Letter: The GOP's answer to election loss is voter suppression
The GOP answer to election losses is to manipulate the system to retain power using techniques such as gerrymandering, blocking Democratic legislation in Congress, and suppressing the votes of people who are likely to vote for Democrats.
After losing the presidency and the Senate you would think that Republicans would want to examine why the ideas they ran on were rejected and perhaps modify their positions to attract more voters. Republicans have won the popular vote in a presidential election only once since 1992. Also, since Trump has been impeached twice, has refused to agree to the peaceful transfer of power, and encouraged his followers to install him as president by force, you would think Republicans would be ready to look for new leadership.
However, as the dust settles after the chaos of the past few months, both of the above assumptions appear to be wrong. Instead two facts are becoming obvious:
- The GOP answer to election losses is to manipulate the system to retain power using techniques such as gerrymandering, blocking Democratic legislation in Congress, and suppressing the votes of people who are likely to vote for Democrats.
- Most GOP leaders either agree with Trump’s behavior or else they are so afraid of losing Trump’s support that they don’t dare say even one word against him.
In regard to the first point there are already over 100 of bills being introduced in state legislatures to restrict voter access. In North Dakota alone there are at least 44 bills in progress in a state that Republicans already control totally and there were no complaints about the election.
House Bill 1289 would expand the residency requirement to a year so someone who moved to North Dakota during an election year would not be allowed to vote. Another bill would cut the number of early voting days in half.
House Bill 1312 would eliminate no-questions-asked absentee balloting which Deputy Secretary of State, Jim Silrum, estimates would “disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters.”
Proposals in other states are even more radical such as the Arizona bill that lawmakers, by a simple majority, could revoke the formal certification of election results and substitute electors of their own choosing.
Regarding point (2) the Trump insurrection gave the Republican establishment a chance to break Trump’s hold on the party. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described January 6 th as “a failed insurrection” and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack on Congress. But after hearing the right-wing media and the Trump base saying they are ready to punish anyone who is disloyal, most Republican critics had second thoughts. Polls show that the majority of Republicans approve of Trump’s actions after the election even though 66% of Americans say he acted irresponsibly, so on Tuesday Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly to dismiss his second impeachment trial. McCarthy even went crawling to Mar-A-Lago to seek reconciliation and after the meeting said ‘the Republican Party is going to need Trump and Trump needs us.”
During the last four years the Republican Party evolved into the Trump Party and from all appearances it remains that way. Trump is still the top man in the party, the “kingmaker” who can make or break fellow Republicans, and his base is so devoted and powerful that no one dares to anger or disagree with them. President Biden and the Democrats will have to work hard and remain strong because Trump and McConnell will do everything in their power to block anything that resembles progress in solving America ’s problems.
Roger Haglund lives in Moorhead.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.