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The Great Cycle of Ratfucking

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Great column by Bouie about how Republican attacks on democracy are mutually reinforcing:

That said, [illegally gaming the census, with the almost certain approval of an extremely partisan Supreme Court] is an almost subtle way to rig the architecture of democracy, comparatively speaking. More recent efforts by Republican-held state legislatures to erect large barriers to voting are more explicit. Republican lawmakers in Tennessee, for example, are pushing broad new restrictions on large-scale voter-registration drives, including civil penalties for groups that unintentionally file incomplete voter-registration forms and criminal punishment for those that don’t attend state-mandated training sessions, according to the Tennessean.

It’s not as if Tennessee has a particular problem with registering voters. What it does have are organizing groups that successfully brought a greater number of black Americans and other people of color to the polls in 2018. In that context, this bill is a form of electoral intimidation — a direct attempt to hinder those groups and their ability to make similar gains in 2020 and on into the future.

Last November, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment to end felon disenfranchisement. Unable to stop the change, Republicans chose to put barriers to its implementation. On Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives passed legislation that would require former felons to pay fines as part of their criminal sentence before they can vote again. It’s a poll tax. And like those under Jim Crow, it is an ostensibly neutral policy that falls hardest on black communities, which have a higher share of former felons.

Each of these moves works in concert with the others. Pre-existing malapportionment helps Republicans capture the presidency despite losing a majority of voters. This allows them to build a Supreme Court majority that rules in their favor on key questions of ballot access, voter participation and campaign finance.

And this is why — although there are definitely multiple disjunctive elements to the Trump administration — I continue to think there’s no reason to believe that the current Republican coalition is going to either moderate or become noncompetitive at the national level. The natural advantages they get from the constitutional framework are going to be supplemented with more and more aggressive anti-democratic tactics, and combined with the support of an extremely effective propaganda operation they they can just keep on keeping on as they get further away from majority support.

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