United States: Risk of democratic involution in the US | Opinion

Kamala Harris attends the media in the United States Senate.
Kamala Harris attends the media in the United States Senate.MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EFE

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The democracy of the United States is experiencing a battle over its very essence, the right to universal suffrage, which not in advance ceases to be transcendental for the medium-term future of the confidence of that country, and the rest of the world, in the reliability of their institutions. In the first half of this year, 18 states with Republican majorities in their legislatures have passed laws designed to make it difficult to vote. Legislation to reduce the number of polling places, or the hours to do it, or toughen the requirements to register can only be described as democratic involution of the first order: politicians trying to stop people from voting, simply.

The last presidential elections of 2020, and especially those of the Senate in Georgia, set off all the alarms among Republicans. With a reliable and systematized mobilization of the vote in poor and black neighborhoods of the big cities, the Democrats have turned the southern state around. The same dynamic occurs in Arizona with the Mexican American vote. In just four years of Trumpism, two solidly Republican states have voted for a Democratic president and have their four Democratic senators. The conclusion drawn by the establishment Republican is not that he should change his policies, but that the advance of the urban vote and of minorities poses an existential threat that they need to stop at all costs.

Faced with this situation, the Biden Administration has taken a major first step by presenting a federal law that imposes on the States an ambitious defense and expansion of voting facilities. The law died on Tuesday, just breathing the toxic air of the Senate chamber of the US Republicans blocked the process with the procedural tactic of filibustering, which de facto imposes the need for 60 votes to pass laws. Tuesday’s defeat places Democrats in the face of their parliamentary weakness, evidence that 50 seats are not enough to pass their ambitious agenda. Thus, the Senate’s procedural rules are the next great battle for which Democrats are preparing public opinion.

“This fight is far from over,” President Biden promised after the Senate vote. “Democracy itself” is at stake, he added. It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. The battle to expand voting rights is as old as American democracy, it is framed in the struggle for civil rights, and advances in this area are recognized today as great moments in the history of the Republic. This is one of them. But this time the challenge does not lie in the deficiencies of the system, but in the threat of involution by a Republican Party that feels harmed by these advances.