Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Vice President Joe Biden urged voters on Monday to stand up to Republican-led efforts to limit voting rights, in a video for the Democratic National Committee’s voter expansion project.

“If someone had said to me 10 years ago I had to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said ‘you got to be kidding,'” Biden says in the video. “But last year, when the Supreme Court cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act, it opened up the floodgates for voter suppression.”

In the video, the vice president contrasts the Voting Rights Act’s history of bipartisan backing — noting that even segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond and conservative icon Ronald Reagan supported it — with the current efforts to undo its protection.

“This year alone there are almost 50 restrictive voting rights bills under consideration nationwide,” Biden says. “At least 11 states have introduced legislation either requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, or make existing photo ID laws more restrictive.”

He specifically highlighted laws in North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The legislators who write and support such bills tend to justify them with unsubstantiated claims of a voter fraud epidemic (although they occasionally admit that they actually aim to disenfranchise Democrats).

“We have to stand up,” Biden urges. “It’s time to stand up and fight back.”

Vice President Biden is the latest in a string of high-profile Democrats to sound the alarm on voting rights. Former president Bill Clinton launched the DNC’s voter expansion project with a video of his own in February, and Attorney General Eric Holder announced in September that he would devote more Justice Department resources to enforcing existing voting rights protections.

The video is one of two notable political moves from the vice president on Monday; he also relaunched his Twitter account in anticipation of the midterm elections in November.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)