NOTE: This is a corrected version. The original article was somewhat inaccurate.
Lost in the shuffle of the voter suppression legislation the Republicans are passing at the state level in states they control is the much more dangerous voter nullification legislation. Why are they doing it? I’d like to explain that today.
It is extremely difficult but possible to organize around most voter suppression tactics. It’s kind of like overcoming a home court advantage. Much worse and more insidious but still somewhat similar for analogy purposes. Voter nullification is like changing the score after the game has been played, the players have showered and their planes or busses have arrived home. Not even the next morning but often weeks after.
Several states have empowered their state legislatures to overturn the vote of the people if there is an allegation of fraud. Note I said an allegation; not a proven instance. This plays right into Vladimir Putin’s hands. One of his main objectives is to defeat democracy. Historically democracies have died from within. What better way to kill a democracy than to disincentive voter participation? What is the sense of voting if a gerrymandered and unrepresentative state legislature is simply going to overrule the vote?
Are today’s Republicans Russian sympathizers? Perhaps in a de facto sense but their motivation is much more selfish. Much of this centers around the Electoral College which has outlived it usefulness and today’s Republican Party will defend to the death. (I could expand on that for thousands of words but this is neither the time nor place.) The current Republican Party is almost incapable of winning the national popular vote. (The situation is similar in many states which accounts for congressional district gerrymandering. But again, a topic to be explored in depth on another day.)
The last time a non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate won the popular vote was when George H. W. Bush won it in 1988. The last time a “clean non-incumbent” Republican won the popular vote was in 1980 (Ronald Reagan). H. W. Bush was the sitting Vice President therefore somewhat of an incumbent. The last time a Republican candidate won the national popular vote was when incumbent George W. Bush did so in 2004. In large part he was aided by the aftermath of 9/11. We will never know for certain but I doubt he would have been reelected in 2004 sans 9/11. The bottom line is that the Republicans have lost 7 of the last 8 popular votes for president. If you throw out W’s 2004 win as a fluke, as I would, the last time they won the popular vote for president with a “clean” non-incumbent was when Reagan did so in 1980 as an incumbent.
In 2019 the median age in America was 38.1 years old. In 2024 a voter would have to be 44 years old to have even been alive in 1980. In other words, with their current philosophy and practices the Republicans can’t win a national popular vote in a fair and square election. Therefore, they feel they have no choice but to cheat.
Climate change is the biggest physical threat to America (and the world), COVID-19 is currently the biggest health and economic threat we face and undermining democracy – the root of which is the vote – is the biggest political threat we face. The Republicans are the only political party of consequence in the world that demies climate change and man’s complicity in it. Largely the Republican Party is anti-vaccine and anti-mask. The Republicans are the only ones pushing anti-democratic voting laws. You connect all those dots; I just explained why on one count.
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