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Politics Trump’s Voter-Suppression Strategy Is a Crisis (Even If It Backfires)

00:20  30 october  2020
00:20  30 october  2020 Source:   nymag.com

Trump's claims of possible widespread voter fraud are unsubstantiated, experts say

  Trump's claims of possible widespread voter fraud are unsubstantiated, experts say President Donald Trump has made the possibility of widespread voter fraud -- an unsubstantiated assertion -- a centerpiece of his reelection campaign. © Mark Makela/Getty Images A voter casts her early voting ballot at drop box outside of City Hall, Oct. 17, 2020, in Philadelphia. Out on the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly described ballot irregularities to illustrate what he said is a grave risk of election fraud during the COVID pandemic, when record numbers are turning to mail-in ballots. He even suggested that if he does not win the election, the contest is "rigged.

"If Trump once again loses the popular vote and wins the Electoral College, there will be a lot of clamoring that our democracy is broken," said CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. Averting a crisis . Even if one side refuses to accept the outcome, that doesn't mean the results are invalid.

Trump claims the nation is ‘rounding the turn’ on the virus as cases climb; Biden vows to ‘deal honestly with the American people.’ A crowd of Trump supporters during a campaign rally in Bullhead City, Ariz.Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times. The coronavirus pandemic — which has reshaped the

The president is trying to win reelection by disenfranchising as many Democrats as he can. As of this writing, 78 million Americans have already voted, putting the U.S. on pace to witness its highest-turnout election in more than a century.

a group of people walking down the street: Block the vote? Mark Makela/Getty Images © Mark Makela/Getty Images Block the vote? Mark Makela/Getty Images

Some have cited the latter fact as evidence that concerns over the former one have been irrational and overblown. They are wrong. Before getting into that, though, let’s review precisely how Donald Trump and his party are trying to win the 2020 election.

The president entered office with the disapproval of most Americans. Instead of attempting to broaden his appeal by governing with an eye toward majoritarian opinion, Trump deferred to Paul Ryan on policy — and stayed true to his far-right conspiracist roots on rhetoric. During the 2020 campaign itself, the president has not only refused to bring his positions on health care, taxes, and immigration into closer alignment with majority opinion — he has also run against the preference of a supermajority of the public on the year’s defining issue, arguing that the coronavirus is no “big deal” at a time when 68 percent of voters are worried that they or their loved ones will contract the pandemic bug.

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Voter suppression is at the very heart of Republican electoral strategy , and, as the New York Times reports The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and President Trump ’ s “Voters deemed suspicious” by the GOP is a category that includes black people, Latinos, students

Even though studies have shown that illegal voting is a myth, President Donald Trump has called for tougher restrictions on voting. Here are some important facts to know about voter suppression in the United States. Widespread voter fraud is a myth perpetrated to suppress American voters.

As a result, 53 percent of voters disapprove of the job that Trump has done. With third-party candidates attracting minuscule support, this leaves the president with one narrow path to reelection: eke out an Electoral College majority by deterring or disqualifying as many Democratic voters as possible in key battleground states.

As Politico reports:

The president’s inability to capture a majority of support sheds light on his extraordinary attempts to limit the number of votes cast across the battleground state map — a massive campaign-within-a-campaign to maximize Trump’s chances of winning a contest in which he’s all but certain to earn less than 50 percent of the vote.

In Philadelphia, his campaign is videotaping voters as they return ballots. In Nevada, it’s suing to force elections officials in Nevada’s Democratic-heavy Clark County to more rigorously examine ballot signatures for discrepancies that could disqualify them. The Trump campaign has sued to prevent the expanded use of ballot drop boxes in Ohio, sought to shoot down an attempt to expand absentee ballot access in New Hampshire and tried to intervene against a lawsuit brought by members of the Navajo Nation in Arizona which sought to allow ballots received from reservations after Election Day because of mail delays. And that’s just a few of its efforts.

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  Voting 2020 live updates: President Trump expected to cast Florida ballot; Delaware voters won't be forced to wear masks President Trump expected to vote in West Palm Beach. Delaware voters don't have to wear masks. Advice on how to vote. Latest news from across the U.S.That's a lot of voters. A perhaps record number are expected to cast ballots this weekend, either by mail or at early in-person voting sites across the country. (Need help registering to vote? Check our guide.

Voter suppression measures can differ by state and even by individual county. Discriminatory voter purges continued to be a significant problem in 2018, particularly after a June And under this new law, even tribal ID cards are inadequate if they do not list a street address.26 The Native American

Ari Berman, the author of "Give us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," tells Lawrence O'Donnell that voters should drop off their mail ballots or vote in person: "Sending your ballot in the mail at this point in time is just too risky."

… In swing state Florida, the state’s Republican-controlled legislature slapped additional restrictions on felons trying to register to vote after voters in 2018 approved a measure designed to restore most felons’ voting rights.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott limited ballot drop-off sites to one in each county, a measure with outsized effects on the most heavily populated — and more Democratic — areas like Harris County, which includes Houston.

The Republican Party has rationalizations for almost all of these actions. Videotaping voters as they use ballot drop-off boxes — and encouraging far-right militias to patrol polling places while heavily armed — is about “transparency,” not voter intimidation. Pushing for aggressive signature matching is about ensuring election integrity, not exploiting Democrats’ greater propensity for mail-in voting — and the dearth of objective criteria for signature matching — to disenfranchise Biden supporters. Distributing ballot drop-off sites by county instead of population size is intended to enhance election “security,” not to make voting harder in left-leaning urban areas than it is in right-leaning rural ones.

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  How battleground states process mail ballots -- and why it may mean delayed results More Americans are voting by mail this election than usual, due to the pandemic. But processing those ballots takes more time. Here's how it works in battleground states. Because of the pandemic, more voters are opting to cast their ballots by mail this year. While the expanded access and increased use of mail-in voting is good for voters, it does create hardships for already strained election officials in many states, including key battlegrounds.

Voter suppression in the United States concerns various legal and illegal efforts to prevent eligible voters from exercising their right to vote.

Declaring himself "your president of law and order," President Donald Trump vowed Monday to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn't quelled, even as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas

These claims seem absurd on their face. Every attempt to establish the existence of mass voter fraud in the United States has come up empty. And contra Republican talking points, there is no reason to believe that Democratic efforts to make mail voting easier are motivated by a desire to create opportunities for fraud, rather than, you know, opportunities for vulnerable people to safely vote amid a raging pandemic. The president has publicly argued that he believes high turnout will hurt him. And his team’s public statements on the matter brim with bad faith. The Trump campaign’s director of battleground strategy told Politico that it is “the height of hypocrisy that Democrats call our election transparency efforts ‘voter suppression’ — they’re the ones who scared voters away from the polls for months,” apparently referencing the fact that the Democratic Party has encouraged the public to abide by the Trump administration’s own public-health guidelines.

But there is one demonstrably fraudulent excuse the GOP has made for voting restrictions. In Pennsylvania, Republicans have opposed a state Supreme Court ruling that would allow for the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked before Election Day but which arrive up to three days after, as a result of pandemic-induced delays in mail delivery. The GOP has claimed that it opposes counting these ballots because the party believes that it’s vitally important to determine the election’s winner on Election Night — or as soon as possible thereafter — so as to ensure confidence in the vote’s integrity. As Brett Kavanaugh wrote when blocking a similar grace period for mail-in ballots in Wisconsin, “States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.”

Fighter jets fire flares, escort plane from airspace near Trump event in Arizona

  Fighter jets fire flares, escort plane from airspace near Trump event in Arizona U.S. fighter jets escorted a plane flying in restricted airspace near President Donald Trump's rally in Bullhead City, Arizona.The North American Aerospace Defense Command tweeted that it sent two F-16s to investigate "a general aviation aircraft that was not in communication" with air-traffic controllers as it neared Bullhead City.

A second Trump term would be far worse. For these reasons and many others, the stakes in this election feel higher than they have in any other since the Civil War. A defeat could leave the president and others close to him vulnerable to prosecution for crimes from tax fraud to obstruction of justice.

Trump has also repeatedly, and falsely, claimed that mail-in balloting leads to widespread voter Even though she won, she said she still believed the election should have been moved. “ Voter suppression might not be as clever as Republicans think it is. It can backfire by pissing voters off.”

Never mind that it is the Republican Party and its affiliated media outlets who have been propagating the suspicions of impropriety that Kavanaugh cites. Never mind that it is a routine occurrence in U.S. politics for absentee ballots counted after Election Night to determine the outcome of a competitive federal race. There’s a larger hole in the GOP’s fig leaf: The Republican Party is actively trying to slow the counting of ballots in Pennsylvania. As the New York Times reports:

Mail-in votes in Pennsylvania and other swing states are expected to skew heavily toward Democrats. The state is one of a handful in which, by law, mail-in votes cannot be counted until Election Day, and the Trump campaign has leaned on Republican allies who control the Legislature to prevent state election officials from bending those rules to accommodate a pandemic-driven avalanche of absentee ballots, as many other states have already done.

“Pennsylvania did nothing” to prepare, said Amber McReynolds, chief executive of the National Vote at Home Institute and the former head of Denver’s election system. “The Legislature has completely failed the counties.”

As a result, Ms. Almeida said, “We’re certainly not at a place where we’re going to have results on election night.”

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  Fact check: Joe Biden misspoke about his campaign's voter protection efforts The viral video clip in which Biden says he created a "voter fraud organization" is missing context. Biden actually was describing voter protections.“We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics,” Biden said in a clip posted to Instagram Oct. 24.

“There’s just no physical way,” she continued. “There’s three million people who have requested a mail-in ballot.”

It’s clear then that the Republicans’ attempts to restrict the counting of mail-in ballots that arrive late through no fault of the voter are not motivated by a commitment to producing election results as expeditiously as possible. Rather, the idea appears to be to minimize the number of mail-in votes that get counted by Election Night and then try to block the counting of as many of those ballots as possible after Election Night.

As usual, Trump hasn’t even bothered to conceal his anti-Democratic intentions, telling reporters Wednesday, “We’ll see what happens at the end of [Election Day]. Hopefully, the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after November 3 to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts.”

None of this is likely to work. Polls suggest Biden’s lead is large enough to survive a Supreme Court decision invalidating mail ballots that arrive late (and only three of the conservative justices have evinced openness to handing down such a decision) or disqualifying timely mail ballots en masse due to supposed signature mismatches or other pretenses. Meanwhile, it’s quite plausible that GOP voter-suppression efforts are backfiring, both by inspiring higher Democratic turnout and alienating swing voters. Despite myriad voter restrictions, Texas has already surpassed 95 percent of its 2016 vote total.

Republican commentators have pointed to such high turnout figures to portray Democratic outrage about voter suppression as histrionic, if not delusional. And some centrist and anti-Trump contrarian thinkers have done the same, in more measured tones. But this perspective is misguided for two reasons.

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The first is that there is no contradiction between acknowledging that the 2020 election is likely to witness historically high turnout and believing that the election will be tainted by voter suppression. What qualifies as a historically high turnout rate in the United States is just mediocre by international standards. Official data on U.S. voter participation paints a misleading picture, as the most commonly cited turnout figure is the percentage of registered voters who show up at the polls. Yet voter registration itself is the most pervasive form of suppression in the U.S.: In many foreign nations, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that voters are registered to vote. Here, the Republican Party has blocked many policies that would make it easier for individuals to register themselves. As a result, when measured as the percentage of the voting-age population, America has one of the lowest voter-turnout rates in the developed world.

Some of the voting-age adults who will not be voting in the U.S. this year are former felons that Florida Republicans chose to disenfranchise in defiance of a referendum that had restored their voting rights. They are not included in the denominators of the turnout rates being trumpeted in headlines. And then, of course, obstacles to voting can significantly reduce the turnout rate among registered voters, even if they are inadequate to stop that turnout rate from being unusually high.

Those downplaying the significance of Republican voter-suppression efforts do have a scintilla of a point: The impact of formal voting restrictions like voter-ID laws appears to be relatively weak. And it has likely gotten weaker as Democrats have gained strength among affluent whites, and Republicans, with non-college-educated voters (a decent number of white working-class Trump supporters will be disenfranchised by Florida’s rules for former felons).

Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting

  Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting The states with the highest risk for election-related violence by armed extremist groups are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Oregon.President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed voter fraud is widespread, has called for an army of poll watchers to ensure the election is fair. Right-wing extremist groups have signaled they plan to heed the call. Left-wing groups have vowed to confront people they believe are engaged in voter suppression.

But the fact that one of America’s two major parties has made voter suppression integral to its electoral strategy is a crisis for our democracy even if that strategy backfires.

This is the second point that those dismissing Democratic alarm over GOP voter suppression miss. Trump’s reelection strategy is ominous less for what it is likely to achieve this year than what it reveals about the nature of the Republican Party. The GOP is now an institution that has no normative commitment to even the thinnest definition of democracy. It is a coalition dominated by interest groups that recognize that their core aims are anti-majoritarian: In an increasingly secular America, the Christian right can find no mass constituency for fetal personhood or LGBT discrimination; in an increasingly unequal nation, libertarian billionaires can’t buy much enthusiasm for “supply side” tax cuts; and in an increasingly diverse and progressive nation, the nativist right can call itself “populist” but not popular.

The fact that virtually all of the anti-majoritarian features of America’s constitutional framework — from the Senate, to the Electoral College, to the apportionment of state legislatures — are now biased in favor of the Republican Party, enabling it to win power with a minority of voter support, has made its latent hostility toward democracy conscious and manifest.

Thus, the GOP is now a party that has no compunction about nullifying the voting rights of its opposition to retain power. And once a party has liberated itself from the shackles of respecting its detractors’ rights, much else becomes permissible. The Trump administration isn’t just comfortable denying Democratic voters the franchise — it’s also happy to deny Democratic-leaning states and territories a fair share of disaster aid and pandemic relief, or to deny Democratic-leaning constituencies their fair share of representation by sabotaging the Census, or to deny the American people politically independent federal law enforcement. The GOP may fail to disenfranchise mail-in voters en masse this year. But the impulse behind its efforts could easily gain more effective expression in the future, especially with a six-vote majority on the Supreme Court. There are cracks in our constitutional framework that Republicans have yet to exploit, and which the Trump campaign has reportedly contemplated.

This by itself is enough to render the president’s open embrace of voter suppression cause for alarm — and support for his reelection cause for shame for any self-respecting small-r republican.

Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting .
The states with the highest risk for election-related violence by armed extremist groups are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Oregon.President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed voter fraud is widespread, has called for an army of poll watchers to ensure the election is fair. Right-wing extremist groups have signaled they plan to heed the call. Left-wing groups have vowed to confront people they believe are engaged in voter suppression.

usr: 3
This is interesting!