Speaking during a year-end interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Ms Harris was asked by host Margaret Brennan what the threat is that most “worries” her and “keeps [her] up at night”.
The vice president responded: “Frankly, one of them is our democracy”.
“I think there’s so much about foreign and domestic policy that … was guided and prioritized based on Sept 11, 2001. And we are embarking on a new era where the threats to our nation take many forms, including the threat of autocracies taking over and having outsized influence around the world,” Ms Harris said.
Ms Harris and President Joe Biden have made support and solidarity among the world’s democracies a priority of their administration. At the US-convened “summit for democracy” held earlier this month, the vice president said it is of “particular” and “urgent” concern that democracy is “presently under threat and, for 15 years, has been on the decline”.
“Around the world, autocrats have become emboldened. Human rights violations have multiplied. And corruption is undermining progress. And misinformation is undermining public confidence,” she said.
Ms Harris added that in the US, the violent attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob which hoped to prevent her and Mr Biden from taking office “looms large in our collective conscience”.
Though Mr Biden has tasked Ms Harris with leading their administration’s push to strengthen voting rights laws which are currently under attack from Republican-dominated state legislatures that are acting on former president Donald Trump’s lies regarding the 2020 election, her efforts have been stymied by the de facto supermajority requirement for any legislation in the US senate.
Ms Harris told Brennan that voting rights are “one of the most significant issues that is facing us as individuals and as leaders today” because voting rights “lead to every other right”.
Speaking of the senate’s Republican members — almost all of who oppose legislation to protect voting rights — Ms Harris said: “I think it’s really important that … we not lose sight of the fact that there is one whole group of people, half of the United States Senate, who are refusing to even debate this issue”.
She added that she and Mr Biden are “trying” to move voting rights legislation through the senate despite opposition to changing the chamber’s rules from two members of their own party.
“We are not going to give up on these issues, but you’re right. It’s a 50-50 Senate. It’s a 50-50 Senate … but it has to be a combination of us as an administration, but also everyone weighing in. And I’m glad we’re having this conversation. I think we have to continue to elevate the conversation about voting rights,” she said.
“Given the daily grind that people are facing, this may not feel like an immediate or urgent matter when in fact it is. And the more we have the opportunity to talk about it, the more I think people will see … I don’t want an America of the future for my kids to be in an America where we are suppressing the right of the American people to vote”.