MSNBC Asks: Is It Shocking People Don’t Accept Our ‘Voting Rights’ Narrative?

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that asks whether Alabama is obligated under the Voting Rights Act to create a second majority-black congressional district given the state’s racial demographics. For, MSNBC the answer so self-evident that Chris Jansing asked former Obama speechwriter Cody Keenan if a Wall Street Journal editorial arguing the opposite “shocks you.”

Keenan was just one member of a panel that believes that the Alabama case is yet another test of whether or not America remains a democracy. After Jansing read from the Journal’s editorial that argued the case is more just a partisan squabble over redistricting, she asked him, “I mean, It’s like this huge chasm. On one side, you have it’s a dust up and the other, the right to vote, critical to our democracy, is at stake and you write specifically about Selma, about John Lewis, about the fight for voting rights. And I wonder if it shocks you where we are right now.”

Instead of presupposing the case is so straightforward, the correct question would have been why liberals treat every case as some great threat to civil rights and democracy or even why the Journal was supposedly wrong.   

As for Keenan, who was on to promote his new book, he replied, “It shocks me where we are, but we’ve also been here before several times throughout our history. The prologue of the book talks about the Selma speech where President Obama laid out that thesis where you were talking about– he went down there on the 50th anniversary of people who were poor and powerless and overwhelmingly black, getting their heads beaten in just because they’re there to march for the right to vote and what can be more American that.”

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Jansing did not interject to point out that the right to vote is not under threat in Alabama as Keenan continued, “You know, instead of talking about this side said this or this side said that, you say the right to vote is sacred for everybody and there’s one thing that ties together everything we’ve been talking about today… MAGA Republicans are actively trying to suppress people who vote for Democrats and consolidate power on their own so they can do whatever they want.”

Again, Jansing did not correct the record on the voter suppression claim. Nor did she point out that it actually does matter what the two side say in their arguments. This is a court case that if it goes against MSNBC’s wishes, will be used by the Keenan and the network to tarnish the Court’s image and promote more conspiracy theories about voter suppression.

Instead, Jansing moved on to the book’s contents and how Keenan would’ve responded had the Obamacare and same-sex marriage cases gone the other way.

This segment was sponsored by Subway.

Here is a transcript for the October 4 show:

MSNBC Chris Jansing Reports

10/4/2022

1:23 PM ET

CHRIS JANSING: Cody, there was a Wall Street Journal editorial board—editorial today, it said “the controversy looks less like a battle over minority votes righting and a typical partisan dust up over district lines [and voting rights]. The [Voting Rights Act] was intended as a shield to protect minority voting rights, but it has evolved into a sword to advance the interests of the established political parties.”

I mean, It’s like this huge chasm. On one side, you have it’s a dust up and the other, the right to vote, critical to our democracy, is at stake and you write specifically about Selma, about John Lewis, about the fight for voting rights. And I wonder if it shocks you where we are right now. 

CODY KEENAN: It shocks me where we are, but we’ve also been here before several times throughout our history. The prologue of the book talks about the Selma speech where President Obama laid out that thesis where you were talking about– he went down there on the 50th anniversary of people who were poor and powerless and overwhelmingly black, getting their heads beaten in just because they’re there to march for the right to vote and what can be more American that.

You know, instead of talking about this side said this or this side said that, you say the right to vote is sacred for everybody and there’s one thing that ties together everything we’ve been talking about today whether it’s the so-called Oath Keepers trying to prevent the presidential count from happening, whether it’s the Wolverines in Michigan trying to kidnap a Democratic governor, whether it’s this case. MAGA Republicans are actively trying to suppress people who vote for Democrats and consolidate power on their own so they can do whatever they want. 

JANSING: We only have a minute left, but this book is really about an intense ten-day period and, I mean, it was intense, including when you were awaiting Supreme Court decisions on same-sex is marriage and Obamacare and you asked yourself a few key questions: “what if in just days the Supreme Court set the movements for universal health care and LGBTQ equality back years. What would those decisions tell the world about who we were? What would those decisions tell America about who we were? What would I write if that happened?” What would you write now?

KEENAN: I’d write a lot of the same thing I wrote before. I mean, all the events in this book that happened in those 10 days whether it was the racist shooting in Charleston or the Supreme Court deciding whether or not gay Americans are second-class citizens or can get married like the rest of us, whether or not working Americans deserve health care, the whole thing about this this country is it comes back to this contest to determine the true meaning of America. 

Does everybody matter? Are we all equal? Who gets to decide this? And right now, you’ve got people taking it into their own hands to try to decide it. What really matters is everybody showing up at the ballot box every single election and really just voting overwhelmingly to say that these things are wrong and our ideals are right. 

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