Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder encouraged Democrats to protest in favor of voting rights by taking to the streets and getting arrested.
“Power cedes nothing without a demand,” Holder told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday night. “We too often underestimate the power that we have as regular American citizens by marching, by protesting, by raising our voices. If we make our voices known, if we demand the kind of change, the fair change that we’re seeking, I think it will help in the process.”
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“It’s not going to probably move Republicans,” Holder continued. “On the other hand, Democrats are going to have to think to themselves, ‘do I want to be seen as the person who James Eastland…those people before, who stood against the passage of [the] Civil Rights bill–do I want to have that as my legacy?’ In raising the consciousness of people, by demonstrating, by getting arrested, by doing the things that ended segregation.”
The former attorney general compared the current Democratic push to fight laws aimed at strengthening election integrity to the fight against “American apartheid” in the 1950s.
“If you asked people in the 1950s, ‘do you think marching, demonstrating is going to bring down a system of American apartheid?’ You probably would have said, ‘that’s just not gonna happen.’ And we should not lose faith right now. Citizens can make a change. Citizens need to be in the streets. Citizens need to be demonstrating, citizens need to be calling representatives to demand the time of change that will make this country more representative, make our democracy more fair.”
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Democrats across the country have been pushing back against Republican efforts to strengthen election laws, most notably in Texas and Georgia. Republicans say this effort aims to combat voter fraud.
Last month, a group of Democratic Texas lawmakers fled the state capital and flew to Washington, D.C., in order to block the legislature from voting on a bill that would have dialed back certain voting methods implemented during the coronavirus pandemic, including drive-thru voting and overnight voting.
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In Georgia earlier this year, President Joe Biden joined other prominent Democrats in calling for Major League Baseball to move its All-Star game out of the state to protest an election integrity law passed by Republicans. The league ultimately heeded the advice and moved the game to Denver, Colorado.