Categories
Analysis News

Courts strike down Alabama and Ohio gerrymanders as Tennessee cracks Nashville

As states and local governments across the country redraw political maps for every office from city council to US House of Representatives, gerrymandering is in the news a lot lately.

We’ll start with Alabama, where a federal court has struck down the state’s congressional map as a racial gerrymander. Although the US Supreme Court under its current conservative majority has decided that federal courts cannot weigh into partisan gerrymandering, state courts remain free to act in defense of democracy. Federal courts may also enforce what’s left of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires states to create majority-minority districts if an electorate is racially polarized.

Alabama’s legislature enacted a congressional map that was expected to produce a 6-1 Republican majority. The ACLU, NAACP, and other organizations sued, contending that the state’s black voters – which constitute about 27 percent of the population – were relegated to a single majority-minority district representing only 14 percent of the state’s population. They successfully argued that a second majority-minority district is required under the VRA.

“Black people drove a disproportionate share of Alabama’s population growth. Throughout last year, Black Alabamians publicly called on the Legislature to recognize this reality and sought equal representation in Congress,” said NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Senior Counsel Deuel Ross. “The state ignored these demands, but we are deeply gratified that the unanimous court found that Black voters deserve full representation now. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that Black voters are fairly represented in any remedial map.”

“Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” a three-judge panel consisting of two Trump appointees and one Clinton appointee wrote in its opinion, striking down Alabama’s racial gerrymander.

In its ruling, the court gave the legislature fourteen days to produce a new map that creates two majority-minority districts. If the legislature fails to act, the court will do so itself. An appeal is likely.

Ohio maps struck down

Meanwhile, in Ohio, the state’s Supreme Court struck down a gerrymander of the state’s congressional map. As we previously reported, the Ohio Supreme Court previously struck down state legislative maps as an unconstitutional gerrymander.

As we noted:

The gerrymandered maps are the product of the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission, which includes five Republicans and two Democrats. The commission produced a map – over the objections of the two Democratic members – that was expected to give Republicans a 62-37 advantage in the state House and a 23-10 advantage in the state Senate.

That’s despite former president Trump only winning Ohio 53-45% during the 2020 presidential election. Such skewed maps were likely to result in a Republican majority in both chambers regardless of the will of voters – even during campaign cycles that strongly favored Democrats.

However, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2015 that curtailed gerrymandering within the state. The amendment requires the commission to create boundaries that result in politically competitive districts.

The same 4-3 majority that voted to strike down the state legislative maps also axed the congressional gerrymander. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, cast the deciding vote. According to an analysis of the approved Congressional map, Republicans were favored in 12 of 15 districts. To put that in perspective, Republicans were favored to win 80 percent of House districts versus the 53 percent that the party received at the top of the ballot in 2020.

What’s quite stunning is that the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision was even a split decision. The state constitution expressly forbids gerrymandering thanks to a voter-approved ballot initiative that received over 70 percent support. Yet three of the conservative justices on the state supreme court – including the son of the incumbent governor who served on the Ohio Redistricting Commission that produced the gerrymandered maps in the first place (and incidentally refused to recuse himself) – voted to uphold the maps as constitutional.

Tennessee Republicans crack Nashville

Not all news on the gerrymandering front has been good.

Tennessee is the latest state to enact its congressional maps. Like Alabama, the state’s Republicans are aiming to limit Democrats to a single congressional district in an aggressive racial gerrymander that cracks the city of Nashville into multiple districts.

Prior to the newly-enacted map, the city of Nashville resided in a single congressional district. Democrat Jim Cooper is the long-time representative of the solidly blue 5th Congressional District that Joe Biden won by 24 points in 2020. Cooper announced his retirement this week after the gerrymandered map passed the legislature.

Although Nashville is a Democratic bastion, the surrounding congressional districts are solidly Republican. The new map carves Nashville into three different districts that stretch out to take in rural counties. The effect is to dilute the votes of the city’s black and brown voters, swamping them with rural white Republicans.

As the Tennessean reports:

The share of the population made up by Black residents in Tennessee’s potential new 5th Congressional District would plummet. In the proposed new 7th, Black residents would account for 16% of the district’s population. In the new 6th, Black residents would account for less than 10%. In the 5th, the Black population would fall to 11.9%.

Black residents account for 24.3% of the population in the current 5th Congressional District, represented by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville.

All of the new Nashville-based districts will have a Republican lean, although it’s conceivable that one or two of the districts may become competitive later in the decade if Nashville’s population continues to boom and newcomers from out of state bring left-leaning voting habits with them.

For now, the 5th Congressional District will go from D+9 to R+8. As for the rest of Tennessee’s congressional districts, the state is now looking at an 8-1 map where Democrats are relegated to a single VRA-protected district centered around Memphis.

The bottom line is that Tennessee Republicans are trying to muzzle Nashville’s black and brown voters, which should come as no surprise since this is a state that is censoring teachers on race. Expect a court fight in the weeks and months ahead.

Photo Credit: Jason MrachinaFlickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Categories
Analysis News Opinion

Gosar and Rittenhouse are the Republican Party of 2021

In a sick and twisted sense, it’s fitting that white supremacists celebrate the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict the same week that House Republicans stood with Representative Paul Gosar for fantasizing about murdering AOC.

If you haven’t been following the news recently, you may not have heard that far-right Congressman Paul Gosar tweeted a doctored video of him murdering Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and striking President Joe Biden. While both of those points have rightly gotten considerable media attention, the video also featured undocumented immigrants crossing the border. The not-too-subtle suggestion from the video is that immigrants crossing the border should be treated with violence.

Apparently, those messages are A-OK with Gosar’s Republican colleagues in the House. After all, only two Republicans voted to censure him: Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Cheney and Kinzinger are the same Republican representatives who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his coup attempt and currently sit on the 1/6 Committee investigating the insurrection.

The kid-glove approach to Gosar contrasts sharply with how House Republicans are treating other members of their conference. They have already punished Liz Cheney (formerly the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives) for daring to tell the truth about 1/6. They are threatening to punish the 13 moderate Republicans who voted for Biden’s infrastructure bill. (Those same members are also receiving death threats.) Yet all but two House Republicans stood with Representative Gosar when he all-but-encouraged violence against a colleague.

Gosar – who has already been implicated in the insurrection and whose six siblings were featured in an extraordinary ad opposing his re-election – took note of that support. After initially deleting the tweet, he retweeted the video after the censure vote in an act of defiance. The lesson that he apparently learned was that his Republican colleagues had his back and that he should double down.

To be sure, not all of his Republican colleagues agree with Gosar’s extremism; some have mildly condemned it while opposing the censure on weak procedural grounds, arguing that it went too far in stripping him of committee assignments. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) expressed concern with the precedent that the censure would set. Oddly, he had less concern about the precedent set from doing little to nothing when a member of Congress threatens another member.

Aside from Cheney and Kinzinger, everyone else in the House Republican conference is either sympathetic to Gosar or too cowardly to stand up to him. They either outwardly support violence or refuse to condemn it in a meaningful way.

What does that tell us? The fascist takeover of the House Republican conference is all but complete.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Categories
Analysis News

Trump defends supporters’ ‘hang Mike Pence’ chants on 1/6

In newly released audio, former president Donald Trump defends his supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence!” during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The audio comes from an interview with the former president conducted by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl. The interview took place in March 2021 for the upcoming book Betrayal, which is set for publication on November 16.

“Were you ever worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?” Karl asked Trump during the interview.

Trump predictably said no, adding that he thought that the chant was “common sense,” citing the bogus claim that there was election fraud. Trump had urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the counting of the Electoral College votes.

Although reporting has since found that Pence hemmed and hawed, consulting both former Vice President Dan Quayle and the Senate parliamentarian to determine his authority, he ultimately refused, drawing the ire of Trump and his mob of supporters who attacked the Capitol.

Investigating the coup attempt

The 1/6 Committee is stepping up its investigation, subpoenaing Trump administration officials and campaign staffers, even as members of Congress receive death threats. The bipartisan committee is examining Trump’s role in organizing and fomenting an insurrection in a desperate attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

While we have consistently used the words “coup attempt” to describe January 6th – after all, it bears all of the hallmarks of a self-coup – major media outlets have only recently begun to recognize the concerted effort to subvert America’s democracy and install an illegitimate president.

We’re hardly alone in acknowledging this. The Brookings Institute recognized the coup attempt for what it was back on January 9.

Charles T. Call writes:

Trump’s behavior constitutes a self-coup since he has sought to undermine the integrity of the November 3 election and has sought to overturn the results of an election. He urged voters to illegally vote twice; he sought to disenfranchise voters; he sought to coerce officials to alter the vote results. On January 6, Trump explicitly urged the mob to “walk down to the Capitol,” to “demand that Congress do the right thing,” to “show strength,” and to “take back our country.”

Trump’s mob

It should come as no surprise that Trump defended his supporters when they chanted “hang Mike Pence.” When the mob descended on the US Capitol, they did so at Trump’s behest.

While the 1/6 Committee is doing its job – despite the best efforts of Trump to undermine the investigation – Congress needs to step up and defend American democracy with stronger voting rights laws and enforcement against states that engage in voter suppression.

Categories
Analysis News

Republicans who voted for bipartisan infrastructure bill receive death threats

Republican members of Congress who helped pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill are receiving death threats from far-right extremists.

The Washington Post reports:

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has received multiple death threats in the days since he voted for President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, with the overwhelming majority of the calls coming from outside the congressman’s district.

In a CNN interview Monday night, Upton played the audio of one of the calls, which he said came from a man in South Carolina.

“You’re a f—ing piece of s— traitor. I hope you die,” the man can be heard saying. In the expletive-filled call, he goes on to say he hopes Upton’s family and his entire staff die.

An Upton spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Upton told CNN his office has received several such calls after a House colleague tweeted the names and office phone numbers of the Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. The measure passed the House on Friday with a 228-to-206 vote, two months after it was approved by the Senate on an overwhelming 69-to-30 vote.

It’s worth noting that Upton was among those who voted to impeach Donald Trump for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump leads the far-right attack

Donald Trump took direct aim at the thirteen House Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the bipartisan bill, calling them “RINOs” for supporting the measure. The bill passed 69-30 in the Senate back in June.

Meanwhile, some of the most conservative Republican members of the House lambasted their colleagues, promising recriminations in the form of primary challenges.

“I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill,” Representative Matt Gaetz tweeted.

“Insanity”

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, a member of the 1/6 Committee, says that “a party with leaders like Kevin McCarthy, that cannot stand up to the insanity from people like Greene, Gaetz, Gosar, etc, is going to have a hard time standing up to countries like China.”

Needless to say, death threats over a bill that funds roads, bridges, and public transit is not normal. It’s yet another sign of the ugliness in our politics and the fascist impulses of a growing number of Republicans.

The unhinged comments from Gaetz et al and the death threats from their supporters come within days of Representative Paul Gosar tweeting a threatening video at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

As the AP puts it:

In the past week, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a video showing a character with his face killing a figure with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face. Several of the 13 House Republicans who backed a bipartisan infrastructure bill said they faced threats after their vote. In one profanity-laced voicemail, a caller labeled Rep. Fred Upton a “traitor” and wished death for the Michigan Republican, his family and staff.

The response from Republican leaders? Silence.

Extremist members of Congress like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Paul Gosar are no longer outliers in a radicalized Republican Party. Worse yet, they’re giving cover to the most violent elements in the party’s base, which already staged an insurrection as part of an attempted coup.

Categories
News

Republican-backed election review shows that Biden won Arizona

President Biden’s lead in Arizona increased after a Republican-backed election review found no evidence supporting claims of fraud.

The Republican-backed “audit” of the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona was designed to show that Trump actually won the state. The Republican-controlled state senate funded the review, which was conducted by a company whose CEO spread pro-Trump conspiracy theories.

However, as the New York Times reports, it didn’t go exactly to plan:

After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former President Donald J. Trump was cheated of victory, according to draft versions of the report.

In fact, the draft report from the company Cyber Ninjas found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Mr. Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix.

As the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, David Becker, puts it: “If Trump and his supporters can’t prove it here [in Arizona], with a process they designed, they can’t prove it anywhere.”

Categories
News

In donating to Sedition Caucus, Toyota chooses profits over democracy

Japanese automaker Toyota donated to more Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of the Electoral College than any other company.

According to Axios based on data from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Toyota donated $55,000 so far this year to 37 of the objectors. That’s about a quarter of the Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn the election results.

In addition to Toyota, CREW reports that corporate America has donated to 109 of the 147 members who objected to the election results. The good-government group deemed these members the “Sedition Caucus” for voting to advance the Big Lie and nullify election results even after Trump supporters staged a violent insurrection meant to stop the certification.

In a statement, Toyota dug in its heels and arguably dug itself even further in the hole: “We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.”

In other words, Toyota does not care one bit about the health of our democracy so long as they can profit from favorable taxes and regulations. This is not surprising, given corporate America’s anti-democratic track record – particularly from Koch Industries, which was among the donors to the Sedition Caucus.

However, the news should give Toyota owners second thoughts about supporting a company that funnels their money to opponents of democracy.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Categories
Analysis News

For Republicans, democracy is the Enemy

It’s not unusual in the current political era to hear the words authoritarianism or fascism or anti-democratic. In previous years, it would have been nearly unheard of for mainstream news network anchors to use these words to describe American politicians and entire political parties. But now, it’s becoming increasingly normalized in an era where Republicans continue to attack democracy at the state and federal levels.

Medhi Hasan, who hosts a show on MSNBC, stated during the summer of 2020:

It’s time in America that we have a proper conversation about the f-word: Fascism… I know, I know. It’s very controversial and people get very uncomfortable when you mention it. But to borrow a line – if not now, when? And if not us, the free press, then who? For far too long, we have shied away from saying the f-word. For a lot of people, calling Donald Trump a fascist was ad hominem, a lazy political insult. It was the liberal who cried wolf. And yet, look what happened the moment he took office.

Dean Obeidallah, a SiriusXM Progress radio show host and MSNBC Opinion Column tributor, noted in an article published one week after the attack on the Capitol:

Experts have documented that the Republican Party in recent years has increasingly rejected democratic norms and embraced autocratic tactics to wield power. An October study by V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden warned that the GOP had already been moving in that direction pre-Trump, but it said that under Trump, with “the disrespect of political opponents” and “the encouragement of violence,” the GOP now more closely resembles authoritarian ruling parties like Hungary’s Fidesz and Turkey’s AKP.

Obeidallah continues:

In fact, a GOP member of Congress told Politico that days after the siege, the message he heard from his constituents was not shock about the attack but more along the lines of “Do you think that Congress got the message?” And some Republicans noted that constituents such as “preachers, school superintendents, churchgoing men and women,” as Politico reported, were actually cheering on the attack rather than condemning it.

If these polls are accurate, that means 1 in 5 Republicans approve of embracing violence to keep political power. That is the textbook definition of fascism. If this extremist wing of the GOP goes unchecked, it is likely to spread as Republicans become angrier with election losses and resort to attempting to acquire power by using force.

Jelani Cobb, writing for the New Yorker further details the anti-democratic slide of the Republican Party:

…the G.O.P.’s steady drift toward the right, from conservative to reactionary politics; its dependence on older, white voters; its reliance on right-wing media; its support for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; and its increasing disdain for democratic institutions and norms all portend increasing division and a diminishing pool of voters. Republicans, Patterson says, have been depending on a “rear-guard strategy” to “resist the ticking clock of a changing America.” Time may be running out for the Party, as its base ages and dwindles. “Its loyal voters are declining in number and yet have locked the party in place,” Patterson writes. “It cannot reinvent itself without risking their support and, in any event, it can’t reinvent itself in a convincing enough way for a quick turnaround. Republicans have traded the party’s future for yesterday’s America.”

Cobb continues with a rather stark warning from a former Republican official:

Jennifer Horn, the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, told me that the G.O.P., in its current incarnation, is “the most open embrace of an anti-democracy movement that we have seen in our country in a very long time.”

We would argue that this is the most open embrace of anti-democracy that we’ve seen at any time in this country’s history.

Horn shows us that not every single Republican has turned against democracy. But Republicans who are desperately trying to salvage a party that crossed the Rubicon into authoritarianism long ago are declining in numbers and influence.

A recent poll commissioned by Reuters-Ipsos poll found that 53% of Republicans believe that Trump remains the “true president.” An additional 8% believe that the election was at least somewhat likely stolen from Trump. It’s not that these numbers for a losing party in a general election are unprecedented, although they are very high. The problem is the context surrounding these numbers where you now have a former president, who incited an insurrection against the US Capitol with members of Congress inside who were certifying the vote of a presidential election, spending months saying that the election was stolen, in addition to the longevity and endurance of Republican election lie intransigence.

Trump’s own officials at the Department of Homeland Security released a statement declaring that the 2020 Election was the most secure in American history. The only reason Republicans are against all of the evidence we have that points to the accuracy and security of last year’s election is that they are turning against democracy itself and embracing authoritarianism.

Republicans won’t necessarily disagree with this. There are some prominent Republicans in Congress who have hinted at democracy becoming a hindrance to their agenda.

Utah Senator Mike Lee stated in a tweet last October:

We’re not a democracy. Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.

The word ‘democracy’ appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic. To me, it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few.

The “we’re not a democracy; we’re a republic” line is often parroted by conservatives. This has always been misleading because they use this to create a false dichotomy between republics and democracies to justify their unpopular political positions. The US is a representative democracy, a democratic republic, and a constitutional republic. It’s all synonymous. It is true that we are not a direct (Athenian) democracy, but we’re not arguing for such a thing.

Conservatives have used this line historically to downplay democracy when it runs against their political ambitions. Senator Lee’s statement came at a time when democracy was already under severe attack from Trump before the 2020 election. So in this context, we can only view Senator Lee’s statement as denouncing democracy itself.

Vox published an article in March with 13 charts showing the depth of the anti-democracy movement in the Republican Party.

Vox notes:

At every level, from the elite down to rank-and-file voters, the party is permeated with anti-democratic political attitudes and agendas. And the prospects for rescuing the Republican Party, at least in the short term, look grim indeed.

The first chart is a panel commissioned in late 2020 and early 2021 by the University of Washington. The study found that anti-democratic attitudes run deep throughout the Republican Party.

By 70% to nearly 100%, the Trump voters interviewed embraced highly anti-democratic ideas such as support for Trump’s Big Lie and believing that voting should be made more difficult. Over two-thirds believed that Trump deserved 3 terms in office – not unlike notorious dictators around the world who spend decades in office and claim to have 99% support in elections.

An American Perspectives Survey completed in January 2021 showed that some 39% of Republicans interviewed supported violence if leaders didn’t “act to protect America.” Violence, of course, being the ultimate authoritarian expression. It represents an ominous turn against democracy.

The Global Party Survey in 2019 found that the Republican Party was one of the most anti-democratic political parties in the world.

While Republicans have increased their attacks on democracy on the federal level, for instance, through the abuse of the filibuster, the largest and most enduring attacks remain at the state level where bills are being created, debated, and even passed to roll back voting rights to an unprecedented level not seen since before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Republicans understand that the only way they win going forward is to seriously curtail democracy. Not only is their embrace of Trump a huge turn-off to a strong majority of the US population, but their policies are also trending more unpopular as time goes on amid technological and demographic changes and younger generations who are coming of age under conditions far different than their more conservative parents.

The conservative policies of previous decades have created an increasing imbalance and tension in US society that they’re now having to fight against. The minimum wage is criminally low while the cost of living continues to rise. The so-called American dream remains out of reach for an increasing number of people. Technology continues to have a huge impact on our society in terms of the information available which is causing many to question what they had been taught by their more conservative parents and teachers during their younger years. The youngest generations only know of life with the internet and information at our fingertips. The suppression and oppression of people of color is also becoming more untenable in our changing society. The unprecedented protests following the police murder of George Floyd and the unprecedented support of Black Lives Matter from whites in 2020 create a major problem for conservative and right-wing politics.

Instead of moderating and modifying their politics to match the changing dynamics of our society, a large portion of Republicans have chosen the authoritarian route. They’ve chosen a literal scorched earth strategy. If they can’t hold on to the dying old society, they will burn both this democracy and this country to the ground. For them, democracy is the enemy.

Image Credit: Shay Horse of Getty Images

Categories
News

Murkowski slams Republican colleagues over January 6 Commission opposition

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has criticized her Republican colleagues for their opposition to the January 6 Commission.

At the urging of Donald Trump and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the vast majority of Senate Republicans plan to block the bill that would establish an independent commission tasked with investigating the insurrection. The commission would also make recommendations for preventing a future attack on the Capitol.

As we reported earlier today, only three Republicans in the Senate – including Murkowski – have signaled that they would vote against a planned filibuster when the bill comes up sometime tonight. That isn’t sitting well with Murkowski.

CNN reports on her comments:

“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us, on January 6, I think we need to look at that critically,” she said.

“Is that really what this is about is everything is just one election cycle after another? Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. .. One of those is that we have free and fair elections, and we respect the results of those elections and we allow for a peaceful transition of power. I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election,” she continued.

It’s too bad that Senator Murkowski is in the minority within her party. If there were more Republicans like her, Trumpism might have never taken hold in the first place.

Image Credit: AFGE, Flickr

Categories
News

Cheney removed from House Republican leadership

Republicans in the House of Representatives followed through with their expected removal of Representative Liz Cheney from party leadership over her refusal to embrace the Big Lie.

The AP reports:

House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader on Wednesday, punishing her after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Meeting behind closed doors for less than 20 minutes, GOP lawmakers used a voice vote to remove the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership post, the latest evidence that challenging Trump can be career-threatening.

We do not have a roll call of who voted to remove her because it was a voice vote, although Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise both publicly supported her removal. If Republicans were to regain control of the House after next year’s elections, McCarthy would likely become Speaker of the House and Scalise Majority Leader.

The vote was expected, but the result is nonetheless startling. One of America’s two major political parties just instituted a litmus test requiring its members to either advance Donald Trump’s lie that the election was stolen or else remain silent. If they speak the truth, they will be punished.

In a floor speech before the vote, Cheney warned her party about the danger to American democracy.

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” she said. “I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

Categories
News

Florida is the latest state to restrict voting rights

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a voter suppression bill into law earlier today during a Fox & Friends segment.

The Washington Post reports:

Like similar bills that Republicans are pushing in dozens of state legislatures nationwide, the Florida measure adds hurdles to voting by mail, restricts the use of drop boxes and prohibits any actions that could influence those standing in line to vote, which voting rights advocates said is likely to discourage nonpartisan groups from offering food or water to voters as they wait.

Florida’s law is immediately drawing challenges from nonpartisan voting rights, civil rights, and good government groups. The League of Women Voters of Florida is among those suing the state.

“Senate Bill 90 does not impede all of Florida’s voters equally,” the League of Women Voters argues in a lawsuit that they filed with two civil rights groups. “It is crafted to and will operate to make it more difficult for certain types of voters to participate in the state’s elections, including those voters who generally wish to vote with a vote-by-mail ballot and voters who have historically had to overcome substantial hurdles to reach the ballot box, such as Florida’s senior voters, youngest voters, and minority voters.”

CNN reports that in addition to the League of Women Voters lawsuit, other groups filed their own legal challenges to the new law:

A separate lawsuit filed Thursday morning by Common Cause, Florida branches of the NAACP and a disabilities rights group describes the new law as “the latest in a long line of voter suppression laws targeting Florida’s Black voters, Latino voters, and voters with disabilities.”

Florida’s new voting restrictions come a little more than a month after Georgia passed a similar bill derided as Jim Crow 2.0. The Georgia voter suppression law makes it illegal to give food or water to voters waiting in line. It also limits the use of convenient and secure ballot drop boxes, shortens the window to request a mail-in ballot, and restricts in-person early voting hours.

The assault on voting rights looks likely to continue. Texas and other Republican-led states are considering similar bills. HR 1 (also known as the For the People Act) is necessary to combat these concerted and organized attacks on our democracy.