President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi and Attorney General Holder Deliver Remarks at Virtual Fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, President Barack Obama joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, for a virtual fundraiser benefitting the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. They spoke to supporters about the importance of redistricting and voting rights legislation. The event was Obama’s first fundraiser since the 2020 election.
Attorney General Holder founded the National Democratic Redistricting Committee at President Obama’s direction in 2017 to combat the threat of partisan and racial gerrymandering ahead of the 2020 Census and 2021 redistricting cycle. The group has expanded the scope of its work to challenge voting and election restrictions that suppress the ability of voters to elect the representatives of their choice—a bedrock principle of its redistricting ethos.
Excerpts from remarks, as delivered:
“HR1 will save us from the over 400 bills that they had introduced, the other side has introduced, across the country, 400 bills. They haven’t passed them into law, but many have been passed into water, which must be negated by HR1. It would help us with redistricting, which is part of our purpose here, redistricting, doing it by commission, which will also empower small donors and amplify the voices of the grassroots as it changes the role of big, dark special interest money politics. For these and other reasons, we’re meeting some resistance in the Senate. But I’m not giving up on that. […] This isn’t about politics. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about patriotism.” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi
“We’re in – and I don’t say this lightly. […] but I think it’s accurate. We’re in the midst of an attack on our democracy not seen since the Jim Crow era. And we got to fight back. Now the NDRC, we’re doing our part to create a level playing field to take the power of redistricting out of the hands of politicians so that our elections can be based on who has the best ideas, and not who was in charge of drawing the lines.
“Over the last few years, we brought racial gerrymandering claims in the federal courts, we bought partisan gerrymandering cases in the state courts to push back against blatant efforts to disenfranchise our fellow Americans. We’ve supported reform efforts on ballots and in state legislatures to create independent citizen-led redistricting commissions. We’ve been successful in a number of states there. And we’ve also endorsed and invested in candidates committed to fairness, building support for our cause, from the ground up.
“Now, that work has brought results. Since we launched in 2017, we’ve broken republican trifecta control in nine states, including crucial states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We’ve supported seven winning state Supreme Court candidates in Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio.
[…] Now we’re committed, no matter what it takes, to helping get the For the People Act to President Biden’s desk so that he can sign it into law. It’s a necessary reform to protect the right to vote and to protect our democracy. – Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
“Here’s the bottom line: If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now, what we are going to see is more and more contested elections, contested not in the sense of healthy competition, but contested in terms of who wins, who loses. We are going to see a further delegitimizing of our democracy, and not only are we going to see more unfairness in terms of results and who is represented and who isn’t, but we are going to see a breakdown of the basic agreement that has held this magnificent democratic experiment together all these years.
“And the only thing that’s preventing that from happening is our sense of urgency and our willingness to do everything we can to prevent it. And that is going to require resources. That’s going to require people paying attention. It’s going to require public education. It’s going to require speaking out. I have every confidence that Nancy, working in conjunction with Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden, and others, and including people like Joe Manchin, are going to figure out a way in which there is an up and down vote on the For The People Act.
“But that’s only going to happen if we create an environment in which everybody knows what the stakes are, and that’s why support for NDRC is so absolutely vital.” – President Barack Obama