Some Republican leaders are quietly concerned that the Big Lie and Trump Devotion may not be enough to regain majorities in the House and Senate in 2022 and the White House in 2024. Without this total national political dominance, their members in Congress and their counterparts in the states, are unlikely to achieve their long-term strategic goal, i.e. a one party, authoritarian-leaning federal system. It’s possible such a government can still maintain the patina of a representative democracy. The past four years illustrated how it can be done, but there was insufficient Republican control of state electoral mechanisms in 2020, to guarantee desired results. The Party is now actively engaged in solving that problem.
The Republican electoral strategy, aimed mostly at state level, consists of 6 major tactical benchmarks:
- Purge Party leaders who don’t accept the Big Lie and/or Trump Devotion, e.g. Liz Cheney.
- Take advantage of the decadenal census to gerrymander Democrats out of likely electoral wins..
- Oppose the nomination and election of RINOs, i.e. reasonable/ rational people, at both national and local levels.
- Remove/eviscerate state/county Republican election officials who did their sworn duty in 2020.
- .Amend state election laws to hinder or intimidate poor or minority voters.
- Amend state procedural regulations re ballot initiatives to make it very difficult to manage.
The reason why they are focusing their current efforts at the state level is simple, that’s where their political power is centered. The latest data (12/2020): 23 states are totally controlled (both governor and legislature) by Republicans (46%), 15 by Democrats (31%), while Republicans control 30 state legislatures (61%) and Democrats 18 (38%).
A number of Republican dominated state legislatures have already proposed 361 restrictive voting bills, many are being challenged in the courts. The following is a sample of actions taken in 8 states.
- Arizona: Purge current list of those who would automatically receive mail-in ballots. Arkansas:
- Absentee ballots must be returned by Friday before election day (was on election day).
- Expanded powers of partisan election commissions over workers and volunteers Florida:
- Added more identification requirements for those voting by mail.
- Restricts hours for drop boxes by requiring them to be staffed by election workers. Georgia:
- If mailing in ballot, must satisfy new identification requirement.
- Number of drop boxes significantly reduced.
- Secretary of State no longer supervises elections; chair is now a legislature appointed partisan.
- Shortened period to request and return mail-in ballots.
- Reduced number of drop boxes.
- Shortened hours polling places are open.
- Prohibits any third party from helping voters fill out,or mail, absentee ballots.
- Prohibits state judiciary or executive branches from changing election laws – only legislature.
- More limits on mail-in voting; 3rd parties are only allowed to submit max of 10. Montana:
- Prohibited from registering to vote on Election Day.
- Students no longer allowed to use student IDs to vote. Need 2nd. ID. Wyoming: If individuals vote in person, must show ID. Name on list no longer enough.
Today’s sad reality, particularly for Americans who recall US politics 30 – 40 years ago, is that the proud Grand Old Party no longer exists. Regardless of your party affiliation, those who support our representative democracy, must hope and facilitate its return to the conservative principles, values and governing platforms it espoused for most of the past 167 years.
Today the GOP must be understood for what it is, a movement dedicated to regaining total political power at the Federal level and prepared to use whatever means are required to achieve this goal..
Art. I, Sec. 4 of the Constitution gives initial authority to prescribe “… the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives in each state by the legislature thereof, but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.“
Following the Civil War, the 15th Amendment was added to the Constitution: “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race,color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The “Republicans” enjoy an advantage at the state level and are making use of their greater legislative authority to , “deny or abridge” the voting rights of minority citizens of the United States.
We must not allow this to happen.
Tom Timberman is an Army vet, lawyer, former senior Foreign Service officer, adjunct professor at GWU, and economic development team leader or foreign government advisor in war zones. He is the author of four books, lectures locally, and at US and European universities. He and his wife are 24 year residents of Kent County.