Here’s Paul Waldman at The Post, riffing off The Times’ coverage today about a Republican program to field 50,000 (possibly armed) thugs to “monitor polling places” in November:
Voter suppression is at the very heart of Republican electoral strategy, and, as the New York Times reports Monday, they plan to go all-out in November:
The Republican program, which has gained steam in recent weeks, envisions recruiting up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious. That is part of a $20 million plan that also allots millions to challenge lawsuits by Democrats and voting-rights advocates seeking to loosen state restrictions on balloting. The party and its allies also intend to use advertising, the internet and President Trump’s command of the airwaves to cast Democrats as agents of election theft.
The efforts are bolstered by a 2018 federal court ruling that for the first time in nearly four decades allows the national Republican Party to mount campaigns against purported voter fraud without court approval. The court ban on Republican Party voter-fraud operations was imposed in 1982, and then modified in 1986 and again in 1990, each time after courts found instances of Republicans intimidating or working to exclude minority voters in the name of preventing fraud. The party was found to have violated it yet again in 2004.
“Voters deemed suspicious” by the GOP is a category that includes black people, Latinos, students, black people, and also black people.
I’m guessing Fox News won’t run clips of thousands of Trump Brown Shirts on endless loop like they did when a pair of “New Black Panthers” were hanging around a polling place in 2012. I should note the assumption that the Brown Shirts will be armed is mine, but I think it’s a reasonable one since these puling infants are now carrying anti-tank weapons onto government property to protest the closure of barber shops and nail salons for public safety reasons.
Waldman points out that the last big effort at GOP voter suppression failed spectacularly by creating backlash in Wisconsin:
The lesson is that in that kind of a context — with a dramatic, high-profile fight over Republican voter suppression efforts — the Republican effort produced a backlash. As Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler said afterward, “Voter suppression might not be as clever as Republicans think it is. It can backfire by pissing voters off.”
The more attention is given to GOP voter suppression efforts, the more voter suppression itself becomes a campaign issue, one that can boost turnout among Democrats. However you might feel about Joe Biden, it becomes more important to exercise your right to vote if you think someone is trying to take it away.
That last point is true, and I’ve been waiting for the backlash to happen at scale for a decade and a half as Republican voter suppression methods grew more brazen. Maybe the Trump Brown Shirts will finally be the tipping point.
In the meantime, we’ve won the war on vote-by-mail in the swing states (AZ, FL, NC, WI, MI and PA) already, unless Trump manages to pull the plug on the USPS by November. That seems unlikely but not impossible in this Bizarro World we’re living in.