Jan 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden on midterms: "I think it could easily be illegitimate"

President Biden on Wednesday declined to say if the upcoming election would be fair and legitimate without voting rights reform.

Why it matters: Biden previously called Republicans' voting restrictions as an attack on democracy and emphasized that the forces behind the Jan. 6 insurrection could rise up again if voting rights legislation remains blocked.

What he's saying: Asked at a news briefing if he believes the election would be fair if Congress doesn't pass voting rights legislation, Biden said that "it all depends on whether or not we're able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election."

  • He noted, however, that "no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, I think you'll find them willing to stand in line and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote."
  • "It's going to be difficult. I make no bones about that," he added. "We've not run out of options yet. And we'll see how this moves."

Biden later said the upcoming 2022 midterms could "easily be illegitimate" when asked again about election outcomes.

  • "The prospect of an illegitimate [election] is in direct proportion to us being able to get these reforms passed, but I don't think ... you're going to see the Democratic Party give up on coming back."

He also acknowledged that Black voters' discontent with his slow pace on voting rights is a "problem that is my own making, not communicating as much as I should have."

Worth noting: Voting rights leaders have said they aren't confident Biden can deliver on the issue.

  • Democrats so far have failed to pass voting rights legislation, and a reforms bill faces near-certain defeat in the Senate when it comes up for a vote Wednesday.
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