GOP Assault On Democracy Ramps Up For Next Decade
Eric Cortellesa over at the Washington Monthly has a write-up on the movie Vice (which I highly recommend) that concludes thusly, “It’s an unoriginal point, but [writer and director] McKay shows Cheney to be emblematic of what the Republican Party has really become about: not a set of ideas, not a vision of America’s role in the world, but a commitment to sustaining its own power, no matter the costs.” And Republicans are taking more and more extreme steps to fulfill that commitment.
The Commerce Department, under the leadership of serial liar Wilbur Ross, has just announced it will be providing citizenship data to states that request that data. This is entirely separate from the administration’s attempt to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census that is currently being litigated in court. But it will open up a new frontier in Republicans’ brazen attempts to change the rules of our democracy in order to maintain power.
The goal of offering this option is to allow red states to redistrict based on the number of citizens and their distribution throughout the state as opposed to the current method using total population. This, of course, will increase the representation of conservative, rural Republicans at the expense of Democrats who live in more urban areas with large immigrant populations.
At present, citizenship is part of a set of data from a more limited survey than the Census that is calculated annually and is provided to states and localities to ensure the districts that are drawn comply with the Voting Rights Ac,t which requires citizen voting-age populations to be considered. That requirement was the ostensible reason that the administration used in order to put the citizenship question on the Census to begin with. It is unclear whether this new directive from the Commerce Department is in anticipation of the citizenship question being added to the 2020 Census or whether it is really a signal to states to actually start redistricting by citizenship rather than population.
The Supreme Court has ruled that districts for federal elections be based on population but that requirement may not apply to state election districts. And redistricting by citizenship has been a hobby horse on the right for years and was included in the 2016 Republican platform which clearly stated “In order to preserve the principle of one person, one vote, we urge our elected representatives to ensure that citizenship, rather than mere residency, be made the basis for the apportionment of representatives among the states”. With a more reliably conservative Supreme Court, it would not be surprising to see Republicans test the case for citizenship-based redistricting, at least at the state level.
Meanwhile, the petty attacks on any democratic challenges to GOP power continue. North Carolina Republicans are still demanding that Mark Harris be seated in the new Congress despite pretty clear evidence that his campaign engaged in electoral fraud and the fact that the state board of elections has still not certified a winner. Considering the latter, Democrats will not, in fact, let Harris be seated. This is now further complicated by the fact that a court has forced the election board to dissolve, ruling it unconstitutional, and voiding, for the moment, the evidentiary hearing that was set up for January 11. The court’s decision was part of the protracted legal battle waged by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in the wake of the 2016 election where the Republican legislature attempted to strip his powers after his victory. Part of the legislature’s actions were to take the power to appoint board members away from the Governor. It is unclear whether Cooper can get a new board in place before the hearing is scheduled.
Up in Maine, outgoing Republican Governor Paul LePage finally certified the election of Democrat Jared Golden who won his election via the state’s new ranked-choice voting procedure. Golden did not win the most first-place votes but his incumbent opponent did not have more than the 50% required to avoid moving to the next phase that counted second-choice votes and in which Golden came out the victor. But LePage made sure to add a handwritten addendum to his signature certifying the vote that simply said “Stolen Election”.
Because Republicans never “lose” an election any more. They just have them stolen from them. But they are working as hard as they can to rig the system so that they really do never lose.