Mitch McConnell is shocked the GOP gets accused of voter suppression
Republicans in almost every state in the country have proposed more than 250 bills that would make it harder for people to vote. One, in Arizona, would even allow a state legislature to throw out any election result it doesn’t like — like, for instance, a Joe Biden victory over Donald Trump. Some in the GOP have even been explicit about the reasoning behind the blitz of legislation: If some of the bills go through, one county-level election official in Georgia said at a GOP meeting in January, Republicans “at least have a shot at winning.”
The whole crusade has been incredibly brazen, with state legislatures, influential Washington Republicans, and major players in the GOP fundraising racket working in coordination to limit voting.
So it would seem impossible for a member of party leadership to claim, with a straight face, that they have no idea where people are getting this idea that their voting rights are under threat.
And yet, that’s precisely what Mitch McConnell did Wednesday morning as the Senate Rules Committee opened discussion on the For the People Act, the Democrats’ answer to the GOP’s assault on democracy.
Speaking out against the bill, which passed the House earlier this month, McConnell said Democrats were putting forth a “solution in search of a problem” — and implied that he was simply shocked that his party would be accused of trying to disenfranchise voters.
“States,” he said, “are not engaging in trying to suppress voters, whatsoever.” In earlier remarks, he claimed the filibuster — which has been used for generations to block civil rights legislation and which he will undoubtedly use to thwart the pro-democracy bill unless Democrats abolish or amend it—had “no racial history.”
That denial, of course, doesn’t settle the matter any more than a kid covered in crumbs denying he raided the cookie jar would; Republicans have long seen limiting voter participation as a key electoral strategy, but under Trump they have been even more brazen about it.
Democratic efforts to safeguard the vote, Trump said in the lead-up to November’s election, would result in “levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Following the deadly attack on the Capitol, on January 6, 147 Republicans still voted to disenfranchise millions of Americans in their pursuit of overturning a free and fair election.
McConnell claiming his party is not involved in voter suppression would always ring hollow—but it’s especially laughable when members of his party are all but openly admitting it’s their strategy.
“It’s basically the only thing everybody is talking about among the base,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters, who is helping to lead the GOP’s so-called “election integrity” efforts, told the New York Times on Tuesday.
They’ve tried to justify their anti-voting crusade using the supposed “questions” many in the party say they have about the 2020 election—doubts that may exist in the reality Trump has sought to construct, but not in our actual reality.
But what they’re up to is clear: “Instead of doing what you should be doing when you lose an election in a democracy — attempting to win over those voters in the next election — Republicans are instead trying to disenfranchise those voters,”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in Wednesday’s hearing. “I would like to ask my Republican colleagues: Why are you so afraid of democracy?”
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