Monday, May 10, 2021

David Atkins: ‘What Happens When Republicans Simply Refuse to Certify Democratic Wins?’

 From Washington Monthly:

What will the institutions of liberal democracy do when Republican officials simply refuse to concede Democratic victories? The question isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem, and the reckoning may be coming far sooner than most expect.

The entire left-leaning political world has spent the months after the 2020 election obsessed over the fairness of elections, and conservative attempts to rig the vote through gerrymandering and voter suppression. This is for good reason, of course: Republicans know they lack the support to win majority support in a fair contest, but believe they have the right to rule nonetheless for reasons that ultimately boil down to white supremacy, religious dominionism and antiquated patriarchal beliefs. So Republicans have been busy passing bills to restrict voting among young people and non-whites, while doing their best to ensure that exurban conservative whites continue to be dramatically and unfairly overrepresented in the House, Senate and Electoral College.

But there’s another even more sinister trend among conservative politicians that deserves greater attention: an unwillingness to concede any electoral victory by a Democrat as legitimate, and an eagerness to punish any Republican elected official who concedes the will of the voters. The Big Lie that Trump really won the election is now canon among a majority of Republican voters. Any Republicans who refuses to toe the line is branded a heretic, and elections officials who dared to certify Biden’s win are being censured or stripped of their power. Arizona Republicans have sponsored a bogus “audit” of the election full of crackpot conspiracy theories, and Republican legislatures have been busy taking control of both running and certifying elections out of the hands of county official in Democratic-run cities and counties. The context of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol was the attempt by Congressional Republicans to refuse to certify the Electoral College tally, in the hopes of sending the election back to gerrymandered Republican state legislatures, thus handing Trump a win as part of a anti-democratic coup. It was a physical coup attempt designed to intimidate Congress into enforcing a legislative coup. Republicans who refused to back the latter are facing steep primary challenges.


Read the full article.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Jonathan Chait: ‘Mitch McConnell and the Agony of the Post-Trump Corporate Republican’

Cartoon by Drew Sheneman for the Newark Star-Ledger

From New York magazine:

On June 15, 2012, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a speech portentously titled “Growing Threats to Our First Amendment Rights: An Address by Mitch McConnell.” (“Address” is the term politicians use for speeches they wish to be taken seriously.) The Senate Minority Leader used the hour-long remarks to warn that restrictions on political donations by corporations and wealthy people, or even mere disclosure requirements, were “an alarming willingness itself to use the powers of government to silence” dissent. Since “the form of speech most needful of absolute protection is political speech,” McConnell argued that President Obama’s efforts to require public disclosure of donations by figures like the Koch brothers amounted to the government “using its own powers to harass or intimidate those who participate in the political process.”

Whatever might be said about McConnell, here was an issue where not even his bitterest critics doubted his sincerity. Opposing campaign-finance reform as a dangerous restriction on political speech by businesses was the cause of his life. Obama’s memoir casually describes McConnell as lacking “any strong convictions beyond an almost religious opposition to any version of campaign-finance reform.”

And yet, last Monday, here was McConnell treating the spectacle of business leaders engaging in political debate as a stark threat to be extinguished. The provocation was a series of corporate statements denouncing Republican-sponsored voting restrictions, which McConnell described as “a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people.” McConnell, invoking a spate of Republican proposals to punish firms that speak out against their vote-suppression laws, warned, “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country.”


Read the full story.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Zack Beauchamp: ‘The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts’

From Vox:

The Republican Party is the biggest threat to American democracy today. It is a radical, obstructionist faction that has become hostile to the most basic democratic norm: that the other side should get to wield power when it wins elections.

A few years ago, these statements may have sounded like partisan Democratic hyperbole. But in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol and Trump’s acquittal in the Senate on the charge of inciting it, they seem more a plain description of where we’re at as a country.

But how deep does the GOP’s problem with democracy run, really? How did things get so bad? And is it likely to get worse?

Read the full story.

Saturday, February 6, 2021