The Biden-Harris campaign released a new ad that at first glance plays into all the right-wing sneering around the Democratic Party’s long-standing tendency to enlist celebrity endorsement—and the idea of liberal Hollywood trying to tell real ‘Muricans how they should live their lives. But here Samuel L. Jackson actually subverts the whole celebrity spokesperson dynamic by saying you shouldn’t vote just because he wants you to. You should vote because Trump doesn’t want you to.
“Voter suppression has taken many forms,” Jackson says. “First, they used the poll tax to keep Black folks from voting. Then it was the literacy test, racial terrorism, and violence.”
We see a clip of conservative activist and founder of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Paul Weyrich outright saying, “I don’t want everybody to vote.” It’s from a 1980 speech, in which he said, “I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
And he meant it. ALEC has been working on voter suppression campaigns and laws across many states for years. It is one of the scores of conservative activist groups funded by billionaires Charles Koch and his late brother, David.
The spot then outlines some newer tactics, while footage plays of news coverage of voter suppression and President Trump’s scaremongering about mail-in voting.
It all ends with Jackson digging into his full Ezekiel 25:17 voice to implore you: “Vote, dammit, vote!