The former President Barack Obama reemerged on Wednesday to attack Republicans for their redistricting efforts, claiming that “the stakes could not be higher” for democracy.
While appearing at a virtual fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Obama whined that state legislatures led by Republicans are “passing laws designed to prevent American citizens from exercising their right to vote. And drawing congressional maps that drown out the voice of ordinary people.”
Though Obama admitted that redistricting is important for a country that is changing, he complained about the way Republicans are doing it.
“Rather than argue, based on ideas, they are trying to tilt the playing field,” Obama said, according to CNN. “And they aren’t even waiting for election day to do it. Their plan is to control state legislatures and congressional delegations before a single vote is cast. That is not how democracy is supposed to work.”
Obama went on to lament that the lack of federal voting right legislation is “frustrating” for him.
“I know voting rights legislation in Congress hasn’t moved as quickly as any one of us would have liked,” he said. “And when democracy is being threatened by one party, it’s frustrating to see the world’s greatest deliberative body deliberating instead of voting.”
Of course, Obama had nothing but praise for Democrat leaders, saying that they are “continuing to work on a plan to get this done.”
“I never bet against (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi. (Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer is committed to this. President (Joe) Biden is committed to this, making this work,” Obama said. “So we’ve still got some work to do, but I still believe there is a path for making real progress in getting this voting rights law done and also making sure that the redistricting process concludes in a way that ensure fairness, and reduces partisanship and polarization.”
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee claims on its website that it has “leveled the playing field” with Republicans on redistricting by “backing litigation, supporting reforms, and electing fair-map Democrats.” Last night’s event also included speeches from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Attorney General Eric Holder, according to WRAL.
“We’re in – and I don’t say this lightly. […] but I think it’s accurate,” Holder claimed at the fundraiser. “We’re in the midst of an attack on our democracy not seen since the Jim Crow era. And we got to fight back. Now the NDRC, we’re doing our part to create a level playing field to take the power of redistricting out of the hands of politicians so that our elections can be based on who has the best ideas, and not who was in charge of drawing the lines.”