The Republican party is in a tight corner and they know it. That’s the main reason, although not the only one, that so many GOPers are jumping on board the Trump Big Lie train, and going on and on about election integrity. They know there’s no voter fraud, let alone widespread. Even Karl Rove said that that would have involved a conspiracy of James Bond movie proportions to have significantly affected the outcome of the 2020 election and to forget about it.
But, on the other hand, and this is key, the Republican party has only survived thus far due to gerrymandering and voter suppression. It is not coincidence that there are presently 253 bills to restrict voting rights under consideration in 43 states. The bills seek to make voting harder by 1) reducing opportunities for early voting, 2) limiting mail-in ballots, 3) eliminating drop boxes and Trump’s favorite, because he thinks you can’t go grocery shopping without one, 4) voter IDs.
It’s all an outworking of the voter fraud myth which Trump created and which is now baked into the ethos of the Republican party, because when you don’t have policies or a platform, you grab at anything to have an identity. Mitch McConnell wants to marry the voter fraud myth to the voter suppression machinery he’s already got in motion and that’s what the latest case before the Supreme Court today is all about. Judd Legum, Popular Information:
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear a new case that could dismantle what’s left of the [Voting Rights Act] law. The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, concerns an Arizona law passed in 2016. The law required that ballots cast in the wrong precinct be thrown out entirely — even if the votes for statewide candidates were perfectly valid. It also prohibited anyone other than an immediate family member or caretaker from helping someone return an absentee ballot.
The Democratic Party sued, arguing that the policies resulted in discrimination. Specifically, “Latino, Native American, and Black voters in Arizona have their ballots rejected for being out-of-precinct reason far more often than their white counterparts.” The party argued this was “because poll locations were moved around very frequently in Arizona’s communities of color.” The Democratic Party noted also noted that Native Americans residing on reservations needed more assistance returning their ballots because they “often reside far from polling places and have nontraditional addresses and limited mail access.”
Ultimately, the Democratic Party won on appeal under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 2 prohibits changes to voting procedures that result in minority voters having “less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process.” Plaintiffs suing under Section 2, which can only happen after a law goes into effect, do not have to prove that the change in voting procedures had a discriminatory purpose. […]
The Supreme Court decided to take up the case. And Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), are urging the court to use Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee to strike down Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. It would be a devastating blow to voting rights in the United States. But with conservatives now holding a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, it’s a distinct possibility. [emphasis mine]
If McConnell and Cruz have their way, states will have free reign to change time, place and manner of voting procedures at will, and if those changes have a disparate impact on minority voters, oh well. For example, if you had a bill in Georgia limiting early voting on weekends, that would fall outside the reach of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the argument being that only the time for voting is being changed, so no biggy. However, in the real world, a lot of Black voters choose to vote on weekends, on their days off. So it would be discriminatory as hell — and McConnell and Cruz and the rest of them know it.
Alternatively, the Supreme Court could take a middle path. It could uphold the Arizona restrictions but not announce any systemic changes to how it interprets Section 2. That would be a step backward for Arizona, but not preclude future challenges to most state voting restrictions. With the current composition of the Court, that’s probably the best outcome for voting rights advocates.
That is probably the best case scenario. The worst is that we see a throw back to the Jim Crow times. And don’t think that that wasn’t exactly what Hawley, Cruz and the rest of them were all shilling for at CPAC last weekend, nudge nudge wink wink, and so was Trump with his now standard diatribe about how mail-in voting cost him the election.
The GOP is spit between its old school and its wingnut factions right now and it is anybody’s guess what’s going to come out in the wash.