Wednesday, March 24, 2021


Jamelle Bouie writes:
What Are Republicans So Afraid Of?

Instead of conspiracy-mongering about an election they did well in, they could try to win real majorities.

There was a time, in recent memory, when the Republican Party both believed it could win a national majority and actively worked to build one.

Take the last Republican president before Donald Trump, George W. Bush. His chief political adviser, Karl Rove, envisioned a durable Republican majority, if not a permanent one. And Bush would try to make this a reality....

There is no such ambition, or confidence, in today’s Republican Party.

Convinced, after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, that there is no way to win the White House in a diverse electorate with high turnout, Republicans have made it their mission to restrict the vote as much as possible....

What’s striking about all this is that, far from evidence of Republican decline, the 2020 election is proof of Republican resilience, even strength. Trump won more than 74 million votes last year. He made substantial gains with Hispanic voters — reversing more than a decade of Republican decline — and improved with Black voters too. He lost, yes, but he left his party in better-than-expected shape in both the House and the Senate.

If Republicans could break themselves of Trump and look at last November with clear eyes, they would see that their fears of demographic eclipse are overblown and that they can compete — even thrive — in the kinds of high-turnout elections envisioned by voting rights activists.
But it's not fear. Republicans are doing what they're doing simply because they can, and because they know it will work.

Saying that Republicans are afraid to compete on a level electoral playing field with Democrats is like saying a Mafia family is afraid to engage in honest capitalist competition for the heroin market in a particular geographic area. In the case of the Mafia family, it's not fear. Carving out turf and defending it with violence is just how Mafia families operate.

Suppressing the Democratic vote, or otherwise neutralizing it via gerrymandering or filibusters, is how Republicans operate.

Mafiosi sometimes do outreach -- John Gotti was well loved in his neighborhood because his presence kept the neighbors safe and because he threw a great block party every Fourth of July. Republicans behave similarly -- using red meat rhetoric (and not very much legislation), they fight to hold on to Republican votes. They don't care what the rest of us think, just the way Gotti didn't care that his illegal Fourth of July fireworks upset the cops. He wasn't trying to do things in a way that had the law's approval. He didn't have to.

Republicans don't have to compete for non-Republican votes. They have plenty of influence now, and they could easily gain more over the next two election cycles. They might be on the verge of passing enough laws to prevent Democrats from ever regaining power.

Sure they, could compete for non-Republican votes. But operating this way is the business they've chosen.

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