“All in: the fight for democracy,” directed by Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus, not only seeks to reveal ongoing voter suppression fraud but also inspire Americans to protect their democracy | REVIEW

There’s no other way to begin than to say Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus’s new documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy” is the most important film of 2020.

Voter suppression. Let these words sink in. Voter suppression has been in play for hundreds of years. As the film reminds us (or rather, those who need to be reminded), the constitution starts with three words, “We the People.” But who are “the people”? When it was written, it did not include native Americans, black people, teenagers or women. The roots of voter suppression run deep.

The film begins with the heated 2018 gubernatorial race between Stacy Abrams (the film’s unofficial narrator, as her story is the story of so many) and Brian Kemp, a man with a history of suppressing the minority vote. Irregularities in voter registration led Abrams to barely lose the race.

There was provable interference from Kemp who oversaw the state’s voter registration, as he refused to resign as secretary of state while running for governor. A blatant conflict of interest that caused even former President Jimmy Carter to urge him to step down.

The suppression continued.

The film uses the Abrams/Kemp debacle to convey how that incident was far from a single occurrence. What happened to Abrams’s campaign is but a spoke in the bigger wheel of the right’s ongoing actions to crush the voting rights of Black people.

Every single time this country has moved forward regarding voting rights, it has been met with pushback from Conservatives.

We see how, in 2018, Florida restored former felons’ right to vote and in doing so, overturned a Jim Crow-era restriction. Yet the backlash began immediately. Florida passed a law stating that ex-felons must pay off any outstanding fines relating to their convictions before they could vote. For many, this was difficult, as it was tough to find work with a criminal record. Critics of the law rightfully called it a “poll tax.”

The suppression continued.

As one person says, “the election of Barack Obama scared the beejesus out of them (Republicans).” The racist right could not believe that a black man became president and began to do all they could to assure this never happened again. It is then explained how the Obama coalition became a hit list for voter suppression.

Take Action. Get Informed. Find out your Registration Status. Visit the All In: The Fight for Democracy website 

Gerrymandering became the “Frank Nitti” of the Right, as many red states began to scramble in the redistricting of voting boundaries to lessen the minority vote. The suppression continued.

Cortes and Garbus dive into how the devastating effects of racist policies toward minorities and their voting rights affect not just Black Americans but all minorities who live in this country—their country. Confusing rules regarding voter I.D. laws and the intentional purging of minority voters chip away at our democracy from decade to decade. It is soul-crushing to hear about the lengths that the Right will go to invalidate voters among their minority communities.

The suppression continued.

Stacy Abrams’s life story and the rise of her political career are the perfect guides through this documentary, as she has become a leader in the fight to ensure the votes of all ethnicities will be counted.

As the United States elections are now ranked rank last (LAST!) among Western Democracies, America has once again gone down a dark path that screams for us to examine our country’s past failings, as what is past is most certainly prologue.

“All In: The Fight for Our Democracy” is the film this country needs right now, as the 2020 election is the most important election in American history. The right is already setting in motion procedures to keep the minority vote from being counted.

The suppression continues.

(pictured: Stacy Abrams, in a still from “All in: the fight for democracy”)

Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés