He’s telling non-White voters that because they didn’t get wet in 2020, there’s no need to bar [other] people from drilling holes in their roofs…
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) January 20, 2022
— Lakota Man (@LakotaMan1) January 20, 2022
I want to personally thank Mitch McConnell
He just mobilized the biggest African American voter turnout for Midterms
— A Black Woman..The End (@battletested5) January 20, 2022
McConnell is not a master of Senate procedure. Constant obstruction requires no skill, nor does hobbling the courts. He's either failed to pass legislation or moved through visionless bills. All while bolstered by the support of an increasingly homogeneous authoritarian caucus.
— Magdi Semrau (@magi_jay) January 20, 2022
Meanwhile, there is no evidence that McConnell had some cunning insight into Manchin & Sinema. He literally just did nothing & watched it all unfold. There's no tangled web here. Just a deeply immoral person who sat back & was rewarded by two people's pompous fecklessness. pic.twitter.com/qdfhJphvpI
— Magdi Semrau (@magi_jay) January 20, 2022