OUR UNFINISHED MARCH

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As Holder notes, we are in the midst of “a crisis unlike any we’ve faced since the signing of the Voting Rights Act [of 1965]: American democracy is on the brink of collapse.” Blame it on an intransigent GOP that has set up roadblocks to voting and installed gerrymandered safe districts across the country. Blame it on Barack Obama, too—or, better, attribute the GOP’s concerted efforts on the party’s fear of a Black president and determination never to let another Black candidate gain that office. At the same time, many GOP operatives are working not just to suppress minority votes, but also to ensure that the next coup succeeds, “rigging our democracy in their favor.” Like many critics, Holder, whose title derives from the civil rights march in Alabama that resulted in the Voting Rights Act, considers the Electoral College an enemy of democracy. He also finds fault in the superannuated, super-White, superwealthy Senate and in the “minoritarian rulings” of the Supreme Court, made possible in some measure because of the Republicans’ blocking of Merrick Garland’s appointment to the bench and subsequent installation of Amy Coney Barrett, “the kind of hypocrisy that makes the American people hate politics.” Holder writes critically, but he also offers a positive program for change that insists that only by popular actions, such as voter drives and demands for electoral fairness on the part of elected officials, will that change come. It can be done, he adds; part of the work is over the long haul, exemplified by the decades it took women to earn the right to vote, to say nothing of Black and Native American constituencies. Another part is the kind of direct action that recently forced the Texas legislature to withdraw the most retrograde provisions of a packet of voter-suppression measures.

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