Minority rule*
June 6, 2022 6:00 AM   Subscribe

'It's going to be an army': Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections - "Placing operatives as poll workers and building a 'hotline' to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states."*

  • @HeidiReports: "Recordings of GOP operatives reveal an ambitious, multi-year strategy to challenge & potentially overturn votes in key states, inc. placing trained recruits as poll workers."
  • @Noahpinion: "Deliberate, pre-planned election theft has become the GOP's default strategy in key states."
  • @ThePlumLineGS: "If Doug Mastriano becomes governor of Pennsylvania, there is almost no chance that a Democrat who wins the state in 2024 will get his or her electors certified."[1,2]
-Ohio's Redistricting Process Has Been a Roller Coaster
-The Extreme Bias Of Florida's New Congressional Map

Stung by redistricting rulings, Republicans target state court elections - "Republicans are vowing to spend record amounts in key state supreme court races this fall, seeking to take advantage of a favorable national political environment to elect conservative judges at the state level amid deep political divisions."
In Ohio, three Republican seats on the seven-judge court are on the ballot this year. The state party cut an ad criticizing Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner, who is running for chief justice, for a 2020 fundraiser headlined by Holder, whose group has filed lawsuits challenging Ohio's congressional maps.

The court is split 4-3 in favor of Republicans. But Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican retiring at year's end, sided with the Democratic minority in throwing out a Republican-backed congressional map in January – drawing threats of impeachment from some Republican lawmakers.

Republicans sidestepped the decision by adopting a second map that appears likely to remain in place for November's elections while the litigation is pending. Installing a new chief justice could give Republicans a more receptive court ahead of the 2024 election cycle.
Florida Supreme Court lets DeSantis-backed congressional map stand - "The new map gives Republicans the advantage in 20 of the state's 28 congressional districts, four more seats than the party currently occupies. In a surprise move, DeSantis created his own map, vetoed two less aggressive maps that the Republican-controlled legislature passed and called lawmakers into a special session to vote on his proposal... Republicans need to flip five Democratic seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to win a majority, which would allow them to stymie much of Democratic President Joe Biden's agenda."

Facing Trump-inspired voter limits, Democrats gird for legal battles - "Georgia's law was one of nearly three dozen in 2021 that curbed ballot access across 19 states, most of them controlled by Republicans. That push carried into this year, with legislators in at least 27 states having introduced, pre-filed, or carried over 250 bills with restrictive provisions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice's latest tally."
"Because of Georgia's new trash election laws, one man was allowed to challenge the right to vote for 13,000 voters," Nsé Ufot, chief executive of the New Georgia Project, a voting-rights group based in Atlanta, said in an interview. "That is what is at stake in these November elections: The material rights that we enjoy as Americans."

...

In addition to giving individual Georgians the power to challenge an unlimited number of voters at once, the state's law limited the use of dropboxes, narrowed the window for submitting absentee ballots and criminalized a variety of election-related activities, including giving water to voters in line.

At a meeting in Atlanta last week, the New Georgia Project's chief legal officer, Aklima Khondoker, trained lawyers volunteering to help voters navigate the new law. Khondoker told the group the new legislation has added a new level of confusion for already overstretched election officials, adding, "That confusion can lead to disenfranchisement."

...

Democrats and their allies are also pouring resources into boosting turnout. The New Georgia Project has knocked on 417,000 doors in the past 10 weeks, hoping to get new voters to the polls for the primary, knowing that increases the chances they will cast a ballot in November.

On a hot and sunny afternoon last Thursday, canvasser TunDe Hector appeared to win over a 27-year-old man in a south Atlanta neighborhood who had no plan to vote in the primary. After their conversation, the man, who only gave his first name of Devontae, said there was an 85% chance he would cast a ballot.

"They count on us not being out here," Hector said. "I'm here to make sure, you know, you don't want to be scratched off the books because this is important for all of us."[3,4]
Retired judge killed; gunman identified; sources say Governor Evers was on suspect hit list - "Sources close to the investigation into the apparent targeted hit on retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer Friday say the victim was found zip tied and shot to death in his home. WTMJ's John Mercure first reported Friday afternoon that the 56-year-old suspect was a member of a militia and had a hit list that included the names of elected officials including Governor Tony Evers."[5,6]

@Noahpinion: "America is in danger of a civil war, but if it happens, it'll happen because the military splits and fights itself (over a disputed Presidential election). If that happens, all bets are off, shit hits the fan. Otherwise, the worst we get is scattered terrorism."

in other culture war news... also btw...
The Secret Bipartisan Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election - "For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions. The extraordinary effort was dedicated to ensuring the election would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. Here's how it was done."[10,11]
posted by kliuless (61 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everything with the GOP is about projection. They accuse Democrats of rigging elections because they rig elections.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:14 AM on June 6 [52 favorites]


"Placing operatives as poll workers and building a 'hotline' to friendly attorneys"

I'm sure that they're going to train their poll workers to be enormous dickheads, but most states use party poll workers (one Dem, one GOP) with the idea that they keep an eye on each other. Poll watchers are also pretty normal and typically have relatively strict guidelines under state law.

The "hotline to friendly attorneys" is also business as usual -- I've been serving as a Democratic Party volunteer election attorney for almost 20 years now. I go to a training once every two years and get a 30-page PDF. There's a hotline to the local and state party HQ that's given to all poll workers and included on hand cards/election mailings for party voters. If someone tries not to let you vote or you see something hinky, you call the hotline, they check their list of attorneys, and they dispatch the physically closest one. I sit there with my phone on all day waiting for a call, and then I dash over to the polling place and intervene. Typically where I live (we're voter-friendly) it's just minor confusion and no actual voting rights violation, but if there is a voting-rights violation, I inform the voter and the poll workers of the voter's rights, demand the preservation of evidence, and get back on the phone with HQ, who can patch me through to actual full-time election attorneys, who coach me through what to do if there's a real problem.

I've only ever been activated for either confusion or minor procedural issues (i.e., someone just moved and the specific poll workers aren't sure which ballot to give them, and I become the human flow chart). My brother, also an attorney, volunteers too, and he actually was called to a legit voting rights violation where a politician ended up arrested for illegal campaigning. (He was drunk, campaigning way too close to the polling station, and making wild threats. He was also a Democrat, and the Democratic poll watchers called the Democratic attorneys to get him pitched out.)

The thing is, these networks are already quite large; I don't know how many more attorneys the GOP can realistically pick up. And the other thing is, the training involves so many threats and warnings about losing your law license for fucking around with voting. The procedures have to be followed very exactly. There's a lot of attorneys willing to talk big on TV/at a campaign event, but I really question how many local, low-level attorneys are willing to involve themselves in a GOP blitz aimed at violating election law, because the consequences are potentially disastrous. There are 102 counties in Illinois and you need at least one attorney serving each, and cities typically have a bunch. Are there 200 attorneys in Illinois willing to go along with the GOP's disaster train? Experience of the last two election cycles suggests that when the rubber hits the road, there are four of them (and I can name them). The attorneys evaporate really fast when it's "a little light voter intimidation." The state GOP uses big Chicago law firms, who are often donors and are often happy to encourage their associates to volunteer with the state party election day teams, but you are literally insane if you think Seyfarth Shaw's GOP-voting senior partners or maybe-GOP-friendly junior associates are risking their licenses and the loss of business credibility that comes with joining "The Big Lie." The Chicago firms have already turned down all those cases and in some cases fired clients who became a PR liability because of their Trumpiness.

Which is why there are basically four attorneys in Illinois taking all the pro-Trump voter cases, and two of them are clearly angling to run for Congress, and one of them is being investigated for fleecing clients.

(Also, any GOP poll watcher who stands there challenging every minority voter who comes to vote is going to find out what happens when the DA gets called for voter harassment, and how much a Civil Rights lawsuit costs you. That is so public and there would be so much evidence. As the article notes, the poll watchers will just get thrown out if they're hassling people.)

This tho:
Penniman also expressed concern about the quick-strike networks of lawyers and DAs being created, suggesting that politically motivated poll workers could simply initiate a legal conflict at the polling place that disrupts voting and then use it as a vehicle for rejecting vote counts from that precinct.
That I believe. But again, they're going to get thrown out for disrupting voting. It'll play well on Fox News, but they'd need a VERY friendly judiciary to escape a clear violation of the law that's exactly within the guidelines. Some of this training seems like it literally went and read state election law and said, "Okay, now that we have an outline of all the things that are illegal, I'm going to teach you how to do all the illegal things, point-by-point, so we make sure you fulfill all the evidentiary requirements to go to jail."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:33 AM on June 6 [81 favorites]


The inside story of Georgia's shift left - "Georgia, once solid red, is looking more purple than ever. 'Georgia is an early bellwether as to which direction things are going,' Geoff Duncan, lieutenant governor of Georgia, says. And Republicans have been scrambling to react."
posted by kliuless at 6:34 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Something from my anarchist youth has been coming back to me periodically lately, an idea along the lines of, "if you don't like the way you're being governed, the best response is to become ungovernable."

Later on, and for a big chunk of my middle age, I've tried to be more dispassionate and "reasonable", but it seems increasingly clear that that approach, from whatever middle-of-the-road, invested left we have in the US, is insufficient in the face of the kind of fascism kliuless is cataloging here.

I don't know what it looks like or how it will go down, but increasingly it seems like we are going to have to, in a mass way, simply refuse to comply with these ghouls - refuse to be orderly or law-abiding or peaceful or controllable without a huge investment of time, money, and maybe blood. It's hard to imagine most US liberals doing that, though.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:37 AM on June 6 [39 favorites]


It's a good time to sign up to be an election official/pollworker.

I've done it since 2015 or so. The work is exacting -- procedures must be followed carefully to avoid exactly the sort of fuckery discussed in this post -- and its cognitive load is more than you might think, but it's doable. Positions whose holders remain seated for all or most of their shift are readily available, at least where I work.

It's also compensated where I am (including for training), though I personally waive payment.
posted by humbug at 6:44 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]




Eyebrows McGee: ...they're going to get thrown out for disrupting voting. It'll play well on Fox News, but they'd need a VERY friendly judiciary to escape a clear violation of the law that's exactly within the guidelines.

My reading of that is to expect these people to be Hopeful Martyrs, dreaming of becoming MAGA-famous like that awful county clerk Kim Davis who happily caused chaos, and then appealed her incarceration after she was (correctly) stomped on.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:55 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


@humbug same! I worked the 2020 (when they were desperate for people) and a state primary just last month. Because I had a better grasp on technology (could turn on the laptop) I was trained to work what is sort of the help desk for anyone who comes to vote but for whatever reason isn't listed in the poll workers book. It is interesting and has long stretches of doing nothing with bursts of frantic activity.

If there is one thing I would say is important to let people know (especially if there are any issues from specific workers) it would be no matter if the worker thinks it will count or not you are ALWAYS able to fill out a provisional ballot so you can vote. In our state it is up to election officials after the fact to evaluate and rule on the eligibility and you are given a tracking number so you can follow the process and check up on what is going on.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:56 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


The "hotline to friendly attorneys" is also business as usual -- I've been serving as a Democratic Party volunteer election attorney for almost 20 years now. I go to a training once every two years and get a 30-page PDF.

I've served on those hotlines as well, primarily for the NAACP. The difference is that the "Democrat-friendly" hotlines are all about making sure you can vote. In our trainings, we were told over and over that the goal is to help people vote regardless of who they are voting for.

Judging from the article, it sounds like the GOP plan is the exact opposite - Republican-friendly attorneys who will step in and "stage real-time interventions" in order to prevent vote counts or get valid votes thrown out.

Otherwise, Eyebrows, I don't disagree with you, except that I absolutely believe that there are crooked, small-time Republican attorneys who will throw aside law and ethics in a heartbeat if they think it will get them in good with the party elites. I hope you are right that there are fewer than I fear.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:08 AM on June 6 [22 favorites]


I am a NYS poll worker. We use the dual-party controls to ensure fair-play all around. Everyone I've ever worked with has been 100% committed to getting every eligible voter to be able to cast their ballot with a minimum of fuss and absolutely no hi-jinks. If hi-jinks were to occur, we would immediately reach out to the Board of Elections for guidance, and they usually have a few county sheriff deputies sitting around there, so they can just get on their radio and dispatch someone to put an end to any hi-jinks.
posted by mikelieman at 7:20 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Democrats and their allies are also pouring resources into boosting turnout.

Big "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" energy.
posted by entropone at 7:24 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Ben -- I used to work for the DNC Tech Team and supported the software used by the poll workers and volunteer attorneys. A lot of the purpose for building a database of calls is both to inform volunteers when there are known problems in a county or precinct, so as to provide better answers to voters calling, and also (arguably more importantly) to build evidence to be used in litigation when Republican attorneys try to intervene to get votes thrown out. The data has also been used for things like disqualifying poll workers who have had a history of intimidating people of color at the voting booth. So, yeah, we're aware, and doing our best to equip state democratic parties to counter shenanigans, but it is a long, steady grind.

(obligatory bump reminder to donate to state parties and orgs like Fair Fight Action who continue to support election integrity between cycles)

Also, adding on to what you mentioned, everyone who uses the software is made to swear an oath that they will help anyone regardless of state or affiliation. Seeing that was always a nice part of testing the onboarding flow for the software, and reminding ourselves of what the impact is.
posted by bl1nk at 7:32 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


"Long stretches of doing nothing with bursts of frantic activity" is pretty typical for working the polls at all but the busiest presidential elections, honestly. The activity bursts typically time with voters working around work: at polls opening, midday, and evening rush hour (whenever that is where you are; it does vary a bit).

There's some stuff to do during lulls -- where I am, it's processing absentee ballots and reconciling the dual pollbooks -- but it usually doesn't fill the lulls completely. Bring your favorite interruptible (e)book. (N.b. in some jurisdictions, absentees get processed centrally. In mine, they go to the location the voter would have voted in-person at.)

YES TO PROVISIONAL BALLOTS. I've helped with several. Almost all turned into votes.
posted by humbug at 7:43 AM on June 6


but most states use party poll workers (one Dem, one GOP) with the idea that they keep an eye on each other

Queensbury rules will not save us.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:47 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Gee - maybe Congress should consider passing some sort of voting legislation? Maybe a Voting Rights act of some kind?
posted by wittgenstein at 7:51 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


"My reading of that is to expect these people to be Hopeful Martyrs, dreaming of becoming MAGA-famous"

Totally ... I just think there's a limited number of hours a day on FoxNews, and not every GOP election official in the country is going to get their moment in the spotlight. One or two will be chosen as a cause celebre, and the rest will rack up endless legal bills. Not even all the Jan 6 guys are getting all the promised support and funding.

"Judging from the article, it sounds like the GOP plan is the exact opposite - Republican-friendly attorneys who will step in and "stage real-time interventions" in order to prevent vote counts or get valid votes thrown out."

That's totally the plan, but GOP election attorney hotlines are already in place ... and staffed by attorneys who are also trained in protecting the right to vote. I have my state's GOP attorney election volunteer training handbook somewhere, and it's almost exactly the same as the Dem one. I don't think attorneys are particularly intelligent or moral or even know the law all that well; I just question the practicality of either a) telling hundreds of GOP attorneys who have already been trained for election emergency response to throw out everything they know and have been trained in for the past 10 to 40 years and trust that the legal sanctions against attorney bad actors no longer count; or b) getting rid of all the GOP attorneys who have been trained under existing hotline regimes and/or have expertise in actual election law and replacing all of them with MAGA-head attorneys.

One of the knock-on effects of choosing B (getting rid of the existing attorneys and replacing them with MAGA-heads) is already evident at the local level in Illinois. Getting on the ballot and running for election involves a lot of really technical procedure-following that can trip you up, and you have opponents waiting right there and salivating at the idea of you fucking up so they can file a challenge and get you thrown off the ballot. Now, Illinois's a heavily Democratic-leaning state, and I don't doubt the incentives are different in, say, South Carolina. But what has happened several times already in this primary season is that Trumpy candidates who are using Trumpy lawyers keep fucking up their election law. A well-funded suburban GOP guy running to lower taxes on the wealthy is getting a lot of cash from rich business guys in Chicago, and he can afford to hire people to sit there and comb through all of his Trumpy primary opponent's petition sheets and find enough signature irregularities to get him pitched off the ballot, because the Trumpy lawyers are bad and don't actually know the minutiae of election law. Illinois's financial disclosure forms are particularly nightmarish (I'm an attorney, and my husband was a government attorney who actually oversaw those forms for his agency, and when I ran for office we STILL had to call a state elections attorney to clarify the wording and required disclosures), and two or three GOP candidates have already been caught out this cycle with incorrect forms, because their lawyers are bad.

These are really rookie mistakes, and you need access to elections attorneys who actually know the law -- which might be through the state party, or might be through having enough cash to hire your own. But if the GOP becomes determined to purge its experienced election attorneys and replace them with the Sidney Powells of the world ... there are actual consequences for that decision before we get to the suppressing-the-votes part of the gameplan, and one of those consequences is "people who don't believe in or understand election law are disproportionately likely to be disqualified from the ballot." And there are only so many MAGA billionaires willing to fund quixotic local races from unknowns. (Delightfully, in Illinois, our two MAGA billionaires have chosen two different candidates for the GOP governor primary, and they're busy spending millions of dollars to take chunks out of each other on air, both getting less popular by the day. Whoever wins the primary will be half-dead and bleeding cash before he even limps into the general.)

I don't know, I mean, it's definitely going to work in some places. I just don't think "replacing all existing GOP elections attorneys with true MAGA believers" is a cost-free decision for the GOP, and at least some of those costs are going to become apparent faster than you'd expect. (Although some are going to fester in the body politic until the heat death of the universe, I'm sure.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:59 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]


The main reason I am horrified by these developments is that the Democratic Party does not even seem to have a plan to call out this fuckery, much less address it and try and stop it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:05 AM on June 6 [30 favorites]


I don't know, I mean, it's definitely going to work in some places. I just don't think "replacing all existing GOP elections attorneys with true MAGA believers" is a cost-free decision for the GOP, and at least some of those costs are going to become apparent faster than you'd expect. (Although some are going to fester in the body politic until the heat death of the universe, I'm sure.)

Totally agree. My primary concern is that it only has to work in a few close districts in order to flip control of the House.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:10 AM on June 6 [15 favorites]


The main reason I am horrified by these developments is that the Democratic Party does not even seem to have a plan to call out this fuckery, much less address it and try and stop it.

The Republican party has found the ultimate weakness in value neutral governance: When once side just doesn't act in good faith anymore. To consider someone as acting in bad faith is sacrosanct for a liberal because you can't read someone's mind and a liberal is more interested in being correct than doing right. Assigning values to an action, putting it in context, Jesus Christ they may actually have to call someone out or take a stand on something and that could lose them votes. Plus they can't just assume that everyone is acting in bad faith because then the system irrevocably breaks down.

So instead we have Dianne fucking Feinstein congratulating her colleague on confirming a justice that's ready to sink American democracy in favor of one party white supremacist minority rule.

We are utterly fucked. The question is how long it takes to dig ourselves out of this fuckery. It's going to take generations.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:11 AM on June 6 [28 favorites]


Such a weird blend of manipulative assholes and useful idiots the GOP has become.

I feel like we should be seriously talking about a bicoastal secession as an alternative to what increasingly looks like a looming Civil War to me. Plugging more energy into a system that's designed to be broken and overemphasize rural voices and a tyranny of the minority always seemed nuts to me, but with SCOTUS looking like it's about to ve permanently weakened and less and less protective of voting rights it seems more urgent now than ever to find a fix now.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:32 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I want to believe that Eyebrows McGee is right. That the systems in place will protect us. But those systems are pretty recent, and we don't fully know whow fragile they are. The primary thing McConnell and Trump agreed on was flooding judicial benches with absolute fuckwits. American history illustrates that especially in rural regions, the rule of law is often secondary to the rule of power (even once Jim Crow laws were overturned, prosecuting white people for crimes had and has a very different outcome than prosecuting Black people, given the same evidence).

I mean, I think it's good news that the lawyers are not panicking. I read Teri Kanefield to keep my blood pressure under control. I want to have hope. But the track record we are working with ain't great.
posted by rikschell at 8:36 AM on June 6 [17 favorites]


The Republican party has found the ultimate weakness in value neutral governance: When once side just doesn't act in good faith anymore.

Jason Isbell was on a podcast recently and he spoke about how the right is getting nigh-on impossible to engage with, not simply because they argue and act in bad faith, but because they expect bad faith from everyone. How do you engage with someone who thinks everything you say is a put-on to get what you want?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:41 AM on June 6 [33 favorites]


I agree with rikschell -- while I hope that Eyebrows is once again correct (and think she probably does have a clear grip on how things will go in her state) I cannot help but worry about all the shenanigans that will be allowed to pass in many states.

We've already seen the Republicans be extremely successful at extracting partisan advantage by exploiting a willingness to disregard laws that have insufficient enforcement mechanisms. I fear that that will be the case here. If they decide to selectively disregard election laws who, realistically, is going to stop them in many, many of our nation's jurisdictions?
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:45 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I feel like we should be seriously talking about a bicoastal secession as an alternative to what increasingly looks like a looming Civil War to me.

The problem with that sort of rhetoric is that States are not monolithic. There are more Republicans in California than in Kansas, and more Democrats in Texas than in Maryland.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:06 AM on June 6 [28 favorites]


Talk about bicoastal succession is a more dramatic and fantastic version of the democratic strategy of writing off rural voters. It's not a winning strategy.
posted by subdee at 9:12 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


The secession thing is a non-starter. It's just a rotten-ass way to look at things, frankly, both morally and practically. "Good luck, Black folks in Mississippi! Bon voyage, queers in Birmingham!"

It's easy to hand wave and say that maybe this would be something that could be worked out with a period of rapid migration between regions. But maybe just give a quick Google of "partition of India" and see how that goes.

The US balkanizing into multiple countries would be a disaster. This is not to say it is not something that might be attempted at some point, only that it would be awful.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:15 AM on June 6 [47 favorites]


Then again, I have to learn to accept that "This is a transparently bad idea that would obviously harm many people" is no longer a clear impediment to anything anymore.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:26 AM on June 6 [26 favorites]


The Secret Bipartisan Campaign


What they describe is a deal between capital and labor. The silent partner is this deal is the military (& sort of cops). And it remains to be seen if this tripartite cooperation will withstand something ostensibly benign like rising wages.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:31 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Everything with the GOP is about projection. They accuse Democrats of rigging elections because they rig elections.

I've made this exact point when arguing with Republicans online.

They accused me of projection. Got quite vehement about it.
posted by flabdablet at 9:56 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


I feel like we should be seriously talking about a bicoastal secession as an alternative to what increasingly looks like a looming Civil War to me.

Option 1:
What a state (or states) can do, however, is begin the process of seeking a mutually agreed upon parting of the ways, and that process clearly exists, set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1868 ruling in Texas v. White. That ruling concluded that a state (or states) could secede by gaining approval of both houses of Congress and then obtaining ratification by three fourths of the nation's legislatures.
Option 2:
Texas v. White did, however, suggest another way a state might secede: “through revolution."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:07 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


What are you willing to do? - James Meek, LRB
It’s not unreasonable for Walter and many others to see a future civil war in America taking the form of a smouldering, uncoordinated insurgency by pro-Trump conspiracists against a liberal reigning order of corporations, media, government, academia and metro society. But the real danger might be that Trump and Republicans loyal to him cheat and lie their way to a victory that is accepted by Congress, federal power passes to an autocrat, and, after a period of mass protest, most liberals just put up with it, judging it not worth the blood and damage to fight for democracy. If it is a real danger that civil war may threaten democracy, it is also a real danger that democracy may die because its defenders refuse to start one.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:34 AM on June 6 [26 favorites]


The problem with that sort of rhetoric is that States are not monolithic.

I totally get that argument, but we are increasingly helpless to protect women and minorities in red states regardless. The worst case scenario here is open warfare. At least with a fifty-fifty-ish split people might have a chance to relocate.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:41 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


My main counteraegument is that there's no way for states to vote their way to fair elections.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:44 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


My main counteraegument is that there's no way for states to vote their way to fair elections.

That depends on how the elections are made unfair. When it's "just" gerrymandering, relatively small increases in turnout can easily tip the balance. Even the best gerrymanders are inherently fragile when districts have to all contain the same number of voters because the packing and cracking necessary to make the seat count differ wildly from the vote means that the partisan balance in the cracked districts can't be too wildly lopsided for the party in power while the packed districts are wildly lopsided for the party out of power.

When combined with measures to make it somewhere between difficult and impossible for the "wrong" people to vote (or have their vote counted) however, you are absolutely correct. This is why Republicans have gone well beyond simple gerrymandering in so many states.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


My hopes that Dems will defend democracy are tempered by my dread-filled understanding that they will do nothing real to help us.

What the GOP is doing is making us helpless -- and that is domestic terrorism, on a real level we won't appreciate until the right starts rounding people up who aren't on board.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:46 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


My hopes that Dems will defend democracy are tempered by my dread-filled understanding that they will do nothing real to help us.

Beware letting dread overtake understanding.

Blanket statements about "Dems" doing "nothing" to help "us" strike me as problematic in all sorts of ways.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:21 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Jumping in with some good (?) news from New Hampshire, where the Republican-led house had been attempting a gerrymander. We've got two house seats that roughly split the state in half north/south; one district used to swing but has been solidly blue for a bit now (Kuster's been in the seat for 10 years); the other district is more swingy, but the current D incumbent has managed two straight terms and is going up for a third.

The Republicans were trying to push to split the state into a more clearly R district and a more clearly D district, but our (Republican!) governor kept saying nope, doesn't pass "the smell test", because it was doing things like putting the two current House reps into the same district, and just making awful looking maps.

So, the state supreme court had to step in and...here's our map. Basically the same as the last map, with a couple of towns flipped to adjust the population.

There are other things going on that are not great--some new voting laws, the Secretary of State making noises about "election integrity", usual stuff about how the Dems are busing up voters from MA, etc.-but, at least we got a fair map.
posted by damayanti at 12:27 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


For decades, the RNC was barred from so-called “ballot security” measures after it settled an early 1980s case in which it was accused of voter suppression in violation of the Voting Rights Act, including sending armed police officers off duty to polling places in minority areas. In 2018, a federal judge allowed that consent decree to expire.

“The 2020 election would have been the first year that the RNC could have done anything with election integrity,” said Seifried in the tapes.


This line was a real eye-opener... We like to blame Trump and Trumpists for everything but this points to a generalized strategy the RNC would have been trying sooner if they hadn't been specifically blocked from doing so.

Also that Trump was carrying out the RNC strategy, but in a disorganized and telegraphed way that centered himself.
posted by subdee at 12:55 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


They accused me of projection. Got quite vehement about it.

So, just a game of "I know you are but what am I?"

"You're just saying I'm projecting because you're the one projecting!"
posted by dsword at 12:58 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Everything with the GOP is about projection. They accuse Democrats of rigging elections because they rig elections.

I've made this exact point when arguing with Republicans online. They accused me of projection. Got quite vehement about it.


Even if true, it's kind of a pointless observation even among ourselves. In debate it's literally the equivalent of saying, "I know you are, what am I?"

We gotta document stuff people do, not wave our arms and say, "Those hypocrites actually do all the things they accuse us of doing!" because the other side says the exact same thing.

Denouncing theives as hypocrites is weaksauce. Denounce them for theft.
posted by straight at 12:59 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I mean, it's definitely going to work in some places. I just don't think "replacing all existing GOP elections attorneys with true MAGA believers" is a cost-free decision for the GOP, and at least some of those costs are going to become apparent faster than you'd expect. (Although some are going to fester in the body politic until the heat death of the universe, I'm sure.)

One of the pleasant surprises of the 2020 election was that the existing infrastructure _did_ protect itself. GOP election officials here in Philadelphia stressed hard and continued to stress hard that they saw no signs of fraud, ballot-box stuffing, dead men voting, precinct-hopping, voting machine tampering or parachuting Chinese stormtroopers acting on George Soros's orders. Judges acted in accordance with existing law regardless of whether they were DEM or GOP appointees. The dreaded Krakens were laughed out of court, as were Rudy's various legal misadventures. A GOP official voted with the Democrats to certify 'disputed' Michigan results, as he found no basis for doing otherwise. Odious human beings like Brian Kemp and Doug Ducey held the line against "just find me 11,000 votes" dimwits.

The problem there is that the 2020 test run clearly pointed out stress points in the system to be targeted. State laws prevent active scale-thumbing? Have GOP state legislatures change state laws. Redistricting is something of a crapshoot as to whether even relative sanity will prevail. State and local election boards manned by people of integrity? RINOs, get 'em out of there.

The Trump coup failed not because it was incapable of succeeding, but because it was run by dingbats and conspiracy theorists and thrown together at the last minute when it was clear that traditional electoral tactics were failing. The lawsuits, like as was once said of Cleveland, had no 'there' there. The Sidney Powells and Rudy Giulianis of the world seemed to believe that if the right magic incantations were spoken, things would just fall into place, and acted shocked when they didn't. But they've had years to examine those tactics, pinpoint offices, and run true-believer candidates now.

Are they going to shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly, as with upthread examples? Of course they are. These are, as a general rule, not bright people. But there are plenty of places in the US where not-bright people can be swept into office by masses who simply want privilege and someone from their team bestowing it. There are people without head injuries
who will happily vote for Marjorie Taylor Greene and Herschel Walker on the same ballot this fall, and if someone is installed on a different ballot to replace an identified weak link in the election-theft process, they'll vote that person in, too. The GOP is not going to cheat their way to victory in all fifty states -- but they don't have to. Just flipping a few of the right levers might do it, because despite the size of his electoral win... Biden didn't win by much.
posted by delfin at 1:27 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Everything with the GOP is about projection. They accuse Democrats of rigging elections because they rig elections.

An accusation from a right-winger is a confession. But a confession minus the shame part.
posted by zardoz at 1:28 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I think there's a division between people in these kinds of threads... Keep fighting, any victory is worthwhile... And the ones who look at trends, see the massive blows to freedom and the values of the country, and have perfectly reasonable panic. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I think a lot of people don't like to look at the worst case scenario, where some of us are literally like..... I'm on the list of people who will be shot if the right wing follows through on their stated values and goals.
posted by Jacen at 1:31 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


The "rule of law" is a nice idea, but it's a mirage. When the "supreme law of the land" states that I have "inalienable" rights which are nonetheless alienated by the government, rule of law is not in effect. Law is inconsistent across jurisdictions and across individual decisions within a single jurisdiction: how can its "rule" be coherent?

The "two sides" are Good Cop and Bad Cop. Both support the "rule of cop" / "rule of boss" / "rule of landlord" and neither is willing to entertain other sorts of rule unless forced to do so. The Democratic Party at least pretends to be democratic, but not to the point of studying or applying democratic principles and methods. These have advanced a great deal in the last few hundred years, but the D party seems still to believe that First Past the Post is equivalent to divine mandate. I have no criticisms about the R party except that they stand for that in which they believe, and they are tribal nihilists.

Bad Cops are definitely, obviously worse. It makes sense to prefer a Good Cop over a Bad Cop. But Good Cop is still a cop, and the cop is not your ally. The cop is there to protect property from you (sometimes your own property, even!) and will do so following their own whim, even with a smile. You might not be in a position to see the smile when their knees are in your back, stopping your breath- you'll just have to have faith that the cop is Good and will let you breathe again some day.

Or not. You could join with your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends to route around the power of the cops, landlords, bosses and all those who would control you for their own ends (as opposed to your own or those of the societies of which you are part.) It's difficult, dangerous, arduous work, but crews are already at it. You can join in. Look around, find the helpers.
posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 2:20 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


That depends on how the elections are made unfair. When it's "just" gerrymandering, relatively small increases in turnout can easily tip the balance. Even the best gerrymanders are inherently fragile when districts have to all contain the same number of voters because the packing and cracking necessary to make the seat count differ wildly from the vote means that the partisan balance in the cracked districts can't be too wildly lopsided for the party in power while the packed districts are wildly lopsided for the party out of power.

2018 Wisconsin State Assembly election

Seats Won
Republican: 63
Democratic: 36

Statewide Popular Vote Percentage
Republican: 44.75%
Democratic: 52.99%

They had a supermajority despite losing in the popular vote by 8 points.

Democratic districts are all D+50 or more apart from four districts, the 43rd (D+22), the 74th (D+13), the 91st (D+33), and the 94th (D+20).

Again, they have a fucking supermajority despite losing in the popular vote by 8 points. Democrats needed to win by 20 points on average to even gain a majority. Republicans have this shit down to an art.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:24 PM on June 6 [43 favorites]


The 2020 election would have been the first year that the RNC could have done anything with election integrity

Maybe they could've included it in their platform. If they'd had one, instead of literally whatever Donald Trump says.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


The Republican party platform has been explicitly anti gay marriage for how many years now?
posted by Jacen at 3:14 PM on June 6


"So instead we have Dianne fucking Feinstein ...."

As Jello Biafra called her back in 1980s = "The Dragon Lady with No Fucking Heart"
posted by symbioid at 3:35 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


All I know is I write an open letter to my old pastor every night in my head. I yelled at my mom last time I was home asking if she was happy she won, forcing people to bow to her god, becauseTHAT is apparently what "freedom" is to them.

This past week has been hell on my sanity, and I stopped drinking so... IDK... I have meds don't worry. I'm not a danger to myself or others, but I think a huge part is alienation both pushed on by social networks and my own introverted self.

My political... "guru" (friend, but very smart and astute at analysis) keeps hammering the point:

We lack discipline. We need discipline. What does that mean in this context, and how does one go about achieving this.

The left loves to snipe over every perceived fault. We need to stop that.

The question of good/bad faith is most assuredly important. We need to recognize who we can and who we can't work with. And frankly even people we think we can, may not end up being the steadfast allies one should really need... (quelle surprise - and this includes my antisocial ass).

And I know it's not popular on the blue, but it's legal so I'm going to say it: The left needs to arm itself. Queer people, POC, "Progressives", leftists...

The intimidation by fundie christians now going to Gay bookstores and calling them pedos... This is like satanic panic all over, only this time they march, with guns, and have the Golden God-Manchild to call them to action.

I'm also going to start mis-religioning Christians. They don't want to respect pronouns? Fine, Satanist. Be gone.
posted by symbioid at 3:43 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Do you know what I miss right now? I miss the old NPR show Talk Of The Nation, the two-hour block of national call-in show that they used to have (hosted by the much missed Neal Conan). Because if we still had that, I'd be you 100% Neal would have on a guest and either HE would ask him exactly what the Dems are doing about this stuff that is being done totally out in the open that they seem not to be responding to at all, or some caller would confront that Dem operative.

Why aren't these questions being asked of Dem leaders? "Have you heard about this? Have you responded to it? Are any countermeasures being planned?"

Because right now, from where I sit, it looks like the Dems are just ignoring this and willing to let it all happen. Not sure why they think that's a good strategy, if they're thinking about strategy at all.
posted by hippybear at 4:12 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


I imagine it's hard to get things done when your opponents are stacked with frothing fanboys willing to volunteer for anything and your side is stacked with people asking why you haven't saved them yet.
posted by a_masterpiece_of_cold_cuts at 6:29 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]




DirtyOldTown: Jason Isbell ... recently ... spoke about how the right is getting nigh-on impossible to engage with, not simply because they argue and act in bad faith, but because they expect bad faith from everyone. How do you engage with someone who thinks everything you say is a put-on to get what you want?

You tell them what you want: justice and fairness and compassion and empathy, power curbed, responsibility taken by those we delegate to represent us, the best outcomes we can arrange for the most people, transparency so we can know what's going on, education so people can assess this for themselves whether this is happening, including people in the system because it affects them just as they gain from participating. You tell them how you're going to get it: having integrity and working very hard, by bringing together many people who have integrity and work very hard for gains that are greater than the sum of the parts.

If someone can only imagine acting for their own wins at any cost, they also need to see an example of many people acting within the law for collective gain so that they might join in. (Your points about stories of justice being delivered and current liberties protected are bang on: where are the good news and good examples?)

(This is another superb and terrifying thread, Kliuless)
posted by k3ninho at 12:58 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


I'm also going to start mis-religioning Christians. They don't want to respect pronouns? Fine, Satanist. Be gone.

As much fun as this sounds, coming from an extremely similar background/family situation to yours (from the sound of it) it’s worth pointing out a fundamental difference: nobody is born a Christian. It’s a belief system they’ve adopted, which from their perspective might feel like it isn’t a choice (“because God’s Word is Truth”, they’ll say), being trans is - at least for most, AIUI - not a choice.

I apologize in advance if this is a case of a cis person lecturing a trans person on their own positionality (not intentional, obvi), and for…

The left loves to snipe over every perceived fault. We need to stop that.

hypocritically violating this principle. Because holy shit would we get so much more accomplished if we dialed down the purity tests even by, like, half. So yeah, all apologies but AIUI this deeply cathartic idea sets up a false equivalence that feeds into the ignorance propping up their bigotry and should probably be avoided.
posted by Ryvar at 5:59 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


hypocritically violating this principle. Because holy shit would we get so much more accomplished if we dialed down the purity tests even by, like, half. So yeah, all apologies but AIUI this deeply cathartic idea sets up a false equivalence that feeds into the ignorance propping up their bigotry and should probably be avoided.

Part of this supposed "problem" of purity testing is that leftists and educated people in aggregate have more diverse social networks. Cross-gender, cross-culture, cross-sexuality, they're just less homogenous in general. So if a person who wants to get elected says stuff that's generally sensible but then follows it all up with a hearty "fuck asians" then I, with a bunch of Asian friends, sits up and takes note. After all, what would the people I care about think of me if I supported this asshole, even if it were for the greater good of others?

Like I can agree to disagree over a lot of things. Which coast is better, whether the Pats are a good team, whether cereal is a soup. I can't abide by people treating other people as subhuman because of who they are and most of the purity tests involve that simple fact, simply because they're the most egregious of the sins one can commit as what we seem to have a consensus on what makes a decent human being. But the culture wars are so fucking thick on the ground that everyone has their prejudices and those prejudices are a red line for other people because we've all lived very different lives as different people.

So it's not just a matter of "dialing down the purity tests" because then we get fucking establishment Democrats putting their institutional weight behind people who are antithesis to the values we hold dear. The problem is a lot deeper and far more complicated than we imagine.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:31 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


Yeah to be clear when I say drop half, the half I am suggesting we keep is stuff like mutual respect, equity, BLM, and the fundamentals of social justice.

I am, however, emphatically uninterested in whether Bernie Sanders or his rural progressive base are sufficiently anti-gun. I don’t care whether Hillary is sufficiently anti-healthcare insurance industry or anti-capitalist in general for anyone’s taste when we have overt fascists on the other side. Applying impact vs intent to one’s own voting habits, basically.
posted by Ryvar at 8:59 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Constitutionally, a simple majority vote of the United States House of Representatives is the final arbiter of its own membership. Therefore I propose that if it is proven that several of the Republican members begged President Trump for a pardon, the House should vote to eject.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:31 PM on June 10


How to Stop a "Rogue Governor" from Interfering in the Next Election
The danger of a strategy centered around a “rogue governor” has been forcefully explained by legal scholar Matthew Seligman, whose work has put this danger on the map for ECA reformers. See Matthew Seligman, Disputed Presidential Elections and the Collapse of Constitutional Norms (2022 working paper). As Seligman has laid out, the problem stems from the ECA’s so‐​called “governor’s tiebreaker” provision. See Seligman at 46–48...

The best way to eliminate the governor’s tiebreaker and the risk of a “rogue governor” is to ensure that Congress only considers one correct slate of electors from each state. That way, there can never be a vote on which Congress could “tie” in the first place.

UPDATE: After this blog was published, Matthew Seligman responded on Twitter and explained that since writing his working paper, he has come to support pre‐​January 6 judicial review and a single‐​slate approach as well. It is encouraging that scholars and reformers all seem to be moving in similar directions on the key issues of ECA modernization.[1,2]
posted by kliuless at 11:11 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Note: expulsion of a member of Congress takes a two-thirds vote, not a simple majority (source).
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 5:52 PM on June 14


Note: expulsion of a member of Congress takes a two-thirds vote, not a simple majority
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Note that the Fourteenth Amendment does not require a two-thirds majority for disqualification from office for insurrection but does require it for reinstatement. An argument can be made that by not specifically requiring that two-thirds majority, the Fourteenth gives a simple majority the power to determine whether an office seeker is eligible for that particular reason.
posted by Etrigan at 8:16 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Feds have searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, the former DOJ official who pushed Trump's false election claims.
posted by all about eevee at 11:08 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


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