GOP Loses All Pretense Of Caring About Democracy
Republicans aren’t even pretending to believe in democracy anymore. In Florida, Rick Scott is seeing his lead against Bill Nelson evaporate as the votes from Broward and Palm Beach counties finally get counted. Those same votes are also whittling into to Ron DeSantis’ lead over Andrew Gillum. In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema has take a lead over Martha McSally as the state’s last day mail-in votes start to get counted. And in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who has spent the last two years engaging in a massive voter suppression effort, announced that gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp had won the election over Stacey Abrams.
Scott’s response to the actual counting of votes has been to declare that Broward and Palm Beach election officials are engaging in electoral fraud in attempt to steal the election. He has declared that he has filed a lawsuit to stop the votes from being counted and is also “using his police powers as governor to do so”, stating he will order the Florida Division of Law Enforcement to investigate the “fraud”. There is no fraud, just the counting of valid votes and Scott knows that full well. But his claims are having the desired effect as it appears once again that Republican supporters are gathering outside the Broward County election offices in a scene reminiscent of the “Brooks Brothers riot” that prevented votes being counted in 2000.
Broward has unusual voting patterns, but those actually benefit Scott, not Nelson. 3.7% of the ballots in the county have no vote for Senate, nearly 4 times the average for any other county in the state. It is unclear whether this is a tabulation error or yet another problem with the layout of the ballot.
In addition, DeSantis’ margin has also now fallen below the recount threshold. So far, Gillum has not rescinded his concession but has expressed the desire to go ahead with the recount if that margin does not increase.
In Arizona, there are still hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes yet to be counted. Yet Arizona Republicans have sued, challenging the way those votes are counted based on how signature verification on those ballots is carried out after election day. Again, these are valid votes and the procedures to count them that the GOP is using have been in place for a number of election cycles. The move, while unlikely to survive a court challenge, has annoyed even Cindy McCain who tweeted “I am m one of those mail in ballots. I was under the impression my vote was always counted.” Actually, it’s only certain votes Republicans don’t want to count and it’s probably not Cindy McCain’s.
In Georgia, Brian Kemp has almost assuredly won more votes thanks to his years of voter suppression. But Kemp needs to receive over 50% of the vote in order to avoid a run-off election against Abrams early next month. Currently, he has just 50.3%, with apparently nearly 25,000 provisional ballots to be counted. That number comes from Kemp’s Secretary of State’s office but, according to the Abrams’ campaign, the details behind that number have been lacking.
These challenges are crossing a new line in the Republican assault on our democracy. In the past, such as 2000, the party has been successful in challenging the counting votes during mandated recounts. It’s not enough for them to put up extraordinary barriers to even voting. Now, however, Republicans are attempting to stop actual, original votes from being counted even before we get to a recount.
Of course, Trump is chiming in with the bogus “fraud” accusations. Marco Rubio is right there with him. Rubio, like every other Senate Republican and Republican in general, seems perfectly fine with the President declaring “fraud” in an election without any evidence. Trump did the same in the run-up to the 2016 election until he surprisingly won (thanks Jim Comey!).
Republicans are fine with a President using the military as a prop in an election, even deploying them on US soil. Republicans are fine with firing the Attorney General and replacing him with a loyalist who may effectively neuter the Mueller investigation and whose appointment is arguably illegal as it avoids Senate confirmation. It remains to be seen but seems highly doubtful Republicans, especially in the Senate, will object if, in fact, the Mueller investigation is muzzled. Republicans are fine with Trump threatening to investigate House Democrats if they engage in their constitutional duty of executive branch oversight, enlisting his loyal AG or even, as Trump suggested, Senate Republicans to carry those investigations out.
Republicans are fine with the White House barring a credentialed reporter simply for asking question and then releasing a doctored, propaganda video in order to discredit him. It goes without saying at this point that Republicans are fine with racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia as that is what so many of them ran on in 2018. And Republicans will also be fine with the fact that Trump was involved in every step of the negotiations that silenced Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal despite his consistent denials otherwise and the fact that it was a clear violation of campaign finance laws.
These are dark times and it seems clear that we are in a long, terrible battle to save our democracy. It’s too bad so many Republicans are on the other side.