The upcoming newspaper column:
It’s clear to all but the Foxified why Mitch McConnell bested his prior Himalayan heights of hypocrisy to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Women’s health, immigration, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage? Just frosting on the wedding cake; Mitch cares about them only to propitiate the basest Republican base. It was to protect the means by which his party has the presidency and both houses of Congress: egregious gerrymandering and dishonest voter suppression laws. Both issues are at or approaching the Supreme Court, where Neil Gorsuch isn’t even pretending he’s not a partisan zealot.
You lost, they say. Get over it. Yes. We did. Everyone lost. Democracy lost. Getting over it before addressing what happened is exactly what Trump and Republicans in Congress and state legislatures want. Vladimir Putin, too.
But it was the Electoral College, people say. Yes. Conceived when there were no political parties, no popular elections, or, for that matter, announced candidates. If we’re to keep it, let’s return to original intent: states choose electors who, on their own, sequestered from the rest of us, meet to select our president. They could wear wigs and work by the light of whale oil.
But it empowers small states, they say. Yes. Which already have disproportionate power in the Senate. In the House, too, where gerrymandered red states’ districts unequally produce Republican winners, and where fewer citizens are represented by their elected, giving residents of small states relatively more influence over legislation. Gerrymandering turns minorities into majorities.
If any position deserves popular election, with every vote having the same weight, it’s the president of all of us. Why should a Nebraskan have more impact on the choice of president than, say, a Washingtonian? This time, the Electoral College got us exactly what the founders wished to prevent: kakistocracy.
But it is what it is. So let’s talk about voter suppression. Again. Because it’s as un-American and dangerous as a president threatening (non-existent) “licenses” of news networks he doesn’t like; i.e., all but one.
Notwithstanding Trumtalitarian lies, multiple investigations have found approximately zero in-person voter fraud, the wink-wink reason for red states’ voter ID laws. In the past election, hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters were denied. The vast majority were Democrats, and the number of those denied far exceeded the numbers by which Trump narrowly won those states. If Trump’s patently phony “voter fraud” commission has its way, it’ll get worse.
Get over it, they say. We’ll get around to caring when it’s your nominee who benefits.
Besides, what’s wrong with requiring identification, they ask? Nothing, if it’s as easily obtainable for the poor, elderly, and people in minority districts as it is for white Republicans. But the requirements and locations for obtaining ID were designed specifically to make it harder. Legislators in those states admitted it. Some lower courts have recognized the fraud. Do states even have a right to deny the franchise in a federal election? Enter the Mitchdefied Supreme Court, where democracy confronts hypocrisy.
There’s more. Russian interference: sophisticated, relentless, carefully targeted. Until Robert Mueller makes it undeniable, let’s ignore collusion: it’s bad enough without it. Clearly they wanted Trump in office. (Will we learn why?) What they did should alarm everyone. (Instead of “Jews will not replace us,” this time Nazi re-marchers in Charlottesville chanted “Russia is our friend.” Donald Trump, busy reversing rules that protect our planet, neglecting Puerto Rico, and ignoring California wildfires, said nothing.)
The extent of Russian use of social media to plant fake news has become disturbingly clear. If it’s hard, for now, to know the effect, suffice it to note the multimillions of times those messages were shared. They attempted to corrupt voter rolls in Democratic precincts, and may have succeeded. But Trump and his airwave propagandists, dismissing the constitutional threat, insist reporting it is the real fake news. Who can wonder why?
Donald Trump (considered a moron by his SecState), his cabinet of grifters, and many R congressdwellers are in office because of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and direct and indirect meddling by a foreign enemy. If it’s reassuring on some level that such people couldn’t have won by legitimate means, all Americans should be alarmed that illegitimacy prevailed. Because, who knows, next time it could be Democrats.
(Some have noticed: I haven't been including hotlinks lately. For the paper version of the newspaper column, I'd added tinyURLs for readers to use if they chose to, which some people complained were distracting. And since the Foxified ignore them and the well-informed don't need them, I've stopped. For the blog version I'd been converting those URLs to direct links. I prefer to provide that documentation, but for now...)