The voter suppression disgrace in Georgia is hardly a surprise for a Republican Party that has vigorously sought ways for years to hold on to power on Election Day. Emboldened by a corrupt president who complained that three million fraudulent votes led to his deficit in the popular vote in 2016, the GOP’s minions in a number of states continue their efforts to disenfranchise the “colored” – as a party leader once described them to me a quarter-century ago.
Here is how another party brain, Doug Preisse, the Franklin County GOP chairman, later divulged the us-and-them protocol in a statement to the Columbus Dispatch:
“I guess I really feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter turnout machine.”
Preisse later said he thought his comments were off the record.
The hacking and meddling in how Americans can expect to vote in a free society has been a party standby and still is across America. There are reports of suppression, it seems, everywhere.
Unfortunately, the midterm ballot in Ohio this year includes a couple of Republican stalwarts whose records betray their alleged loyalty to fair voting.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, hitched to Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, has a widely reported history of tinkering with the state’s voting process, from shortening voting days to suspending early voting days and other actions that would clearly discourage or eliminate voting opportunities for folks in urban areas. And did I mention mass voter purges from the rolls? But, of course, there was non-existent voter fraud to eliminate.
You can read into that what you will.
A federal judge ruled against Republican changes that would impede turnouts. Not a problem with the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court’s ruling, 5-4.
The New York Times editorialized: “The attempts by Republican lawmakers to suppress the turnout of Democratic-leaning voters in the 2016 elections have reached shameless levels in Ohio – a swing state where it turns out that even homeless citizens have been blocked from exercising their right to vote.”
State Sen. Frank LaRose, of Hudson, is the party’s nominee for secretary of state. He entered the race with a warning that the state could not afford to give up the office to a Democrat (Rep. Kathleen Clyde, of Kent). By his account, the state’s’ chief elections officer should remain safely in the hands of Republicans. Oh?
You may recall that LaRose sang high praise of Trump for creating a voter fraud commission to make the voter swamp great again. Trump appointed Kris Kobach, of Kansas, vice chairman. Kobach, that state’s secretary, had already earned a national reputation as a bearish wacko vote suppressor.
Fortunately, the commission had a brief life when it found there wasn’t enough fraud to consume the panel’s time and effort.
You can see how Trump’s people had set the table for the midterms. Maybe we should take it all quite seriously, particularly when Stephen King tweeted: “Be brave’’ instead of Trump’s “be afraid.”
To borrow from FDR: The only thing we have to fear is Team-Trump itself.
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