Contributor to MSNBC Nation correspondent Elie Mystal has a reputation of spewing cockamamie claptrap, so it made sense on Sunday’s American VoicesWhen he revealed to host Alicia Menendez Senators Joe Manchin, (D-WV), and Kyrsten Sinema, (D-AZ), “are the white people that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about” as they’ve refused to kill the Senate filibuster to pass their party’s so-called voting rights agenda.
Following a clip of King’s granddaughter insisting the way to honor him would be to fight “repressive and suppressive voting rights laws,” Menendez — who’s the daughter of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) — invited Mystal to opine on “what…this moment tell us about ourselves” because “[r]ather than talk about how we expand access, we are fighting over the bare minimum.”
Mystal didn’t waste time in reminding us of why he’s a racial arsonist:
[T]he people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — these are the white people that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about. These are the white liberals who have no sense of urgency, commitment, or integrity when it comes to the progress of justice in the country and that’s just the — that’s just the fact. That is a lot of pressure.[.]
He added that people should recognize that “[t]he chief architect of this assault on voting rights” isn’t David Duke or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) but instead Chief Justice John Roberts due to his role in cases that dealt with the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), Rucho v. Common Cause2019 Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee (2021).
What does Mystal suggest to fix this? Although he supported Freedom to Vote Acts like the For the People Act, Mystal maintained that the real path to improving the Supreme Court would be to allow more progressives to the court. “[a]s long as you let Republicans control the Supreme Court, you cannot have a fair and equal, just society.”
Menendez lashed out at Mike Pence, former Vice President. DecriedDemocratic suggestions for voting “federal power grab over state elections” Where “[t]he truth is the real power grab is coming from Republicans at the state level, and it’s not just ballot access” but with “new laws to control the process of counting and certifying votes”So they can secure future elections.
Frequent CNN and MSNBC guest Latosha Brown of Black Votes Matter was also on hand and demanded Manchin and Sinema be made to “care” about their agenda and vote to enact it, adding the debate is reminder of the “need” for “structural change” in America in the form of making Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. states and packing the Supreme Court in order to truly become the country “laid out in the Constitution.”
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To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from January 16, click “expand.”
MSNBC’s American Voice with Alicia Menendez
January 16, 2022
Eastern, 7:01 pm
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Attack on Voting Rights; GOP Lawmakers Push to Control Elections Process]
ALICIA MENENDEZ: Meantime, in a column for The Washington Post, former Vice President Mike Pence accuses Democrats of attempting a, “federal power grab over state elections.” The truth is the real power grab is coming from Republicans at the state level, and it’s not just ballot access. New laws have been passed by GOP-controlled states to regulate the counting and certification of votes. Republicans have also used unfair district maps to reduce the power of black voters. Ari Berman with Mother Jones writes, “what can appear as a series of disconnected state-level skirmishes is in fact part of a national strategy that goes far beyond previous efforts to undermine democratic influence. Fueled by the Big Lie, this effort picks up where last year’s insurrection left off by putting in place the pieces to steal future elections by systematically taking over every aspect of the voting process.”
Eastern, 7:03 pm
LATOSHA BROWN: Yeah, I think what we have to do continue to put pressure — put pressure on her and others. I know there are people saying, “well, she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care what happens.” And we got to make her care, right? She is not the only one. This isn’t about Sinema and Manchin. While, both of them have been extremely disappointing, I think in many ways, they have been disingenuous, particularly talking about their support for voting rights or that — at one point, she voted for — she wanted — she said that — that John Lewis was her hero. She is now standing in his way of what he sacrificed so much for. She is a hypocrite, she is dishonest, she — and she lacks integrity, but I still think we need to hold her to account, account to the voters in Arizona. We have just moved from Arizona. People are very, very upset with her and we’re going to make sure we lift that voice in that process to let her know and I think that your path forward is not just we have to focus on — we have to focus on all of the Senate. It is important to pay attention only to the 16 Republican senators who voted in favor of the reauthorization. How has the country changed since then? We’ve got to hold them all to account.
Eastern, 7:06 PM
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Attack on Voting Rights; The GOP Assault on Democracy]
MENENDEZ – Eli, what can this moment teach us as citizens? We are not talking about access expansion, but we are fighting for the absolute minimum.
ELIE MYSTAL (Yes) Look, the people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — these are the white people that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about. These are the white liberals who have no sense of urgency, commitment, or integrity when it comes to the progress of justice in the country and that’s just the — that’s just the fact. I don’t know if they can live with themselves with that but that is — that is the reality of the situation. The other reality here — and — and Bernice, um, mentioned it in that clip. Mitch McConnell is not the chief architect behind this attack on voting rights. David Duke isn’t the chief architect of this assault on voting rights. It’s not whatever boogyman you think is hiding under the — under the — under the closet. Chief Justice John Roberts, the architect of this scheme is his chief. It’s he who is an enemy to voting rights and equality since his time in law school. His first job was to oppose amendments to the Voting Right Act 1982. It is John Roberts who authored Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, which eviscerated Section V of the Voting Rights Act, which is basically why we’re here right now. Rucho 2020, which opened the door to gerrymandering, was authored by John Roberts. John Roberts also provided the critical fifth vote last year in Brnovich’s decision that evicted Section II of The Voting Rights Act. This has all been done by Federalist Society conservatives that have been put on the Supreme Court and until we stop them — until we do something about the Court, you want to pass your Freedom to Vote Act? This bill is great. This bill should be approved. H.R. 1. But remember, John Roberts is waiting for the Supreme Court to reject any laws that we have proposed. You cannot have fair, equal and just society if Republicans hold the Supreme Court.
Eastern: 7:09 pm
BROWN: What we are seeing is all across the board, what they’re doing, they’re instituting it, um, on all levels. The local, the state, and the federal level which is why we need federal legislation, but as we think about going forward, that’s a short-term. That’s the short-term solver. In reality, we need to see structural changes in the country. It is time to reconsider the Supreme Court. Expanding the Supreme Court is a good idea. It is important that we ensure that the Senate is representative of all citizens. This means D.C. must have statehood in order for Puerto Rico statehood. What is the point of expecting representation to tax? And so, we’ve got to really understand that in order for us to have the kind of democracy that’s laid out in the Constitution, we are going to have to have real, systemic, and structural change in this country.