GOP Does Not Believe In Democracy – Part 35
One of the features of the modern Republican party is its open contempt for the results of democratic elections, especially in the red state legislatures controlled by the GOP. In North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the Republican-held legislature voted to restrict the powers of the incoming Democratic governor in the lame-duck period after the Republican governor lost their election. In North Carolina, the legislature also attempted to take any control of the state Supreme Court and the state’s election boards away from the governor. In Pennsylvania, there was a failed Republican effort to impeach the entire state Supreme Court after it ruled the Republican-led legislature’s gerrymandering violated the state’s constitution. In West Virginia, the Republican legislature led a similar effort. In Missouri, a good-government constitutional amendment aimed at cleaning up the corruption in state government passed with overwhelming support in November, 2018. But the Republican-led legislature has already tried to gut that amendment by exempting all legislative records from being governed by the state’s open meetings and records laws.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Republican-led Florida legislature is also seeking to defy the will of the people of their state who also overwhelmingly passed an initiative to restore voting rights to felons last fall. The initiative would have restored voting rights to nearly 1.5 million Floridians, 10% of the total population and 20% of African Americans, and the process for getting those voters on the roll had already begun. This week, however, the Republicans have introduced a bill in the House that would deny voting privileges to felons who had not paid any and all fines, court fees, and their “cost of supervision”, which would include such things as parole. Under prior law, felons merely had to pay back any restitution imposed by the courts. This expands the burden on felons to include costs that they were not even made aware of when they were convicted or pled guilty in order to get their voting rights restored. In essence, this proposed Republican bill will institute a poll tax on felons in order to allow them to vote. As one Democratic legislature stated, “It’s blatantly unconstitutional as a poll tax”. It seems cruelly ironic for today’s Republican party to use the tactics of Jim Crow to deny the franchise, but hardly unexpected.
In light of all of the above, perhaps the media should stop asking the stupid gotcha question of “are you a socialist?” to the Democratic candidates, when clearly all of them believe in regulating capitalism, and instead start asking Republicans why they don’t believe in democracy, especially when their actions clearly illustrate they don’t.