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My thoughts on what comes next

In the wake of the deadly insurrection spurred on by Donald Trump, I've given my thoughts to NBC News, and I'd like to share them with you:

The Capitol riots prove we need to strengthen our democracy. That begins with voting rights.

Here's the heart of what I believe following that awful day for our democracy.

In the wake of this attack, Democrats must use our majorities in Congress to pass reforms that will defend our democracy from the forces that supported, incited and fueled the riots — which means making it easier for every American to vote. Congress cannot — must not — move forward in the belief that the end of Donald Trump's presidency means all is well in our country.

The emphasis above is mine, because this is about more than Donald Trump. "Trumpism" will outlaw Donald Trump long after he leaves office. Around the country, Republican lawmakers are already moving to shut down access to ballots and polling places. And they'll get away with it, unless there is comprehensive election reform at the federal level.

Another big piece of reforming our elections is giving residents in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico a voice in our elections. Denying DC residents their rightful representation in Congress diminishes the rights and political power of my 4 million constituents in Oregon, it's true. But it's also a deeply shameful thing that the more than 700,000 Americans living in Washington, D.C., are forced into a lower class of citizenship.

The same goes for the American citizens in Puerto Rico. If statehood is what they want, they should be able to make that choice. The way Trump and Republicans have treated Puerto Rico — particularly when its residents have suffered so much — is revolting.

Conservatives are already claiming my ideas to reform our elections will hurt the core of our democracy. But here's the reality: mail-in ballots allowed millions of American to vote safely and securely during a raging pandemic. The 2020 elections saw fewer cases of voter fraud. We've seen what mail-in ballots can do for our democracy, and it's time to make them the law of the land.

This is about securing our elections and our country for generations to come from just the kind of attacks that Trump and his allies have been all too eager to ignore—our outright embrace.

Check out the whole op-ed, and join the conversation on Facebook!


Posted on January 15, 2021.

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Ron Wyden & Jeff Merkley at a health care rallyRon Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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