Kamala Harris warned Sunday that November’s midterm elections will determine whether the “eternal sanctity” of U.S. voting rights is protected or whether “so-called extremist leaders across the country” continue to restrict access to the ballot box.
With only 56 days left before the election, and with a negligible Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, the vice president said “everything is at stake in this election.”
In an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press, she said the country is facing a growing threat from domestic extremism.
“I think it’s very dangerous and I think it’s very harmful and it makes us weaker,” she said.
Harris pointed to a host of extreme election opponents, many supported by Donald Trump, who accepted Trump’s lie that the 2020 election won by Joe Biden was “stolen” from him.
Many of them Biden recently slammed as the “Magical Republicans” after Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan received Republican nominations for statewide positions that control election administration.
If they had won in November, they could have had significant power in both the state elections and the 2024 presidential election.
“Now there are 11 people running for Secretary of State, the guardians of the integrity of the voting system in their state, who deny the election,” Harris said. “Pair this with people in some of the highest elected positions in our country who refuse to condemn insurrection on the January 6“.
She said the “eternal sanctity” – the right to vote – was violated in response to Biden’s victory, when Americans turned out to vote in unprecedented numbers, often by mail or box, which helped increase access. “I think it scared some people that Americans were voting in such large numbers,” she said.
Congressional attempts to strengthen voting rights have so far been blocked by the obstruction of the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass most laws.
Harris said that if Democrats increase their Senate majority in the interim, Biden will lift the filibuster specifically for voting rights legislation. He could then pass a stalled voting rights law that strengthens democratic guarantees.
“We need protection so that every American, whoever they vote for, has a seamless opportunity to do so when it is otherwise their right,” she said.
On Sunday morning, Harris and a second gentleman, her husband Doug Emhoff, joined the commemoration ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York to celebrate the anniversary al-Qaeda attacks in the United States that killed 2,977 people.
The vice president traditionally did not speak, but in an interview with NBC aired, she also mentioned that America’s reputation as a world model of democracy is under threat.
She cited challenges from the right to electoral integrity, including the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to undo the defeat of Donald Trump, and the reluctance of extremist Republicans to denounce it, as well as fielding many candidates in the current election who continue to refuse to accept the true outcome. .
And she added that when meeting with foreign leaders, the United States “has historically had the honor and privilege of holding its head high as a defender and example of a great democracy. And then it gives us the legitimacy and position to talk about the importance of democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights… in the process of what we’ve been through, we start to allow people to question our commitment to these principles. And that’s a shame.”