Former Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards warned during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC that changes in voting laws sponsored by Republicans in dozens of states could seriously cost Democrats seats in the House and Senate. She calls for national legislation to make sure voting rights are upheld:
MSNBC HOST: Well, and Donna Edwards, this political stalemate on voting rights legislation is because Congressional Republicans blocked it and the reality is reforming the filibuster doesn't seem like an actual possibility with the votes in the Senate. What can the president actually do here?
DONNA EDWARDS: Well, you know, for Democrats, I mean, it is both a moral crisis of, you know, black voters, minority voters being really shut out of the process, but it also means that it's a political crisis for Democrats. These rules and restrictive rules that have put in place in the state are such that it could really cost Democrats seats in the House and the Senate and that is how serious it is, and so I think that there's going to have to be a level of urgency raised by the White House, by the president, by the vice president around the country both inside and outside strategy that is going to lift up the need to do voting rights, not in a year or down the line, but right now and I don't know that I've seen that urgency yet.
I hope that I've seen it coming out of the white house from this meeting today, but some of these Democrats just have to get on board and Republicans are not going to come on board. We know that. So let's stop existing in that fantasy world and get down to the business of passing legislation that is going to make it easier and not more difficult for voters to cast their votes come the following election.
MSNBC HOST: What do you think the White House could say to Joe Manchin to convince him to change his mind?
DONNA EDWARDS: Well, I mean -- look, I think that Joe Manchin also has some priorities, and you know, if it's sitting down with him and asking what are the tools you need to accept in order to move voting rights forward. Let's sit down and negotiate, but the president will have to use the weight of both the bully pulpit around the country, but also the weight of the White House through the vice president, if that's the strategy to begin to lean on these senators.
It is really not acceptable anymore. Black voters make up the base of the Democratic Party. They are loyal voters. They show up at the polls and this White House and this House and Senate cannot continue to let those voters down by not curtailing what's happening in these states and it can be done at the federal level and it's not just up to the courts. We've seen that. It's not just up to the Department of Justice. What is happening requires a national strategy, national legislation to make sure that these voting rights are upheld.