Saturday Morning Open Thread: Democrats Are Pro-Voters; Repubs Are Not

The Washington Post, paper of record in the company town where national politics is the monopoly industry, has a good explainer:

The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.

Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.

“It’s a power grab, a power grab on behalf of the people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at an event on the Capitol steps ahead of the planned vote.

The bill is headed for a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear it will not get a vote. However, Democrats and their allies said the bill’s passage would build momentum for action in coming years if and when Democrats solidify control in Washington.

“If Mitch McConnell is the immovable object, H.R. 1 is the unstoppable force,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the lead author of the bill. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”…

Read the whole thing for a full list of the bill’s (excellent!) provisions.

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

Aside from its scope, what’s most remarkable about HR1 is that every single House Democrat voted for it… And every Republicans voted against it, which means the GOP is determined to use barriers to full participation in elections — along with related abuses like partisan gerrymandering and unregulated campaign spending — to maintain its competitive position, regardless of public opinion….

The vote on HR1 should also provide something of a counterargument to all the recent “Democrats in disarray” story lines stemming from intraparty debates over socialism or Israel. No, the bill won’t even get a hearing in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has denounced it as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.” Mitch has a point: It might well help Democrats in the long run, for the rather honorable reason that they are defending rather than resisting the full expression of the popular will.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Selma Sunday

Matt Viser, at the Washington Post:

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls came here to a resonant remembrance of one of the bloodiest moments of the civil rights movement on Sunday, with Sen. Cory Booker talking emotionally about being a descendant of slaves and others urging a renewed defense of voting rights…

Booker hinted at the words of Martin Luther King Jr. to draw attention to what he depicted as a resurgence of racial animosity.

“The dream is under attack. The dreamers are in danger,” Booker said. “And we need each other more than we realize in this country.”

Selma has become an annual pilgrimage site for Democratic politicians, culminating with a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where on March 7, 1965, marchers advocating for voting rights were attacked by police in a day that has become known as Bloody Sunday. The Voting Rights Act was signed the same year. This year, the events marking one of the most searing moments of the civil rights movement took place over four days, including a Jubilee Golf Tournament on Friday and a “battle of the bands” on Saturday.

The main event, Sunday’s march across the bridge with linked arms, call-and-response, and gospel songs, was nearly derailed by thunderstorms. But the weather cleared enough for thousands to make the walk.

A trio of potential presidential candidates — Sanders of Vermont and Booker of New Jersey, who have announced their campaigns, and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is considering a bid — were here along with Clinton during the day’s events…

Sunday’s events provided a forum for the belief among many African American leaders that the GOP has been launching a renewed fight against voting rights, with such measures as voter ID laws and the curtailment of early voting.

“Make no mistake: We are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy,” Clinton said. “There may not be, thank God, tanks in the streets. But what’s happening goes to the heart of who we are as a nation.”…

Brown, who told reporters that he will decide on a presidential bid by the end of March, also circulated among the mostly African American attendees, asking about their lives.

Asked how he could compete in a diverse field of candidates, and with an increasingly diverse electorate, Brown said he would let his record speak for itself.

“If I run, I’ll be the only Democrat on that stage who voted against the Iraq War. I’ll be the only Democrat on that stage who supported marriage equality 20 years ago. I’ll be the only person on that stage who has a longtime F from the NRA,” Brown said. He pointed to his face. “I can change a lot of things, but I can’t change this part of me, right?”

I don’t think Sherrod Brown will end up as our Democratic nominee (although plenty of people on twitter have suggested he’d be a great vp for Kamala Harris), but I am very interested in seeing what he’ll be saying over the next few months!



Election Fraud Open Thread: A Re-Run in North Carolina

Per the local Charlotte Observer:

The new campaign in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District kicked off Friday with a rally by Democrat Dan McCready, hints from several would-be GOP candidates and silence from Republican Mark Harris.

The flurry of action came a day after the North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a new election following a hearing that detailed election fraud in Bladen County.

It made its decision after Harris stunned the hearing with his own call for a new election, after insisting for weeks that he won the vote last fall and should be certified…

The primary campaign would be relatively short. Though no schedule has been set, elections officials said one scenario would be for a May primary, a June runoff if needed and an October general election. The same officials have proposed a May 14 primary in the 3rd District, vacant since the death of Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones…

Former Mecklenburg County commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, a Charlotte Republican who lost his seat in November, said he’s received texts and emails since Thursday urging him to run. He expects to decide within a few days. And Republican legislators could run for Congress in a special election without fear of losing their seats, which are not up until 2020.

Despite McCready’s headstart, the 9th District still leans Republican. No Democrat has represented it for decades and President Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points. But some Republicans said the election fraud and Harris’ ties to Dowless have hurt the party’s label in the 9th.

“We have some work to do to repair our brand, and I’m not sure the current folks in leadership know exactly how to do that,” said Shaheen. “In my opinion party leadership in Raleigh made a fatal mistake by jumping out in front and being so supportive when they didn’t have the whole story.”…

Between the messy failure of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and the new State Court ruling on ‘racial gerrymandering’, it seems the GOP party leadership had a pretty good outline of the whole story — and since their guys were using those stolen votes to ‘win’ elections, they were just fine with that!


Read more



Election Fraud, not Voter Fraud

The irregularities in North Carolina voting are being called “voter fraud” (here’s one example from a good media outlet), but as far as I can tell, they’re not. It sounds like some group of persons was collecting mail-in ballots, or sending mail-in ballots to people who had never requested them. In other words, someone between the voter and the ballot collected it and apparently voted it Republican. That’s election fraud – the voters didn’t perpetrate it.

It may seem like a small distinction, but it’s important because the way that the GOP markets “voter fraud” is some person or persons going to different precincts and voting multiple times. That doesn’t happen, and if it did, it would be incredibly expensive and inefficient. Fucking the system by faking ballots and sending them in, or tampering with election machines, is far more likely. Yet little or no effort is made to secure that part of the voting chain, because better ballot and machine security isn’t going to keep Democrats from voting.

In a few weeks when the dust has settled in North Carolina, look for Fox and the rest of the usual suspects justifying more bullshit ID legislation on the backs of this event.

(The only time I’ve ever seen an election irregularity was many years ago when a volunteer collecting absentee ballots from the elderly was overly suggestive about how they should vote. When another campaign worker found out, he was immediately reported and ejected from the campaign. I was doing the same job, and old and frail people often asked me how to vote when I gathered their ballot. It was a tight election and the temptation was there.)



Open Thread: Gauntlet, Thrown!

Of course the Repubs will do their best to strangle this vital young bill, but — at the very least, we’ll get them on the record, and let them defend their stance in the 2020 campaigns.

And not coincidentally, doesn’t this make the #FiveWhiteGuys and their fellow anti-Pelosi ratfvckers look like the two-bit schemers they are?