Thursday, November 19, 2020


I detect a subtle shift in the way we're talking about the current Republican assault on democracy. This is from an editorial in The Washington Post:
Indeed, Mr. Trump may be setting a new precedent for how one wins elections in the United States: First, hold a vote; next, see whether you can bully enough state and local officials into manipulating the vote-counting and certification process on your behalf. The strategy could prove more viable in a closer election. Whether it works then will depend on whether public officials from the lowliest county clerk to the most senior U.S. senator allow previously pro forma matters of election administration to become partisan weapons.
And this is from Ben Mathis-Lilley at Slate:
People have been warning for a while that someday there’ll be a more capable and ruthless version of Donald Trump, but Republicans’ current rear guard actions against the election results demonstrate that, for his party, the necessary ruthlessness is already in place. They just need a closer margin of votes to apply it to.
It's time to start saying outright what's implied here: This kind of election theft doesn't require a Trump. If a few states are close in the 2024 election, we should be ready for Republicans to do this even on behalf of a "mainstream" candidate like Nikki Haley or Marco Rubio. We should be ready for them to do it the next time a Democrat wins a governor's race in a Republican-dominated state, or the next time a state legislative chamber switches from Republican to Democratic.

And we should expect them to do it if Democrats manage to win both Georgia Senate runoffs. We're asking whether Democrats can prevail in those races, but an equally important question is: How much would they have to win by before Republicans would accept the election results?

In the main Georgia race, David Perdue beat Jon Ossoff by 86,636 votes. In the special election, six Republican and eight Democrats ran (as well as a Green, a Libertarian, and several independents); the Republicans received 46,443 more votes than the Democrats.

So if Democrats win, they're unlikely to win by large margins. Which means, in all likelihood, we'll be spending much of January the way we're spending November if Democrats prevail.

Mathis-Lilley writes:
A movement that’s willing to engage in the straightforward racial disenfranchisement of an entire city and risk the failure of government in order to overturn an election will probably not be beaten back by making its supporters feel guilty. Perhaps the only solution is to promise the kind of mutually assured frustration that the residents of [Michigan's] Wayne County delivered—a level of pushback, outrage, vigilance, and friction that makes the process exhausting on both sides. Maybe Monica Palmer and William Hartmann [the two Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers] just got scared of how they’d be perceived nationally and tired of getting yelled at and threatened with lawsuits themselves; if so, good. That’s how they should feel. They should feel like they are outnumbered, and that everyone else is tired of their shit, because it’s true.
I've had the thought that maybe Democrats should have pushed back in the presidential election by suing over the election results in North Carolina, which Trump (and Senator Thom Tillis) won narrowly, or maybe suing over Ossoff's narrow loss in Georgia. Is that the only way we can make this painful enough for Republicans? By stooping to their level?

Because they're not going to stop. Their voters now believe -- and, by the way, have believed for years -- that Democratic electoral victories are routinely fraudulent. Expect those voters to demand a challenge in every close election Democrats win -- and maybe every important election that isn't a blowout -- from now on.

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