Democrats Just Took Bold Move In The Battle For 'a Free and Open Internet'

Democrats Just Took Bold Move In The Battle For ‘a Free and Open Internet’

Democrats are ready to fight to save the internet

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) managed to successfully repeal the Obama Administration’s net neutrality rules by a 3-2 vote. This was always expected given FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s constant advocation against the guidelines. Pai was so adamant on removing a free Internet that he even made a video with the right-wing rag The Daily Caller in a vain attempt to appeal to millennials:

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All is not lost though as Congress still has time to act before the new Internet rules are implemented. Unfortunately, even at this junction lies another roadblock in the form of the Republican Party. It is no secret that most members of the GOP have received donations from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that would benefit from the net neutrality repeal. Pai himself is a Republican who was only appointed to the mandatory Republican FCC seat by President Obama, under the suggestion of Mitch McConnell.

Democrats, even with Doug Jones’s victory in the Alabama Special Election, do not have a majority in either House of Congress, but that does not mean they are completely helpless on this issue. Using a provision from the Congressional Review Act, the Democrats plan to force the Senate to vote directly on net neutrality.

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This is a smart move for a couple of reasons. One is that it shows the Democrats care enough about this issue to pursue all avenues of fighting the GOP, no matter their odds. And two, it keeps it alive through 2018, which is a massive election year for both Houses of Congress. As several Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Ed Markey, and Richard Blumenthal have pointed out, millennials will be key to winning elections in every state, and a free Internet is a major interest for them.

Schumer clearly explained the danger angry millennial voters would present to Republicans if they dare undermine the internet:

“Eliminating neutrality and a fair and open internet undermines entrepreneurialism and crowds out the creativity that has been the engine of extraordinary innovation and an engine of economic growth. Millennials were born into a world with the free and open internet and it’s as integral to their daily lives as a morning cup of coffee. So when the administration rips it from their hands and hands it over to the big Internet Service Providers on a silver platter, millennials will know that Republicans were responsible – and can you can bet Democrats will make sure they know it.”

Public opinion is definitely on the Democrats’ side in this battle. In December, a poll conducted by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland found that support for keeping Obama era “net neutrality” FCC rules that protect a free and open internet in place is a non-partisan issue. 75 percent of Republicans support the Obama rules, 89 Percent of Democrats do, for an average of 83 percent support overall.

And younger voters are even more adamant about protecting the open internet. At the Press conference, repeated anecdotes were told of Senators children, whether millennials, or the upcoming Generation Y which is beginning to reach voting age, who suddenly seemed interested in politics when the topic came up.

“Republicans have woken a sleeping giant,” as Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii put it.

Featured image by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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