For non-Fox news consumers, it has been clear for a long time that the problem with our government is the Republican Party. When a Democratic president is in office, the Republicans spend all their time complaining about the deficit, demanding that every program the Democrats put in place to help the population must be offset by taking benefits from somewhere else. When there’s a Republican in the White House, not only do the Republicans stop talking about the deficit, they actually do everything they can to make it worse, cheering when huge tax cuts for the wealthy are passed. They do everything possible to undo regulations that protect our environment and our health in order to appease their corporate sponsors while withholding money for the social safety net that helps the poorest and most at risk among us. Republican governors throughout the country, with a few notable exceptions, waited longer (some are still waiting!) than their Democratic counterparts to order their citizens to quarantine themselves at home to slow the spread of the virus. And then there’s Trump, whose rank incompetence and magical thinking has allowed this contagion to spread, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of thousands, with tens of thousands more expected in the near future. The Republicans knew for months how dangerous this pandemic was going to be yet did nothing to prepare for it, lying to the country about how bad things could get. State television on Fox and other right-wing outlets continue to lie to their viewers, which makes them culpable in the deaths of thousands of Americans who for reasons I fail to understand insisted on getting their “news” from these propagandists.
With the coronavirus now disrupting our primary elections, Republicans are now doing everything they can to use the pandemic to advance their main agenda – retaining their white, male, minority power under any and all circumstances. In order to achieve this, they have exposed their true intentions only recently by saying the quiet parts out loud. Sure, we’ve all known that their voter suppression efforts have been specifically directed at those who demographically are most likely to vote Democratic in order to prevent Democrats from winning elections, but the Republicans for years were thwarted in their efforts by the Voting Rights Act. Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, however, it has become much easier for them to enact laws designed to prevent those voters most likely to vote Democrat from exercising their right to vote. Voter ID laws were enacted while gerrymandering allowed representatives to choose their voters. Now, when physical distancing is our only effective weapon to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Republicans are refusing to make it safer and easier for everyone to vote by mail because they believe Democrats will benefit electorally. Trump has admitted that allowing every eligible voter to vote means “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again”.
How is it that paper ballots signed by each voter and mailed back to the counties where the signatures are verified are less secure than the computerized ones (some without any paper backup!) commonly used throughout the country? How exactly does Trump think “thousands of ballots” are fraudulently submitted? Who is getting the ballots together? Is there someone going house to house, stealing mail-in ballots out of every mailbox? How would this scale up to manage “thousands of ballots”? Seriously, this makes even less sense than “millions of illegal immigrants” voting in 2016, but the Republicans are completely fixated on doing everything they can to prevent people from voting, and this should make everyone furious. This is even more ridiculous when you recall that the only mass mail-in ballot fraud was in South Carolina by a Republican operative in 2018 that resulted in a redo of the election.
How is this okay with the citizens of this country? There is no legitimate reason for anyone who is legally eligible to vote to not be sent a mail-in ballot for every election from here on out. The Democrats have tried for years to have Election Day become a national holiday in order to make it easier for everyone to vote, and the Republicans have stood in the way. The Republicans believe that they are going to be disadvantaged if everyone eligible to vote could do so, but rather than change their platform and policies to attract more voters to their side they resort to cheating. This will eventually backfire on them despite the long game they’ve played for judges because of simple demographics. The Republican Party’s demise is inevitable and will only be hastened by their callous disregard for their own constituents when they do things like forcing voters to choose between a possible fatal virus and casting their vote.
I am waiting for my mail-in ballot for the New Jersey primary election to arrive in the near future. I signed up for mail-in voting in 2018, when I was on my cross-country trailer trip, and I decided then that having my ballot mailed to me for every election would guarantee my ability to vote from home for the rest of my life. I had no idea how much it would benefit me just two years later, and I’m encouraging everyone I know to do the same to make sure that they too can exercise their franchise without fear of Covid-19 or any other unforeseen future event.
In order to advance our society to a more egalitarian one, it is absolutely necessary that everyone who is legally eligible to vote be enabled to do so as easily and securely as possible. Providing each and every registered voter in the country with a postage-paid mail-in ballot is the very least we can do. Although I’ve always thought that voting should be mandatory rather than voluntary (it is one of the few things I think every citizen should be required to do as their civic duty), making it easier for all who can vote to vote is the closest we can get. If that results in Republicans being voted out of office, then so be it. However, Republican Senators Cory Gardner, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee would disagree with the premise that mail-in ballots favor Democrats, as they represent states with all mail-in ballots, along with members of the House from Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah.
Therefore, it is time for the Democrats to do everything they can to protect our health as well as our ability to vote in November, because Trump will do whatever he can to remain in office, including preventing the election from happening and regardless of the threat to the citizenry from the novel coronavirus. Laws are just norms that everyone agrees to follow that under normal circumstances are upheld by the Justice Department. Without an Attorney General who believes in upholding the law, there is a very high likelihood that Trump will do something illegal about which William Barr will do nothing. We have to do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening.