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Republicans in array


Despite some superficial conflicts with people who insist on saying the quietest parts loudest, Republicans are remarkably unified in their attacks on democracy:

On the surface, the GOP is a party in disarray. Party leaders in Congress struggle to deal with elected nutballs such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Far-right extremists try to take over state parties. A member of the House leadership is ousted for refusing to pander to the lie that President Biden stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.

But underneath, there is a striking — and frightening — degree of unity. For all the disagreement about the 2020 election, Republicans are in lockstep on the question of power — namely, that by rights it belongs exclusively to Republicans and steps must be taken to ensure that Democrats not be allowed to wield it, no matter what the voters might want.

Let me direct your attention to Arizona — but not to the bonkers “audit” of 2020 ballots the state Senate there has ordered.

Instead, let’s focus on a new effort by Arizona Republicans to strip the Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, of her authority to defend against lawsuits regarding elections.

Arizona is one of the key states in the battle over elections because it is trending Democratic — Biden won there in 2020, as did two Democratic senators — while Republicans still control the legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Using that control, Republicans have put their effort to roll back Hobbs’s authority into budget bills now moving toward approval. They are trying to transfer all authority to defend the state against election lawsuits to the state attorney general, Mark Brnovich, a Republican.

Why? Because the Democrat might take the “wrong” position, say by fighting against a future effort to reverse a Democratic win.

But what if in the next election, a Democrat becomes attorney general and a Republican becomes secretary of state? Not a problem: The provision taking power away from Hobbs sunsets after the 2022 election. If Republicans still control the legislature, at that point they can revisit the question and just put power in the hands of whichever office is held by one of their own.

This is one of many such laws being passed by Republicans at the state level, and while they haven’t gotten the attention of the more colorful efforts at passing new voter suppression laws, they may be even more important.

No national-level Republican I know of has condemned either the power-grabbing or the votersuppression laws. Even Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), fresh from her defenestration, defends the Republican voter suppression campaign.

The only disagreement among Republicans is between the majority who think that outright election theft is OK and the Liz Cheneys who think massively rigging things in favor of the GOP ex ante is sufficient.

It’s also worth noting that John Roberts, the epitome of the Reasonable Establishment Republican, has been an opponent of voting rights his whole career, and if American democracy doesn’t survive Shelby County and Rucho will have played a major role (not to mention all of the election rigging they’re going to pretend is constitutional going forward.)

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