Tuesday, May 19, 2020

One Path To Republican Victory

On Monday evening, Nancy Pelosi famously- or infamously- stated of Donald Trump

As far as the president is concerned, he's our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say. So, I think it's not a good idea.

Many people (not all of them fat) believe that making this statement was not a good idea:
Credit Chris Cillizza for doing the nearly unthinkable in American media nowadays, considering less the political impact than the accuracy of Pelosi's remark. (If Trump's personal physician is in the right zip code about the President's weight, Trump is obese but not morbidly so, according to CDC guidelines.)

Admittedly, being overweight appears to be among the least of Donald J. Trump's 1,251 faults, although asserting that he is an "idiot" is even more ridiculous. That's because Donald Trump, and the Party whose extreme right-wing ideology he promulgates, is no dummy. On the day before we learned that Republican governor Brian Kemp of Georgia cancelled an election so he could appoint a successor to a retiring state Supreme Court justice, The New York Times reports on a GOP program

which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious. That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting. The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and Mr. Trump’s command of the airwaves to cast Democrats as agents of election theft.

The efforts are bolstered by a 2018 federal court ruling that for the first time in nearly four decades allows the national Republican Party to mount campaigns against purported voter fraud without court approval. The court ban on Republican Party voter-fraud operations was imposed in 1982, and then modified in 1986 and again in 1990, each time after courts found instances of Republicans intimidating or working to exclude minority voters in the name of preventing fraud. The party was found to have violated it yet again in 2004....

The Republican program escalates a focus on limiting who can vote that became a juggernaut after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It also reflects an enduring tension in American life in which the voting rights of minorities — whether granted in 1870 by the 15th Amendment or nearly a century later by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — seldom seem free from challenge.

Besides the national party and Mr. Trump’s campaign strategists, conservative advocacy groups are joining lawsuits, recruiting poll monitors and mounting media campaigns of their own....

"Collateral damage,"  instead of killed; "enhanced interrogation," instead of torture; "slept with" instead of had sex with. Now we have "poll monitors" instead of thugs. The Times continues

“They don’t need to keep millions of people away” from the polls, Ms. Groh-Wargo said. “Challenge a couple of voters here, a couple there, and it all aggregates up. They realize they’re going to win or lose this thing at the margins.”

Among other things, Democrats cite Mr. Trump’s repeated demands that law enforcement officers patrol the polls and the recent creation of voter-fraud task forces by Republicans in four state governments, at least in part at the national party’s urging.

History suggests this is well-founded concern because

The court order vacated in 2018 involved repeated efforts to depress Democratic turnout. In the first instance, the party recruited off-duty police officers wearing “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands to monitor polling places in black and Latino neighborhoods in New Jersey. A Democratic lawsuit claimed the officers hectored poll workers and voters and stopped volunteers from helping voters cast ballots....

Joe Biden may stumble as the Democratic presidential nominee.  The economy may stabilize. The Speaker of the House may enrage some people with "fat shaming."

Any of these, and other factors, might contribute to Donald Trump's re-election and maintenance of a GOP-controlled Senate. However, they are small potatoes.  Republicans know their way victory in November is through voter suppression, and they won't be stymied unless Democrat understand that and aggressively prepare.

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