On Tuesday, President Joe Biden delivered what may be the most forceful speech of his presidency, thus far, casting shame on the Republican legislators in various states across the country who are enacting laws to aggressively restrict access to voting.

Refuting the Big Lie being perpetrated by Donald Trump and his loyal GOP sycophants, Biden noted the overwhelming evidence that the 2020 election was among the most clean and honest in American history. And, yet, Republican-controlled legislatures have been using the excuse of a tainted election to do everything they can to make it harder for Americans to vote – in particular, Black Americans and others who are inclined to vote for Democrats.

“The denial of full and free and fair elections is the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine; the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic, and yet, sadly, not unprecedented,” Biden said.

The president alluded to the nation’s anti-democratic past: the denial of rights to enslaved people, the subsequent schemes, like poll taxes and literacy tests – as well as the Ku Klux Klan’s terrorist violence – that prevented Black Americans from voting for many more decades after emancipation. The current push to restrict voting is born of the same malign spirit, he said.

“We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden said. “That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th. I’m not saying this to alarm you; I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”

Alarm is, indeed, warranted. No longer recognizable as the party of Lincoln, it is the ghost of the Confederacy that haunts today’s Republican Party.

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