Former President Clinton says that "preserving democracy" is worth suspending the legislative filibuster in the Senate.
The filibuster, the ex-commander in chief argued during a Wednesday appearance alongside James Patterson on NBC's "Late Night," is "being used to try to prevent a repeat of 2020, when we had enormous voter participation."
"All the states that are in the hands of people that don't like that and want to maintain a racial income differential are trying to make it harder to vote," Clinton told host Seth Meyers.
He said he understood President Biden's reluctance to "get rid of it all together," and expressed some compassion for Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-W.Va.), who has said he's opposed to doing away with the 60-vote requirement for most legislation to pass the upper chamber.
"I sympathize with Joe Manchin, who's trying to stand up for the right thing and represent people who voted more than 2 to 1 for President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE," Clinton said while promoting the thriller he co-authored with Patterson, "The President's Daughter."
"But I think when it comes to preserving democracy, you know, I would suspend the filibuster because I think it's essential. I don't think that we should be in the business of going backwards in trying to drive down voting rights," Clinton, 74, said.
"I think we need to expand it. And I think that every time we've done it before it's made us a better country, it's made us a stronger country. And it would do both parties good to have to get out and compete for these new voters," Clinton told Meyers.
The 42nd president's comments come after a GOP filibuster blocked a sweeping election reform bill, the For the People Act, from coming up for debate on Tuesday.
"If it were me, for this one purpose, I would not allow an expansion and basically the protection of voting rights," Clinton said of his support for nixing the filibuster.
"These people are trying to take us back decades in voting access, the people that Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] represents."