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Photo: Pennsylvania Hous Democratic Caucus
Malcolm Kenyatta is running for U.S. Senate in 2022. Photo: Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus

Inside Malcolm Kenyatta’s “New Day for American Democracy”

The U.S. Senate candidate outlined his goals for office if elected in a new, eight-point plan.

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It has been six months since a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the nation’s Capitol building in Washington, D.C, and while some politicians want to sweep this event under the rug, the repercussions cannot be escaped.

On the eve of Independence Day, a white supremacist group known as The Patriot Front, marched through Center City, chanting slogans such as “reclaim America,” and “the election was stolen” — the same sentiments held by the Capitol rioters in January.

Speaking from Gettysburg on Tuesday, July 6, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta addressed the dark portrait of the current state of American government, stating that democracy is “under attack” by those seeking to suppress voter rights and undermine trust in the electoral process.

As news spread of The Patriot Front’s presence in the city, Kenyatta was reminded of a conversation he had with his grandmother two years ago. She called him with tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry baby, I’m so sorry baby. I thought we had fixed some of this stuff and here you are talking about the same things,” she said.

Kenyatta said he refuses to have this conversation with his grandchildren, and that all of us should too. It is this painful conversation and commitment to rebuilding democracy that prompted the representative to recently unveil his eight-point agenda entitled “A New Day for American Democracy.”

If elected to the U.S. Senate, Kenyatta said he will support the creation of a Civilian Democracy Corps, housed under Americorps to “reinvigorate the teaching of civic education and how to spot misinformation and disinformation.” 

The members of the Civilian Democracy Corps would travel across the states and work within a variety of institutions, including schools, nonprofits and community organizations to teach civic education to people of all ages. 

Kenyatta also plans to renew his call to finally put an end to the filibuster, which continues to enable a minority of Senators to block majority-supported legislation. He stated that it has been repeatedly used to silence and block momentum on vital legislation the American people overwhelmingly support.

“The filibuster is not sacred, but voting is, equality is, justice is,” Kenyatta said. 

Once the filibuster is gone, Kenyatta intends to push for the passage of HR1, or the For the People Act, which is an extensive set of voting and election reforms that would dramatically improve the process of voting. It would end voter suppression measures, partisan gerrymandering, and tackle the “poison” of dark money. 

Kenyatta invoked the name of the late John Lewis, who “was beaten and bled” in his battle to preserve and expand voting rights for all. 

The For the People Act would do more than just praise Lewis’ legacy, it would re-enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress.

Fifth on the agenda, Kenyatta plans to expand the courts. He says that to balance the scales of justice, the Supreme Court must be expanded, which has already been done multiple times. 

Kenyatta argues that Senate Republicans packing the court has made it “deeply politicized” and responsive almost exclusively to big corporate interests, rather than those of the American people. 

Senator Mitch McConnell has already made it clear that if he regains Senate control, he won’t allow President Biden to fill a vacancy before 2024 if an opening arises. McConnell also refused to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee, and filled the seat of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg just 17 days before an election. 

“Mitch has plainly said that he is 100% focused on blocking the President’s agenda and the filibuster and a radical activist court are his tools of choice,” Kenyatta said. 

Part six and seven of Kenyatta’s agenda concern statehood for D.C., and self determination for Puerto Rico. 

Lastly, Kenyatta introduced state legislation to create an annual day of remembrance on Jan. 6, to be known as “Democracy Observance Day,” so all Americans can remember the day that “shook the foundations of our democratic republic.” 

He ended his speech with further reflections on what democracy means, and what it requires of us as citizens of a free country. 

Kenyatta’s stop in Gettysburg marked the beginning of his “Democracy Summer” tour, which includes community events and voter registration drives.

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