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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Suppress ‘Em

Republicans, hell-bent on retaining or regaining power (depending on where you are), are now unapologetically attempting to suppress voting by Democratic-leaning voters.

Cloaked in misleading terms like “ensuring safe elections” and “protecting election integrity”, GOP efforts aim to reduce minority votes that cost them the White House and Senate in 2020. Realizing demographic shifts favor Democrats (with many young and minority Americans becoming eligible voters), Republicans came up with needed solutions, then searched for problems.

The problem they found? Election fraud, allegedly widespread.

The problem with that problem? Historically, it’s very rare – typically recorded in fractions of one percent of votes cast.

But it sounds serious, and everybody wants legal voters, only, voting. Besides, it helps anger losing voters, claiming they lost because the winning side cheated.

And in 2020’s election, Republicans had the perfect messenger to anger their voters: Rabble-Rouser-In-Chief, former President Donald Trump, who based his political career on angering followers. Trump repeatedly claimed widespread fraud, even after many states’ election officials (many Republican, like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp), and many courts (with many Republican judges, some Trump appointees), repeatedly refuted that claim.

So Republicans shifted their voter-suppression pitch, slightly, claiming this reason for their supposedly honorable measures: voters had lost confidence in elections.

But with a president constantly spewing lies about a stolen election (unabashedly trying to retain power), and most GOP leaders lacking courage and character to confront him, no wonder Republican voters believed him. Then, when he begrudgingly left office – after inciting rioters to storm the U.S. Capitol – those same leaders whined that voters lack confidence, therefore drastic measures must be taken.

So “election integrity” measures (253, to be exact) were proposed in 43, mostly-red states – and many passed. Measures included limiting early voting (including weekends, when many Black churches organize “souls to the polls” outings for members), restricting or removing secure ballot drop boxes, eliminating no-excuse absentee ballots (which allow voting without potential exposure to disease, as in the pandemic), and drastically curbing mail-in voting.

Democrats tried to counter these measures by passing H.R. 1, a package designed to protect equal access to ballot boxes (among other things), in the U.S. House; but its fate in the Senate is uncertain.

In Georgia, as late as 2005, at the height of the state GOP’s power, Republicans FAVORED laws making it easy for citizens to vote – the same laws they’re overturning now.

Funny how losing can change some people’s perspective.

This Moderate hails from Georgia, but has also lived in Colorado for ten years. On this issue, they could not be more different. Colorado, with bipartisan leadership long before COVID, made it convenient for registered voters to vote – believing voting is a right for ALL citizens. Ballots are mailed to all registered voters and can be returned by mail or in person.

Colorado has had NO widespread election fraud.

Georgia, shamefully, is taking the opposite approach: making voting difficult for citizens (especially those tending to vote Democratic), using the flimsy excuse of election security – which has never been a widespread problem.

After losing statewide elections (for president and two senate seats) for the FIRST time in many years, these Georgia GOP sore losers are changing the rules of the game, realizing that’s the ONLY way they’ll retain power. History will show them, eventually, on the wrong side – similar to supporters of Jim Crow laws that discriminated against Black Americans for 100 years.

Many states’ (including Georgia’s) Republican strategy – if you can’t beat ‘em, suppress ‘em – is hypocritical at best, contemptible at worst. Ironically, Georgia’s capitol city, Atlanta, was long considered a champion of civil rights in the South, known as “the city too busy to hate”.

Apparently, Georgia legislators supporting these measures are not too busy to suppress – a more subtle, politically-correct effort.

Moderates can give Arizona Republicans credit for having the nerve to be transparent about their motives, at least. Defending the state’s voting restrictions before the Supreme Court, GOP attorney Michael Carvin argued: “Politics is a zero-sum game. And every extra vote they (Democrats) get… hurts us, it’s the difference between winning an election 50-49 and losing an election 51 to 50.”

Not coincidentally, Arizona was a decisive battleground in 2020, with President Biden winning by only 10,000 votes.

Moderates don’t accept double standards. TMM pointed out recently, for example, Republicans would have more credibility opposing spending in Biden’s COVID relief package now – if they hadn’t enabled Donald Trump to increase deficits by TRILLIONS of dollars while they were in power.

If Republicans made voting easy while THEY were winning elections, they should NOT make it more difficult now, when they’re not. After all, what’s good for the elephant is good for the donkey.

 

Images: Google Images

Vote sticker: The Nation

Hand over voters: The Atlantic

Kemp and Trump: Wall Street Journal

Trump and flags: Los Angeles Times

McConnell quote: Planned Parenthood Action Fund

U.S. map: NIU Newsroom – Northern Illinois University

Lewis quote: Madison Public Library

Carvin: WSJ

Reagan quote: Pinterest

Donkey and elephant: FriendlyStock

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