Jim Chrisinger: Today, as in 1965 and in every Voting Rights Act reauthorization vote, Republican senators have to choose.
For more than five decades, voting rights in America enjoyed strong, bipartisan support. Now Republicans have turned their backs.
The Voting Rights Act originally passed in 1965, led by President Lyndon Johnson, who had built his political career as a get-along go-along ally of Southern segregationists.
The final vote in the House was 328–74 (Democrats 217–54, Republicans 111–20). The Senate passed it 79–18 (Democrats 49–17, Republicans 30–1). Much of the opposition came from Southern Democrats.
Bipartisan majorities in Congress reauthorized the act five times, most recently in 2006. The votes were not close. Even Senator Strom Thurmond, famous segregationist and 1948 Dixiecrat presidential candidate, came to support the Voting Rights Act.Continue Reading...