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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Minority Rule Mechanism

 The Deprogramming Dilemma – 15

The Minority Rule Mechanism

By D-Jay

What a perfect scam.

 

Get a state legislature into your party’s hands during a post-census year, then use sophisticated computer programs to calculate how to most effectively redraw the voting districts to maximize the power of your voters and minimize that of your opponents.  Use the same power to rewrite the voter registration rules to make it easier for your folks to exercise their constitutional rights, and much more difficult for the kinds of people who tend to go against you.  Add in a packed court or two – especially the one at the top – and, presto-chango, you’re almost guaranteed to remain in power for the next ten years.

 

Gerrymandering on steroids.  The will of the people be damned.

 

The perfect mechanism for minority rule.

 

And it’s exactly what we’ve had since the “Redmap” fiasco brought in by the 2010 electoral disaster.

 

The result of this carefully planned and executed electoral state level coup d’etat?  Scientifically designed partisan voting maps and ever-increasing levels of voter suppression. The Republicans consistently winning a much larger share of the seats in play, at every level, than their percentage of the votes cast for them.

 

In short – The Democrats get more votes, while the Republicans get more seats.  Often a lot more.

 

But wait!  Even with such a badly tilted playing field, We the People somehow prevailed in 2020 and managed to kick the wannabe king back to his Mar-a-Lago winter palace and gave the Democrats control of the Congress, razor thin as it may be in the Senate.

 

We can’t have that, now can we?

 

Unfortunately for us, the sane folks’ success at the national level didn’t carry through to the state legislatures.  Legislatures in the key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin remain in Republican hands.  And, this is not your grandfather’s Republican Party anymore.

 

This is the party of Trump.

 

The party of QAnon.

 

The party of fascism and pseudo-Christian dominionism.

 

The party that wants minority rule, and doesn’t even bother to hide it anymore. Heck, their lawyer even said it out loud in front of the no less a body than the United States Supreme Court.

 

Predictably, this being the year after the census, even more extreme voter suppression and gerrymandering to the max efforts are underway in state capitols throughout the land. 

 

You’ve heard the stories – Fewer polling places in minority neighborhoods. No more “souls to the polls” Sunday voting.  More restrictions on mail-in ballots.  Tougher voter ID laws.  More people getting kicked off the voting roles if they don’t look like reliable Rs.  There’s even a rule forbidding good Samaritans from passing out food or drink to voters having to wait in line for hours to cast their ballot.  As if that isn’t enough, t least one Republican legislature is actually trying to give itself the power to throw out the results of any election the don’t like and appoint their slate of electors.

 

You get the idea.

 

Heads I win, tails you lose.

 

With three Trump appointees sitting on the Supreme Court, don’t expect them to do much – if anything – to rectify the situation.

 

Ferocious battles are ahead in States which have divided government, but the only real chance we have to put things right is through meaningful voting rights legislation to be passed in the U.S. House and Senate and aggressively enforced by the Biden Justice Department.

 

The good news is that Congress clearly has this power.  Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution states:

 

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.

 

The better news is that the House has already passed one – HR1, aka the For the People Act.

 

It ticks all the boxes - guaranteed no-excuse mail voting, at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections, no-excuse mail-in voting, verifiable paper ballots requirements for computerized voting equipment, significant restrictions on partisan gerrymandering, and more.

 

The obvious bad news, however, is that there is no way it will get the 10 Republican votes it would need to pass the Senate under the body’s current rules.

 

So the choice is clear – eliminate the filibuster, or let the Republican state legislature continue their scorched earth, profoundly anti-democratic campaign. If full elimination is a bridge too far, at least make the disenfranchisers stand up and keep talking day and night in the well of the Senate, and revise the rule so that, instead of 60 Senators having to vote for cloture and ending a filibuster, make it so 40 (or better yet, 45) have to be there in person to vote to keep it going.

 

Are you listening, Senators Manchin and Sinema?

 

Bargain away to your heart’s content. Get every perk you can squeeze for your states out of your colleagues and the President.  Stack up as many legislative IOUs as you like.  But when it comes down to it, you MUST let the filibuster be deactivated – at least for this bill.

 

Nothing less than the fate of democracy is riding on it.

 

*****************************************************************************************

Contributing factors to our democratic decline:

From the Right

Truth Decay – Destruction of the Ability to Distinguish Fantasy from Reality

Ever Worsening Demonization of the Media

Manufactured Distrust of Science and Expertise

The Iron Bubble of Disinformation

The Dark Money Conspiracy

Information Warfare Aimed at Us

Domestic Terrorism

Emergence of a Full-blown Cult of Personality

Ongoing Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering

Election Security

Continued Weaponization of Social Media

Toxic Right-wing Pseudo-Christianity

Racism

Sexism and a Pseudo-Macho Mentality

Putinism and the International Neo-Fascist Movement

Lack of Education in Civics and Critical Thinking Skills

Destruction of Crucial Democratic Norms

The Collapse of Good Manners and Propriety

Radicalization

Sedition

From the Left (and Sometimes the Center)

OTT PC (Over-The-Top Political Correctness)

Inept Messaging

Lack of Media Investment

Arrogance

Surrender of Rural America Without a Fight

Failure to Call Out and Counteract Toxic Right-Wing Christianity

Failure to Call Out Right-Wing Racism, Sexism and Fascism for what it is, and Counteract it in Time

Framing Too Many Issues as Being Rooted in Race Rather than Economics and Class

Failure to Recognize Just How Bad Things Can Really Get

Forever Bringing Beanbags to a Knife Fight

Failure to Protect Critical Norms

 

 


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