The GOP will stop at nothing to win
The only thing newsworthy is that the rest of us are finally keen on their plans
“The Republican Party is no longer one that I recognize,” my dad lamented to me the other day. While I’ve never understood how a white boy who grew up on welfare in Massachusetts became a Republican, my dad has been a registered member of the GOP my entire life, along with my mom.
They made their disapproval known when I came of age and registered as a Democrat saying things like, “how did we screw up raising you so that these are the people you support?” At 18, I didn’t know how to answer that question other than that I was pro-choice and believed that we needed to proactively address the hole in the ozone layer, and the Democratic Party cared about those two things, while the Republicans did not. Over two decades later, the answer to their question has never been more clear: the Republican Party simply does not care about anything but holding on to the kind of power that will keep their best donors raking in the dough.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
It should be no surprise that none of this is new to the 2020, or even 2016 election cycle. As I have ravenously consumed political documentaries for the past four years, this machine has been working this way for the better part of my life. The difference was the strategy just hadn’t been exposed. Although the practice of gerrymandering is almost as old as our nation itself, that’s a word that hasn’t been a part of the average American’s lexicon until recent years. When the Hofeller files were discovered in 2018 and brought to the public eye in 2019, the GOP’s hand had been shown. And they didn’t even blink, they just kept going.
For years, they’ve manipulated and rigged our elections by simply doing what our founding fathers intended: preventing all of those who live here and are not White from voting in elections. The efforts have only been amplified in this election cycle because they know the same thing that we do—when all people are allowed to vote, the true will of the people (not the version that is written by big money donors) will be undeniably known.
Voter suppression by any other name is still just as damaging
I learned this week that the Constitution does not have a requirement for a person to be a citizen of the United States to be eligible to vote. That restriction has been added at the state level, in an effort to limit who can vote in any given election. That was a surprise to me, as we have an amendment on our Colorado ballot this year asking to change our state constitutional language allowing “every citizen” to vote to “only citizens” to cast ballots in our elections. While the semantics seem innocuous, the effect will be damaging.
From gerrymandering to illegal suppression of voter rolls to limiting access to polling centers and mail ballot drop boxes, the GOP has made it very clear that they are afraid of the outcome of the election if all eligible citizens are allowed to vote. They have been doing everything in their power to disenfranchise voters, from spreading disinformation about the effectiveness and safety of mail in voting to threatening to have poll “monitors” show up at VSPCs with the intention of intimidating voters, rather than ensuring a safe and fair election process.
As early voting has begun in many states, reports of long lines–some lasting over 10 hours–has me horrified. As I watch the videos of these accounts, the commonality that I see is that this is happening in predominantly BIPOC communities.
Black men were effectively given a right to vote with the ratification of the 14th amendment in 1868 and Black women with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, but voter intimidation and arbitrary rules or processes (such as voter registration deadlines and restrictive ID requirements) were (and still are) used to suppress Black votes. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Blacks were motivated to participate in elections, but now, a mere 55 years later, the Black vote remains disenfranchised in many communities. And that is by design.
The Republicans are already dominating the courts
As campaigning continues for the Presidential Election, candidate Biden has been continually asked about whether or not he plans to pack the Supreme Court if elected. This comes from an idea that he will use his power to appoint justices to balance out what is sure to be a strongly conservative court before Election Day. This is all smoke in mirrors from the GOP, so that no one pays attention to the fact that McConnell has spent the better part of the past six years allowing vacancies, then filling those vacancies with conservative judges nominated by a Republican president. I read somewhere that this strategy has led to lazy, partisan lawmaking, as now they are reliant on the courts to decide on shitty policy, rather than working collaboratively to write good policy. And don’t get me started on his horribly hypocritical position on why we should install a replacement to Justice Ginsburg’s empty chair (including the callous move of announcing his intent inside of 90 minutes after her passing).
The Supreme Court upholding the Trump Administration’s action to prematurely stop the Census count should be alarming. To be quite honest, the fact that this body, which is supposed to be neutral and decide the application of the rule of law, has become politicized is unsettling. As the rushed confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett are underway, likely-future Justice Barrett’s colleagues made a grave decision yesterday in allowing our Census to stop before the previously granted extended deadline of October 31st.
Aside from providing funding to our communities, the Census is what determines how much power a given state has in the House of Representatives. Given the gross influx of residents over the past ten years here in Colorado, we stand to gain at least one, if not two seats in the house, bringing Colorado’s electoral count possibly up to 11. As Colorado has swung blue over the past decade or so, I can only imagine why this puts the GOP on alert.
I can only speculate, but I imagine that the Trump Administration took a look at the percentage of completion in the states he cares about, decided that was good enough, and is cutting off the rest so that the GOP can maintain their electoral stronghold in certain areas. What this action effectively says is that having necessary resources for things like schools, roads, and public service don’t matter as long as the GOP can hold on to just a little more power. It has not been surprising to see the Senate enabling this wildly out of control administration, but to see the Supreme Court follow suit is just plain scary.
And we haven’t even talked about foreign influence
Despite the President wanting to believe that the Mueller investigation was a hoax designed to undermine an illegitimate election win, the fact is that our intelligence systems continue to put forth evidence that Russia is working to influence the outcome of our elections. And this administration is doing nothing about it because it is benefitting their cause. I’m not even sure if there are other foreign actors that have a stake in watching our democracy unravel, but it wouldn’t surprise me at this point.
The best thing we can do is vote
Right now, winning elections against this well-oiled machine of lies, cheating and stealing feels like a modern day David and Goliath story. But what I know is that the ballot box is the stone we have to beat them with, so let’s use it.
Early voting is underway and registration deadlines have passed in some states. If it’s not too late to register to vote where you live, please do so by visiting vote.gov and make a plan to vote by November 3rd. If you have questions about voting or encounter any trouble while trying to vote, please call 866-OUR-VOTE (English) or 888-VE-Y-VOTA (Spanish) nationwide.