Contrary to yelling at him, concern over suppression is not only reasonable, but A Good Things, since it keeps people extremely vigilant. And it's a reasonable concern this year particularly since voting seems like it’s pushing towards a Biden-Harris win, and -- if so -- potentially could be a landslide, and so voter suppression may be the GOP's only hope to win. So, no Democratic win is even guaranteed.
It’s a very real concern for what Republicans will do, because we know they’re already doing it. But – I feel reasonably comfortable that it’s more a matter of concern than reality. Part of that is because Biden and the Democratic Party are far-more aware of what’s going on than us, and I am 100% are working to offset it. We’ve already seen stories about their own “superstar” legal team that’s been put together. And we've also already seen lawsuits make their way to court -- with many, though not all, victories.
I also think that a strong, swarming Biden vote will help make many, if not most Republican officials wary to go against the tsunami popular mandate. And oddly, I think Trump’s irrational actions will make many wary, as well.
But there’s another thing that I feel strongly about. My thinking strongly doesn’t make it so, of course, but I nonetheless think it’s significant. Among the concern Democrats have is this sense that state parties with Republican legislatures will act to invalidate the Electoral College by using the argument of there being problems with mail-in voting. But the thing is…they can’t say there are problems with mail-in voting and just invalidate the presidential race. If they try to say mail-in ballots are a problem, then every race on the ballot has to be invalidated. That means invalidating the Senate race, House race, Governor race, every down-ballot state race, every local race, every proposition measure. Everything. It means throwing the entire election out. And I think most legislatures (if not every legislature) would be horrified to do that. It would not only create an uproar in the state, and be unprecedented how to fix it – but on a purely selfish level, as legislators it would invalidate their own race. It would put themselves in a flux. And if there was a new election, I think it would be reasonable for them to be concerned that voters would take their anger out on them and vote them out. So, I just don’t think this “Throw out the Electoral College” gambit is a serious matter. It absolutely could happen. But possible is not the same as probable or likely. Yes, I so think that it’s possible, but highly improbable for all those reasons.
Slight digression: A couple weeks ago, Rachel Maddow’s show did a piece on an eloquent, passionate legislator in Pennsylvania, Malcolm Kenyatta, who would not relent against some ploy by the GOP in the state legislature to form a new “election commission.” A few days ago, he posted a tweet – “BREAKING: WE WON!!!! The @PAHouseGOP has pulled their election ‘intergrity’ [sic] committee after unprecedented public pressure. The GOP said ‘the left & their media allies distorted the image [of the bill]’ but the truth is we exposed their scheme!”
First, this is great news – and good for him. But second, this is related to what I wrote before. On something this small, a little commission, the GOP state legislature backed down to public pressure. Imagine the public pressure and risk to their own jobs if they tried to throw out an entire election. That’s part of why I say I just have a very hard time seeing them do something that massive. And third, I think as Election Day gets close, we may see a lot of terrified Republicans flee the sinking ship -- we're already seeing the very early, tentative stages of that... -- and they'll be even less likely to put their careers on the line for someone they're actually trying to distance themselves from. I don't offer any of this as proof, but just an indication of what I'm talking about why I think it's improbable that any state would want to invalidate their entire election.
Back to the matter at hand --
More likely than playing with the Electoral College or conspiracies are the court challenges and efforts to make it difficult to vote, whether by legal maneuvers, misinformation or threats. And that’s a concern. But, again, I think Democrats are highly-aware of that and have been doing a very good job counteracting it. And although Republicans are focusing their efforts totally on Democrats, of course, I suspect that there’s a certain bleed-over that ends up confusing their own voters. We see that most strikingly in GOP efforts to convince voters that mail-in voting is unsafe. Democrats seem to be ignoring that. However, some Republican voters, to the concerned detriment of the party, are believing it and avoiding absentee ballots.
Also, it has to be remembered that for the efforts Republicans may make against mail-in voting, in the end – if worse came to worse – people can say “screw it” and just go to the polls to vote in person. Yes, that’s the worst option for many. And yes, society should make voting as easy as possible. But I’m just saying that messing up mail-in voting does NOT block a person from voting. The option is always there to vote in person. Personally, I have no interest in voting in person – and living in California, I not only don’t have to, since everyone is sent a mail-in ballot and it's easy with drop-boxes everywhere (in fact, I dropped my ballot off in one over the weekend), but also my one presidential vote doesn’t matter much here Nor does my House vote, since my rep Karen Bass won her last election with 89%. But if I lived in a swing state, and Republicans made it too difficult to vote by mail…as much as I do not want to stand in line to vote – I would bring a book, snacks and a chair to wait in line all day to vote for Joe Biden.
Many of these Republican efforts to suppress votes will likely be successful – as efforts. But 1) a successful effort only makes it more difficult to vote, it likely won’t keep most people from voting. 2) Voting is so widespread across all the battleground states and thousands of precincts, trying to suppress votes everywhere is a logistical nightmare. 3) Republican voters are going to be confused, too, not just Democrats. 4) Many, if not most of the Republican efforts to suppress votes will fail. And already have.
Again, it is a concern. Absolutely. But it’s a concern that is being offset by Democratic efforts. And it’s a concern, not necessarily a reality, because it requires monumental logistics to go perfectly to pull off. And mainly, as this recent, excellent article in Slate by Joshua A. Geltzer and Dahlia Lithwick explained, Republicans efforts to suppress the vote are mainly a matter of making people mistrust the result, not actually being able to repress enough votes to seriously matter.
And that leads to one last thing which I touched on above –
I think that Trump’s spiraling efforts into madness have not only had a major impact on voters, as the polls have plummeted for him, but they’ll get even worse. And not only does that mean there is a growing possibility of a landslide, I think there is even the remote possibility (one that didn’t exist before) of Biden-Harris being declared winners on Election Night. That’s a very long shot and not probable, but it was near-impossible two weeks ago. It’s not now. Moreover, I think the strong-majority public reaction against Trump's concerning and infected actions right now (including among his moderate Republican supporters) is one of wariness of him being out-of-control. And that will even grow between now and Election Day. So, that will make it more likely that a majority of people (including his moderate Republican supporters) will be okay accepting the results if Biden win. Some may not be happy about it, but seeing Trump’s breakdown, they won’t be as “outraged” as they would have been only two weeks ago. Biden has been solid, Harris has been solid, and Trump has been nuts, so if Biden ends up getting more votes in the end – more Republicans will say, “Okay, so be it” than before.
It’s all just my opinion. I don’t know. And yes, I hope I’m right. But if anyone disagrees with me, fair enough, there could be some flaws here, but “I hope you’re right” isn’t a good enough reason – it requires an explanation why any of this might not be proper thinking. And the thing is, for the suppression to work, pretty much ALL of this has to work, not just a few things (which will likely work) – ALL of it. And in the end, that’s their biggest hurdle.
But mainly, even if it all the GOP suppression efforts -- or most of them -- don't come to fruition, it's still right and proper and good and important to be concerned. Because the concerns are real. And the more vocal they are, they more attention will be paid to ensuring they don't come to be.Ho