Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to a Democratic plan that would make voting a federal holiday, and in doing so, he took a cheap shot at the same government workers he held hostage during the record-long shutdown that ended last week.
“This is the Democrat plan to restore democracy? A brand-new week of paid vacation for every federal employee who would like to hover around while you cast your ballot?” McConnell said on Wednesday.
He added, “Just what America needs, another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid to go out and work for I assume … our colleagues on the other side, on their campaigns.”
After hundreds of thousands of federal workers spent more than a month doing work without pay, it’s amusing to hear McConnell – the same man who joined Trump in denying 800,000 workers their paychecks – whine about these employees getting paid time off so they can participate in American democracy.
Making Election Day a holiday makes sense – if you want more Americans to vote
It should also be noted that Mitch McConnell‘s suggestion that making Election Day a holiday is a Democratic “power grab” is utter nonsense.
As Tara Golshan of Vox pointed out on Wednesday, most people who aren’t able to cast their ballot say it’s “because they had to work or get kids to school and didn’t have the time.”
There is no question that making voting day a national holiday would turn many non-voters into voters. But it’s for that very same reason that Republicans oppose it. They know that when turnout is higher, Democrats do better.
It’s why, in the face of major demographic changes across the country, the GOP isn’t trying to broaden its appeal; instead, Republicans are simply trying to restrict voting rights.
Mitch McConnell and his GOP henchman in Congress can attack federal workers or falsely accuse Democrats of a power grab all they want, but it’s clear why they oppose efforts to increase civic participation: They don’t want more people to vote.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.