The GOP gave up on elections when they saw how well stealing Florida in 2000 worked
Consider three stories from this week:
Georgia closed 214 polling places from 2012-2018. That prevented between 54,000 to 85,000 people from casting ballots, finds new @ajc investigation. Stacey Abrams missed runoff by 21,000 votes. Black voters 20% more likely than whites to be disenfranchised https://t.co/eQRdw8hVln
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) December 13, 2019
7% of Wisconsin’s registered voters could now be purged from voter rolls. Milwaukee & Madison account for 14% of state’s registered voters but 23% of purge list. This could have big impact on 2020 election https://t.co/e19GNQurjj
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) December 13, 2019
The Senate is supposed to render “impartial justice” in an impeachment trial. Mitch McConnell is letting Trump plan his own trial. https://t.co/cFdOK4RBeU
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) December 14, 2019
When a federal court ruled in 2016 that North Carolina’s Republicans had aimed to disenfranchise black voters with “an almost surgical precision” and not one elected Republican resigned from the party, the Republican party should have been put to sleep.
This was before Trump was elected, before documents proved that the GOP had systemically put racial gerrymanders into place across the country, before this month when only a single Republican in the House voted to restore the power of the Voting Rights Act. The VRA is the single piece of law backed, once both parties overwhelmingly, that led to the few decades in which America at least aspired to be a liberal democracy based on equal representation.
The Republican Party has committed itself to cheating to win for several reasons — foremost among them that Republicans know they cannot win any other way.
It’s convenient for the right that their morality and ethics allow for cheating, or bending the law, as a means of taking and preserving power.
As political scientist Frank Wilhoit once said, “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”
The initial opposition to Trump by some on the right had nothing to do with an objection to anything but his obviousness. They thought he couldn’t get away with it. (A few Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, were the only people on earth fooled into believing Trump actually opposed the Iraq War rather than recognizing he just saw his pretended opposition as a convenient tool to bludgeon opponents.)
The party’s desperate devotion to Trump now is a measure of his ability to still help them win big in red states and GOP primaries. And there is the still very real possibility he will be re-elected, especially since after impeachment there will be almost no means of stopping him from stealing the election.
Cheating is moral when you see your opposition as fundamentally illegitimate, as Adam Serwer explains:
The peaceful transition of power is fundamental to democracy, but many Republicans have concluded that it is not possible for that to occur legitimately. Without such transitions, democracy is a dead letter. But if your political enemies are inherently illegitimate, then depriving them of power by any means necessary is not effacing democracy; it is defending it.
While this urge has always existed in America’s conservatism, conservatives were not isolated into one party until this century, largely by the success of a strategy of politicizing everything that’s most visible in Fox News.
We’ll look back at the 2000 election as the point where Republicans made a number of decisions for us. They’d rather not have a republic if they couldn’t keep it and the same pretty much goes for the planet.
The Supreme Court handed the election to George W. Bush but it was what happened under Governor Jeb Bush that made that possible.
Before the election, Florida sent its county election supervisors a list of 58,000 alleged felons to purge from the voting rolls. Florida was one of eight states that prevented ex-felons from voting. The felon-disenfranchisement law dated back to 1868, when the state banned anyone with a felony conviction from voting unless the governor issued a pardon. The law targeted newly emancipated African-Americans, who during slavery were far more likely to be arrested than whites, including for such offenses as looking at a white woman.
Of the 58,000 voters purged, “12,000 voters who shouldn’t have been labeled felons. That was 22 times Bush’s 537-vote margin of victory.”
Most of America may have missed that backstory, but the right didn’t.
“Soon after Bush’s inauguration, his administration embarked on a dramatic effort to restrict voting rights.”
And today, right now, Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis is doing everything he can to help his party gut Amendment 4, which got 1,072,740 more votes than him in 2018.
Last year, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to end the disenfranchisement of citizens who had served their time. State Republicans quickly added red tape that would make it impossible for many of those citizens to ever register.
Changing the law to spite the voters is technically “legal.”
So is stealing a Supreme Court seat or letting the most obviously corrupt and compromised president in American history run his own trial or using the vagaries of the law disenfranchise voters whose ancestors had to die to get them the ballot.
But it’s still cheating.
And what the Republican Party is doing is proving by backing Trump is they don’t care. They don’t care if what Trump does in his tax returns is legal or if they have to sell out to foreign adversary to win. That’s their morality. And when power is your only goal, it’s the same as having no morality at all.