Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) set the tone for his party’s reaction to Democratic accusations of voter suppression Tuesday, railing against MLB’s decision to move the All Star Game out of Atlanta as “economic terrorism.”
MLB announced that it’d be moving the game earlier this month following Governor Brian Kemp’s (R) signing of a restrictive voting bill. Republicans have been furious ever since. Grassley also seemed to make a gaffe, claiming that the MLB’s decision cost Georgia “100 million jobs.”
Grassley also mentioned a state senator losing his job at a law firm because he backed restrictive voter legislation, a seeming reference to state Sen. John Albers (R) who has said he’s a victim of “cancel culture.”
“When partisans and companies collude to ruin the livelihoods of their opponents, there’s a term for that: it’s economic terrorism,” Grassley intoned.
Grassley followed Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), who, aided by a video montage of civil rights leaders, likened the new wave of restrictive voting laws from GOP-led state legislatures to the Jim Crow era.
Grassley harrumphed at Durbin’s argument, calling it an insult to minorities who suffered during Jim Crow at the hands of “southern Democrats.”
He also brought up the contested election in Iowa’s second district, a favorite GOP talking point to accuse Democrats of trying to steal an election. The Democrat in the case, Rita Hart, dropped her challenge amid the Republican pressure campaign.
The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, called “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” comes as pressure intensifies on Democrats in the chamber to pass HR1, a collection of democracy reforms that includes measures to expand ballot access. Democrats have become increasingly fixated on passing the legislation, while state Republicans push a slew of restrictive laws as blowback to the high-turnout 2020 election and former President Trump’s lies about it. Currently, the filibuster ensures that the Senate won’t pass the bill.
Republicans have dismissed the Democratic anger as hysteria, with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Tuesday calling the entire hearing “performance art.”