Following his description of the For the People Act as “Jim Crow 2.0”, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has been subjected to backlash from news anchors for his casual reference to the racialized history of voter suppression.
During a Tuesday Senate markup hearing over the S.1, Cruz repeatedly called the For the People Act, Democrats’ flagship voting rights and democracy reform bill, “Jim Crow 2.0”. MSNBC’s Joy Reid, CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo have since attacked Ted Cruz for his comparison between S.1 and the laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Reid described Cruz’s comments as “beyond offensive”, while Cuomo said Cruz “owns the mantle” of bigotry “because he stands for laws that are nothing but discriminatory based on class, face and place.”
The House approved the For the People Act by a vote of 220 to 210 in March, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. The bill would overhaul government ethics and campaign finance laws, and seek to strengthen voting rights by creating automatic voter registration and expanding access to early and absentee voting. It also includes some measures that would require states to overhaul their registration systems, limit states’ ability to remove people from voter rolls, increase federal funds for election security and reform the redistricting process. The move seeks to counter voter suppression measures being imposed in Republican-led states in response to ex-President Donald Trump’s false claims of voting fraud.
The legislation has, however, been met with backlash from Republicans who have argued that the bill is a naked power grab, and voted down an amendment that would have made several changes to the legislation based on feedback from state and local election officials.