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Opponents of democracy by @BloggersRUs

Opponents of democracy

by Tom Sullivan

GOP leaders are asleep at the switch or worse, Joe Scarborough accuses, as forensic evidence piles up that Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB spy, and his employees in Russian military intelligence agency continue "coordinating attacks" on U.S. democracy. In this morning's Washington Post, Scarborough writes:

Imagine that U.S. military leaders spent most of 1941 warning President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Democratic Party of a coming Pearl Harbor attack. Then imagine history’s harsh judgment against FDR’s party had it ignored those concerns, voted against efforts to fortify the Pacific fleet and plotted the firing of generals who were working to expose the looming Japanese threat. Historians would have rightly savaged these politicians as traitors to their country.
Since 2017, Republicans have put party ahead of country to protect a "buffoon," Scarborough scolds. Gary Trudeau more graphically suggests a spineless GOP is well on its way towards putting its collective head where the sun never shines.

But the truth of it is the GOP has simply made a foreign adversary an ally in its own attacks on democracy. The headlines may hail from Washington, D.C., but the fighting is out in the provinces. The Post's Editorial Board rolls out the map to highlight the battle in North Carolina "where African Americans’ voting rights have been under siege."

At issue this morning is the state's laws regarding felons voting. By law here, felons regain voting rights automatically once their sentences are complete, including parole and probation. But the rules are not well publicized and in a state where African Americans make up a "hugely disproportionate share of convicted felons," some find themselves tripped up by the ambiguity. Auditors found 441 ballots improperly cast by felons in 2016. Most state prosecutors refrained from bringing charges, finding no intent to commit a crime:

Not so in Alamance County, a small locality in the Piedmont where a dozen individuals convicted of felonies, nine of them African Americans, cast votes. There, the Republican district attorney, Pat Nadolski, has gone forward with prosecutions that reflect his own lack of judgment while reminding the nation of North Carolina’s recent poisonous racial history.
But the truth of it is targeting African American felons is but one skirmish in GOP attacks on democracy in the states. If there is an election-rigging ploy North Carolina Republican legislators have not tried, they haven't thought of it yet. In 2016, the Post reminds readers, a federal court struck down the omnibus voting law that targeted blacks “with almost surgical precision.” Overnight, the GOP-led legislature expanded its proposed 2013 voting bill from a handful of pages to over 50 following the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder decision that removed the state from federal preclearance oversight.

A version of the strict voter ID law the Supreme Court declined to reinstate in 2017 will appear on the ballot this fall as a proposed constitutional amendment among a set of 6. Drawing from the plot of Jack Reacher, in which a sniper kills 5 people at random to hide fact that one is not random, Republicans have submitted 6 amendments to conceal that the real goal is passage of voter ID. The others are honey for the conservative base or more moves to consolidate power.

The party is also manipulating ballot order for the state Supreme Court race this fall and modifying party identification rules it already modified to favor its judicial candidates. “If at first you cheat to rig an election and succeed; try, try again,” declares an editorial from WRAL.

North Carolina joins Michigan, Wisconsin, and other GOP-controlled states in the contest for which legislature can whipsaw its voters more.

Two former Democratic state House members were present at a fundraiser here on Saturday. Both women lost their seats after being "double-bunked" by GOP redistricting in 2011. In one case at least, just moving the line over a few streets was enough. Regular readers may recall that I voted in the 2016 primary in NC-10, only to be back in NC-11 by November. Thanks to that surgical gerrymandering, the line has flipped back and forth over my house since 2011.

Attacks on democracy continue not just from without, but from within.

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