Senate To Take Up Voting Rights Packages, But Still Short of Votes Needed

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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74 Responses

  1. Marchmaine
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    says:

    Dems *embrace* Disarray. 🙂

    I’ve been reading rumblings about a near 60-vote consensus on legislating a new Electoral Count Act? Do we know how this fits or is this just running up the HR1 hill for twitter?Report

    • Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      Its running up the Hill for Twitter. There’s been no legislation introduced to do this, and frankly the Republicans won’t back it because it would prevent them from sending a mob to Capitol Hill – or forged slates of electors – when their candidates looses. After they believe they have secured permanent rule then they may take it up.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Yeah, might be, but not for the reasons you say.

        McConnel is the one floating the idea, so my guess is that it would be more like Infrastructure to derail BBB.

        I keep looking for Political Selling points for the Dem Voting bill, and I’m always a little surprised that Dem Comms is always existential Take-it-or-leave-it pass this bill or the end is nigh.

        Politifact (shrug) says the bill encompasses:

        Online and same-day registration
        Election Day as a holiday
        Voters with disabilities and older voters
        Early voting
        Voting by mail
        Signature verification
        Drop boxes
        Voter ID
        Felon re-enfranchisement
        Food and water
        Voting on American Indian lands

        There are things there that could get broad support: NATIONAL HOLIDAY! But most of these things are *not* existential threats or key to keeping our Democracy. Some items I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not convinced they are good for Democracy or Voting… so there’s legitimate arguments to be had over Early Voting or Voter ID or Signature Verification or Same Day Registration (combined with automatic Registration? Is this de-coupled from Jury Pools?) and even Mail-in Voting (which I did). I’ve heard that Gerrymander reform is also part of the bill? But unless you say HOW we’re reforming Districting, it’s not a sellable point — and that’s another thing that I’m in favor of in a broad sense.

        As I read the summaries, this really *isn’t* a good bill that we should back as Good Americans… it might become a good bill, but I’m not persuaded by the Existential Threat nonsense that the Dem Comms seem to be focused on.

        None of this addresses the Existential Loophole that is the ECA.

        I’d like to see a functional Congress update lots of Voting processes… so I sympathize with the sentiment that its a pity that Congress is such a wreck — but I’m not moved that this is a bill we need as it stands — even if I’d like to see better and easier Secure Voting with 21st century technology speeding, not lengthening the process. I’m sure we could find a way to improve the process even if my ideals aren’t yours… but I’m not going to lament the failure of this particular draft.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          I have never seen anyone address seriously how the national holiday thing is supposed to work. Will it be mandatory for schools and non-essential businesses to close? Police off duty? Hospitals? Airlines? Hotels? What if I have a business meeting on the other side of the country on Wednesday? Do you still get the day off if your state has early vote by mail and you’ve done that? Will some portion of the employees at any given Burger King get paid to not flip hamburgers that Tuesday?

          Or is it a national holiday in the sense that federal offices will be closed, and there’s no mail delivery?Report

          • Pinky in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            Maybe move elections to Veteran’s Day?Report

            • InMD in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              I haven’t had Columbus, Veterans, MLK, or Presidents day off since I was briefly a federal employee/worked at a fed contractor. It isn’t the norm for a lot of people.Report

              • Philip H in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Fun fact – Mississippi and Alabama still celebrate Robert E. Lee’s Birthday on MLK day.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
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                says:

                My old firm (for which I was the California lawyer) had a holiday on Columbus Day. Every other firm I worked for has given MLK and President’s Day off. I think the last time I had Veterans Day off was in high school.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                When I worked for my state legislature, all of Veterans Day, MLK Day, and Presidents Day fall during the part of the year when the schedule was insane. Our office was officially “closed” for all three, but all the staff were there for most of the day anyway. In jeans, though, as the mandatory costuming only applied on days when the office was open.Report

              • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Lucky! Unfortunately for me raw unfettered capitalism never sleeps.Report

              • Pinky in reply to InMD
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                says:

                As the nearest federal holiday, it seemed like the best choice. I think I can speak for Marchmaine that All Saints’ Day and all other holy days of obligation should be federal holidays, but that wouldn’t work for a voting day due to the number of polling places located in churches (is that still a practice?). Actually, I think a voting day is probably an obsolete idea, at least on our current trajectory.Report

              • InMD in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                For me personally it’s obsolete. I always do early in person.

                On the holy days of obligation I’d take that in a heartbeat. Pretty sure it’s like that and then some in Austria.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Sure, you might have to work… but the Marchmaine bill would legislate 1.5x compensation for essential workers (plus comp time) and 3x compensation for non-essential workers.

                So, sure, stay open if you want but it’ll cost you.

                The people will praise my name forever!

                (And duh, of course Holy Days)Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                I find it amusing that there’s all this horribly complicated stuff, when the answer is staring them in the face. When experts evaluate state voting systems for security, accuracy, and ease of use, the top five spots are dominated by the western vote by mail states. Pick one of them: Utah, to make Republicans happy. Dictate their automatic registration, vote by mail, and vote centers to handle the special cases as the national standard, and be done with it.Report

              • j r in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                “I find it amusing that there’s all this horribly complicated stuff, when the answer is staring them in the face.”

                You are right. But our current politics are not set up to solve problems. They are set up to keep problems alive and well in the public imagination.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                All these things are currently hated by the majority of the GOP. The Texas GOP recently issued a trolling tweet about it which did not make much sense but most trolling does not.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                For which religions?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Any of them with a food tradition we can appropriate.Report

          • InMD in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            I’ve always figured it’d end up being basically a bank holiday that most people in the private sector (outside of banks of course) don’t get. With the majority of states offering early in person days and often weeks before an election I don’t see the point in it.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            Sure, not *everyone* gets a day-off… just mostly. As part of the law making process we haggle over who’s considered essential, what accommodations they are entitled to… and set-up the expectations that Election day is minimally encumbered.

            This is a good thing to do politically, no? Make the other guys argue that the service class has to stay open to provide them lates while they have the day off?

            If I recall correctly the constitution itself sets the election day, so can’t just switch it up to make a long weekend… but if we could, we should.

            I’d think of it as a rhetorical win to help drive support.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              Election day was set by Congress by statute in 1845. In 1844 different states held presidential elections on different days ranging from Nov 1 through Dec 4, and Congress decided to regularize it.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                Thanks again.

                Election Friday to kick-off the long weekend!

                I also noticed that Inauguration could be moved as well… as part of the ECA reform, I’d pull it up to DEC 5 or DEC 15.

                Sure, there’s a transition period, but I’m not sure we really require almost 3 months.Report

              • CW Jeepers in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                In Eastern Europe, the most popular day for elections was Saturday.

                That was because Jews wouldn’t vote on a Saturday.

                Friday is Jummah, the Islamic holy day. That makes it an exceptionally bad idea for a “day to vote.”

                Israel, who has all the religions, votes on Tuesdays.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          You do these things as all or nothings because some issues are worth it and need it. There are fifty state legislatures. Not all of them are trying to limit voting but each one that is trying to do so, does it in a different matter. Also I don’t trust McConnell on anything and think he is the ringleader of bad-faith trolling.

          The reason all of these are covered is because it is all part of something that a legislature (all GOP controlled) has tried to do something on to suppress the vote even when it directly contradicts their own citizens. See Florida and felon re-enfranchisement.Report

          • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            I think this principle gets it all wrong. You don’t waste time on efforts where you don’t have the votes.

            Maybe the GOP is full of it on the ECA but if not I’d say it needs to be a top priority. All these state level voting rules pale in comparison against the need to prevent a constitutional crisis.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
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              says:

              I disagree. There is a thing about making people take a stance on the record even if it is in your own party. Make Manchin and Sinema own this. Make the Republicans own it. These things are important to keep the base happy and send signalsReport

              • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                When I researched the items above, it’s pretty clear to me that push-come-to-shove it’s not that hard to say that many of them aren’t existential needs *and* some of them might be good ideas, but the particular proposal in question *isn’t* the best way to address it.

                So, all in all, not that much pressure being applied. It’s not a good bill and not that hard to go on record opposing.Report

            • Philip H in reply to InMD
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              says:

              What gets me is we aren’t even voting on passage – we’re just voting to talk about it. Republicans don’t even want to do that. Sinema and Manchin don’t even want to do that. And I don’t have any faith in any plan McConnel might be talking about for the ECA – especially since he’s not offering to allow debate on these measures in exchange for that one.Report

        • j r in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          “I keep looking for Political Selling points for the Dem Voting bill, and I’m always a little surprised that Dem Comms is always existential Take-it-or-leave-it pass this bill or the end is nigh.”

          This is par for the course in politics today. Politicians take an issue like state-level voter suppression laws, which is an actual problem, but then completely overblow the threat by telling us it’s Jim Crow 2.0. (It’s not.) Over-selling the threat is not enough to get the problem solved but it plays well in media narratives.

          My working model for contemporary politics is that politicians have become unable to fix things in the real world, and so instead, have turned to waging campaigns meant for the virtual world.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to j r
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            says:

            Here’s where the opposition party is at:
            https://apnews.com/article/business-florida-lawsuits-ron-desantis-racial-injustice-3ec10492b7421543315acf4491813c1b

            A bill that would outlaw teaching anything that makes people feel discomfort over past racism.

            Not “want to curb some excess” but to create a Soviet style Potemkin past where white people are never challenged by truth.

            Yeah, it really is Jim Crow 2.0 in both the intent and effect.Report

            • j r in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              I’m sorry, but I thought we were talking about voting rights.Report

              • Philip H in reply to j r
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                says:

                Suppressing voting rights makes creating that sort of white washed past easier.

                YeashReport

              • j r in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                It was difficult before?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to j r
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                says:

                We are.
                Jim Crow has always been a seamless garment comprised of various pieces all working to create an impenetrable cloak of oppression.

                Voting restrictions combined with police oppression combined with exclusionary zoning with historical revisionism with economic injustice with outright violence when necessary.Report

              • j r in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                So, we’re not talking about a discreet piece of federal legislation intended to undo the damage of the voting restrictions enacted in state laws?

                I think that you’ve made my point here. Politicians can’t enact fixes, so they give us high minded talk about vague, intractable social ills.

                Personally, I’d rather just have a voting rights bill.Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Time and time again I’ve debunked media mischaracterizations of these laws by pointing to the actual text, and time and time again you credulously repeat the same journactivist lies about the exact same boilerplate text that’s in bills in at least a dozen different states.

              At this point, the conclusion that you just don’t care about the facts is inescapable. You can’t cheat an honest man.

              For those who do care about facts, the actual text of the bill is available here.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                Something new in this particular law that I haven’t seen in any of the others is that it prebuts the “They’re banning teaching about the history of slavery and racism” talking point by a) mandating teaching about the history of slavery and African American contributions to society, and b) explicitly stating that teachers may teach about racism, sexism, etc.

                Again, none of the CRT bills actually ban the teaching of the history of slavery and Jim Crow. This is a lie. Anyone who tells you this is either knowingly lying or speaking with reckless disregard for the truth. No one could read the text of any of these bills in good faith and come away believing that they do this. But this is the first bill I’ve seen that makes that so explicit.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                You sure do like to fish with big nets I guess.

                3. An individual’s moral character or status as either
                58 privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her
                59 race, color, sex, or national origin.

                That section means we can’t discuss systemic racism, no matter what the facts on the ground are – and there are many.

                5. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex,
                64 or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be
                65 discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of,
                66 actions committed in the past by other members of the same race,
                67 color, sex, or national origin.

                That means we can’t discuss making past wrong right as a moral foundation for fighting racism, and it means we can’t discuss, much less act on reparations.

                6. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex,
                69 or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive
                70 adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.

                That means no more affirmative action hires, diversity expanding recruiting or minority set-asides in government contracting.

                All of those are swipes at CRT indirectly, and all of them require diluting, whitewashing or dumbing down actual history.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                The real bite of such laws is that no one can tell in advance what is or isn’t permissible to teach, which is almost certainly the point.Report

              • Philip H in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed – its all about making people stop doing because they don’t know what to do. Things like:

                7. An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or
                72 any other form of psychological distress on account of his or
                73 her race, color, sex, or national origin.

                Are all about shutting down dissent and truth – because dissent and the truth will make people uncomfortable.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                You’re conflating a few different things here:

                1. Historical fact.
                2. Sociological hypotheses.
                3. Political advocacy.

                To give an example of the difference, that black people were enslaved in the United States prior to 1865, primarily by white people, is a historical fact. That this explains current black-white gaps in socioeconomic outcomes is an unproven sociological hypothesis, as is the claim that practicing affirmative action or redistributing wealth will close these gaps. To say that we should practice affirmative action or wealth redistribution in an attempt to close these gaps is political advocacy.

                The bill explicitly mandates the first, gives some latitude for the second, and prohibits the third.

                You’re free to believe that this is a bad thing. But sociological hypotheses and political advocacy are not historical fact, and you can do an excellent job of teaching history—both fact and analysis—without these. In fact, one of the major problems with CRT is that it is in fact based on a dumbed-down, rigor-free analysis of the issues.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to j r
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            says:

            Good point. I suspect they are getting what they want out of being politicians (which I assume is a path to wealth) but yes, they are not playing the game of congress as if the goal was legislation.Report

          • KenB in reply to j r
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            says:

            Unable, or unwilling? Seems like a decent number of congresspeople have decided that rather than risk getting associated with all the inevitable flaws and downsides of an actually-enacted piece of legislation, it’s much more politically advantageous to be seen as a warrior for a bill that thrills the partisans but never gets the grime of the real world on it.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Worst Kate Bush follow up song ever.Report

  2. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    And once again, 100% of Republicans are steadfastly opposed to voting rights.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      The John Lewis Act reinstitutes federal regulations from 60 years ago that seem punitive today. The Freedom to Vote Act covers a lot of things including campaign finance reform and redistricting. Republicans don’t oppose voting rights; they don’t oppose voting rights reforms; they oppose these two pieces of legislation.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        Punitive how, and what legislation are Republicans proposing to make voting easier and more accessible?Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        Republicans in 5 states now stand credibly accused – and under investigation – for forging documents with bogus “alternate” slates of Presidential electors. And not just forging, but forging from the same template with the same words and arguments. They did so because their guy didn’t win a free and fair election. And had they succeeded they would, in fact, have significantly infringed the voting rights of a great many Americans. On Purpose. To retain political power.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          When I look at the Lewis Act, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the ECA or has it been amended?

          Which is to say, what problem are we trying to solve?… we can’t fill an existential square hole with an existential circle legislation.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            Some form of the Lewis Act has been introduced as HR1 each year since 2019, when the Democrats gained the majority. It was always intended to address the most egregious state voter suppression behavior. (Not just in red states, some blue states had horrible practices in statute if they enforced them.) In 2019 and 2020, the bill was passed as introduced, since it was DOA in the Senate and the details didn’t matter.

            In 2021, the details mattered so the bills went to committee for markup and something became obvious: the bill(s) had been written by members and staff and lobbyists from the eastern half of the country, to address elections as conducted in the East, and there were some serious problems for the western Democrats necessary to pass it when it might matter. Two of the obvious committee changes were that “precinct” was removed everywhere and replaced with “voting center”, and “absentee ballot” was replaced with “mail ballot”. The changes took time. Enough so that voting rights had to go on a back burner while everyone argued over infrastructure and reconciliation and keeping the government open. Now, here we are.

            I assert that the most recent version of S1 I’ve read still hasn’t fixed all of the problems in the old versions. Sinema is the one currently taking the heat. I suspect that there are other western Democrats who are uncomfortable with what the bill will do to their states.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              Thanks for the clarification… that was my basic understanding, that it addresses voting questions but not state level slate/delegate questions… so in this thread it wouldn’t be the thing we’d bring up to address those types of ECA issues.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              Sinema is the one currently taking the heat. I suspect that there are other western Democrats who are uncomfortable with what the bill will do to their states.

              If that’s the case then they are as cowardly as she is and as Republicans are. Whatever the issues are, they pale in comparison to the havoc that will be unleashed later this year if this is passed.Report

  3. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    The only thing I can add (besides what Chip wrote) is that I have no idea what is going through Manchin or Sinema’s thought process on recent matters especially this one. There was some speculation from Amy Siskind on twitter that Sinema has deluded herself that she thinks she is being a brave and maverick like politician (TM) and is going to run for President in 2024 on her current view. The twittetr thread stated that she is largely isolated from everyone except a few donors who feed her delusions.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Every political party throughout time has had the small number of defectors cranks and contrarians who prevent 100% compliance.
      So however infuriating Manchinema are, their behavior is within the political norm.

      What is NOT in the political norm is the major political party, the Republicans, to become hostile to democracy.

      This is why I am forever turning the conversation away from the two Democratic cranks to the 50 Republicans.

      Even the so-called “moderate” and “reasonable” Republicans like Romney and Collins have shown utter indifference to defending democracy.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        I don’t know if it is completely unprecedented. Orban seems to have made a hard turn against democracy after starting off as a conventional center-right, post USSR politician. Center-right parties in politics also made a hard-right turn.

        That being said, this is one area where I think we need to agree to disagree a bit. I get what you are stating and it has a lot of merit and should be done but those two have gone beyond normal crankery and contrarians and in a saner political system would be non-entity back benchers.Report

  4. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    A vision from November 9th, 2022: “We would have won, if only they hadn’t cheated. We certainly wouldn’t have done as poorly as we did among the demographics we usually rely on.”Report

  5. Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Now this is how you send multiple messages:

    https://twitter.com/burgessev/status/1483560374817509376?s=20Report

  6. Philip H
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    says:

    As if we really need any more reminders of WHY this is so critical:

    In Lincoln County — a GOP stronghold where Donald Trump received more than 68% of the vote in 2020 and where 29% of its residents are Black — the all-Republican county commission now appoints three out of five election board members. Officials there say closing six of seven polling places will eliminate the need to send equipment and staff around the county. It also will help mothball cramped and outdated polling sites that don’t allow for social distancing, county leaders say.
    All voting would happen at a central location in Lincolnton, the county seat, under the consolidation plan the elections board is set to consider.
    But in a community with little reliable public transportation, “the poor and marginalized people won’t be able to vote because, bottom line, they won’t be able to get to the polls,” said the Rev. Christopher Johnson, the head of the Greater Augusta’s Interfaith Coalition — one of the groups fighting the change.

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/19/politics/poll-closures-rural-lincoln-county-georgia/index.htmlReport

  7. Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    I hesitate to write anything about this, because I’m not really following the libs’ train of thought on this one.

    On the one hand, libs are obviously butthurt over January 6. But, if libs can’t get real Americans to care about that, I don’t see why anybody else has to. But more than that, the things they want to do don’t address that anyway. As I understand it, they _are_ being addressed by the bipartisan Senate group working on a narrow fix to the Electoral Count Act, but libs are opposing them.

    The things they do want, they are calling voting rights, but like March pointed out above it’s a bill about voting _policy_ not voting rights (and bad voting policy at that for the most part). I can’t see how the libs agitation is supposed to help themselves, either in terms of policy _or_ politics.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Koz
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      says:

      But, if libs can’t get real Americans to care about that, I don’t see why anybody else has to.

      So, you now plainly assert that we liberals are NOT “real Americans.” Noted, thanks.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        of course, you are at least being consistent with Mitch McConnell:

        https://twitter.com/bse229/status/1484007688866566150?s=20Report

      • Cleveland in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        As a liberal and a real American, I cannot be bothered to care about January 6th.
        We have real issues, and then we have faked issues.
        And then we have faked issues that fell on their face due to absolute incompetence, that they are still trying to make an issue of.

        Do you believe that the people who lied to congress about the dead capital policeman, who was not killed during the riot, should be punished? (See Glenn Greenwald’s takedown). If so, why aren’t we hearing about them on the stand?

        Making things up and publishing them in the media is becoming a calling card of certain governmental factions…Report

        • Philip H in reply to Cleveland
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          says:

          Greenwald’s “takedown” is now over a year old, and it hasn’t aged well. To begin with all the major media outlets corrected the story to indicate Ofcr. Sicknick wasn’t killed that day, nor did he die of sustained injuries. Testimony before the January 6th Committee has reinforced that there is tragic overlap, but no causation.

          it it also true that Capitol and DC Metro Police were physically attacked with a variety of things, including video of what appears to be fire extinguisher being swung at an officer that was trying to keep the mob from entering the building.

          January 6th is a real issue. Mobs storming the Capitol to try and prevent the peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election is something we can’t tolerate if we want to remain a democracy. Convicting the perpetrators (which is thankfully underway) is a must, as is the Committee’s investigation of what politicians knew what when.Report

          • Cleveland in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            Mobs storming the capital would be a better tale if these weren’t clearly Tourists taking an Unscheduled Tour.

            No buildings were set on fire, so we can call this one “mostly peaceful.”

            This is yet another instance of the Brandon Administration’s sheer incompetence and refusal to move on from plans that they screwed up from the beginning.

            “What politicians knew what when” — this is sheer stupidity. If you want to criticize the Pentagon for decision making, throw some staff officers up on the stand. They’ll read you the riot act for being panicking idiots, but, go on and do it. (Gen. Clark’s takedown of the Katrina Evacuation will give you some idea of what it looks like when a military officer says “what went wrong here.”)Report

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