Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Voter Fraud is Still Not a Problem Anywhere

As a Texas resident and voter, the story of how nearly 100,000 “non-citizens” voted illegally smelled like GOP propaganda and that’s all it turned out to be—manipulation, fear, and disenfranchisement designed to keep Texans from voting in future elections:

After flagging tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, the Texas secretary of state’s office is now telling counties that some of those voters don’t belong on the lists it sent out.

Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists.

The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters.

“We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.

In other words, they marked a lot of people who are actually citizens as being “suspect” in order to carry out a purge of the voter rolls. And they haven’t even heard from officials in Bexar County, which is home to a lot of Democrats. Look for the numbers to increase exponentially when south Texas is heard from.

And we haven’t even discussed the horror show of flagging someone who is a veteran. But, kudos to the voting officials who responded to this move. They went after this issue and reviewed what was in their files. They confirmed a vast number of people with a simple check as being legitimate voters, thus denying the GOP in Texas the chance to drive people away from the polls. This is smarmy and smacks of being unconstitutional to me, but I’m sure they’ll get away with it. Every future election will see this activity because nobody in their right fucking mind is ever going to risk a Trump presidency/GOP Congress/Conservative-heavy Supreme Court ever again.

The period 2017 to 2019 where Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the Roberts Court enabled the worst impulses of one Donald J Trump is going to require unique clarification in our nation’s history. How the hell did we let it happen?

Well, it was done through systemic voter intimidation and suppression, which continues unabated. Someone belongs in jail, but good luck making that happen.

Monday, January 28, 2019

That's a Human Rights Abuse

Here’s Senator Kamala Harris delivering an applause line today. The video should start at roughly the point where she makes the case that putting babies in cages is a horrible thing. It tells you what this election should be about, but I’m afraid that it won’t be about the right things.

Just as the 2008 election was more about the economy than ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this election is probably going to end up being a referendum on the damage done to the nation’s bottom line. The GOP has wrecked our tax system, driven thousands and thousands of people out of government service, and made governance next to impossible. The economic fallout from this will likely be some sort of bubble bursting or driven largely by the fallout from the stupid trade war Trump started last year. Or it could be about wages. Or unemployment, if companies decide to improve their bottom line and start shedding workers. Honestly, I don’t know.

If it’s over 20 months until the election, talking about human rights is the right place to be. What kind of America do we want? This needs to start being a country that is conscientious about what is being done to people. Someone has to be held accountable, and they know it today as sure as we’re here talking about what’s going on.

Kamala Harris knows, and she’s not afraid to talk about it. This is the right thing to bring up to people, and as she and the other candidates start making their case, watch what happens when their rhetoric really sharpens in the months ahead. There are so many great topics to discuss, and so many things that Trump has done wrong. Candidates like Harris are going to have to find memorable, repeatable zingers that they can use so that the voters will start to form an idea of what they want to have happen in 2020.

Do we want to take the high road? Or do we want to run Trump over and take back the White House?