(UnitedVoice.com) – In Washington, DC, it’s rare when a Democrat sides with his or her constituents when their voices collide with party leadership. Yet, surprisingly, one did just that earlier this week. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was the only Democratic to vote “no” and side with the GOP against HR 1, also known as the ” For the People Act.” Perhaps it was a good move on the Congressman’s part?
In 2010, constituents expressed their deep displeasure with a Democratic plan to push through Obamacare on a party-line vote. Elected Democrats refused to listen. In 2012, the GOP won a historic landslide in the House. It wasn’t until 2018 that Democrats took back the House. However, in 2020, Republicans didn’t lose a single House seat and picked up enough to give Democrats the smallest majority in nearly a century. Last month, the GOP said it was targeting 47 vulnerable Democrats, though Thompson isn’t one of them.
Democrats Try to Change Voting in Their Favor
HR 1 is a radical plan designed to stifle attempts by state GOP legislatures from tightening election laws that would make it harder to commit election fraud through the mail. Instead of conducting federal elections at the state level, Democrats want to centralize elections under federal control.
Additionally, the legislation would make instant voter registration without proof or verification easier. It would also take away state legislatures’ Constitutional right to create congressional districts. The proposal is highly controversial, and legal debate exists about Congress’ authority under Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution. Under the proposed law, the federal government would also establish a new public financing system for federal elections and expand censorship of congressional campaigns as well as political speech.
Thompson’s Constituents Object
Thompson’s vote “no” was a surprise. He was a co-sponsor of the legislation. However, he said he couldn’t go against his constituents’ wishes, and they weren’t open to the election overhaul. So, he decided to stand with them instead of the Democratic Party.
Thompson said there were two provisions that his district opposed. The first was stripping redistricting from states and giving it to a federal commission that doesn’t know the districts or their needs. The second was the public finance system, whereby the government would add a 6:1 public fund match for candidates.
It was a rare moment of congressional representation over partisan politics. Should we expect to see more in the coming days? Don’t bank on it. Democrats rarely go against their party leadership.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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