Let me say it again, without the space limitations of a headline:
- The Republican Party does NOT want you to vote, because they know that if more people vote, more Republicans lose.
- But, they are perfectly fine with making it as easy as possible for you to catch the coronavirus, and to give it to others as well. In other words, they really don’t care if you get sick.
And before you think that is either hyperbole or harsh, let’s take a look at the facts.
Republicans DON’T want you to vote
All across the country, Republican legislators are filing bills to make it harder, or even impossible, to vote. Just in the past five weeks, they have filed over 100 bills designed to keep people from voting. According to the Brennan Center’s report, “These proposals primarily seek to: (1) limit mail voting access; (2) impose stricter voter ID requirements; (3) limit successful pro-voter registration policies; and (4) enable more aggressive voter roll purges.”
- In Pennsylvania, Repubs have pushed bills to take away no-excuse absentee voting, and to throw out mail ballots for minor errors. Think you could sue to overturn these bills? They’ve also introduced a bill to gerrymander the courts.
- In Georgia, they also want to end no-excuse absentee voting, and get rid of automatic voter registration when you get or renew your driver’s license. They also want to get rid of ballot drop boxes. The kicker? If you request an absentee ballot, you have to mail a copy of your photo ID twice – once with the request and again with the ballot.
- In Arizona, Republicans have introduced 34 bills to make voting harder, including cutting the number of polling places in Maricopa County (with 2.6 million voters) from 100 to 15 – or one polling place for every 173,000 voters.
- And in what has to be one of the most anti-democratic bills ever introduced, another Arizona bill would allow the GOP-controlled legislator to override the secretary of state’s certification of election results and appoint its OWN electors, thus throwing out the results of the election completely.
And in Kentucky? We had one of the most successful elections we have ever had, with new voting rules and procedures that were overwhelmingly popular. And yet, in their top priority bill (SB 1), the Republican-led Kentucky Senate voted overwhelmingly to take take authority for deciding the “manner” of an election away from the governor and secretary of state in emergencies and give it to lawmakers.
Why are Repubs so determined to keep people from voting? Because they know that their policies are unpopular, and their base of white people is shrinking. Nationally, they have won the popular vote only once in the last eight presidential elections.
So, their only long-term path to power is NOT running on their policies, and NOT letting everyone vote.
As one author wrote way back in 2018:
There’s only one party in America who is actively trying to keep people from casting their ballot. People of color, people who are students, people who are — wait for it — Democrats. Rather than trying to meet voters where they’re at and expand the base of their party, Republicans rely on voter suppression as a matter of standard practice.
You can take it to the bank — when it comes to voting, Republicans don’t want you to do it.
Republicans don’t care if you get coronavirus
Again, if you think this is harsh, take a look at the evidence.
- In Wisconsin, Republicans pushed a bill that would require state workers to go back to the office, force teachers back into classrooms, ban state and local health orders that close or restrict capacity at some businesses, and ban outright any restrictions on gatherings at churches.
- In Idaho, where Republicans control the legislature, the state’s Senate Committee on State Affairs voted out a resolution to end Idaho’s emergency declaration, overriding the state’s Republican governor.
- In Colorado, many Republican lawmakers chose to go without masks during legislative sesions, even though there is a statewide mask mandate.
- And in a number of states, GOP lawmakers have sued to keep their governor from doing anything about the pandemic.
Kentucky’s GOP is no better. They’ve already passed bills limiting the governor’s ability to deal with the pandemic – even though they have no plan of their own. They have attacked the state’s chief medical officer, accusing him of lying about the virus and the numbers.
And of course, now we have bills blocking mask mandates and exempting people from being vaccinated, even if they work in health care.
Our Repub state legislators had to be forced into wearing masks in the Capitol. They have encouraged rallies against the governor’s COVID actions, and spoken at those rallies about “freedom.” And now, even as over 4,000 Kentuckians have died of the virus, they are considering impeaching the governor over his actions to keep all of us safe.
As I noted at the top, some people will say this is too harsh. But as Rachel Maddow says, don’t listen to their words – look at their actions. And their actions are clear:
Republicans DON’T want everyone to vote;
but they really don’t care if you get sick.