The People’s Democracy dissolved after the 2020 elections
Gordon L. Weil has previously written for the Washington Post and other newspapers, served on the US Senate and EU staff, headed state agencies in Maine, and was a Harpswell Congressman.
In the US, someone is always trying to stop someone else from voting.
In the beginning, the haves didn’t want most to vote. Whites didn’t want blacks to vote, and men didn’t want women to vote.
The country is a great democratic experiment, but let’s not get carried away. Those in political control were unlikely to share it with others.
But the pressure for popular control could not be denied. At first, black Americans were only theoretically given the right to vote. The referendum replaced the state legislature in electing US Senators. Women were given the right to vote. Eventually, the country moved towards a political process open to all. It lasted almost two centuries.
But the people’s democracy has begun to unravel. Ironically the largest turnout in history for a presidential election has unleashed the strongest effort to reverse the rapid progress made since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
From 1933 to 1994, the Democrats controlled Congress for all but two years. To end that control, Republicans had to take the South away from their rivals and make it harder for Democrats, especially black Americans, to vote.
Opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 resulted in many Southerners converting to the GOP. Their voter-suppression efforts focused on restricting voting access.
While the GOP’s strategy worked, it was thwarted in 2020 by two factors — COVID-19 and Donald Trump. The virus threatened to keep voters away from polling stations and called for ways to be found to help people vote. Trump’s possible re-election drew unusually strong support and even stronger resistance.
Many states are responding to COVID-19 extended postal votingand other measures developed, including public mailboxes and more convenient times for voting, including at locations remote from polling stations on election day.
Easier access attracted more voters. At national level, people from each party and other subgroups of elections appeared in larger numbers. While improved access did not favor the Democrats Overall, it may have been a factor for them in swing states.
As of 2020, states have under GOP control Reduce the use of methods that facilitate access. Early voting dates and polling stations have been reduced. Some states require new forms of voter ID. Texas even claimed that it ran out of new voter registration forms due to paper shortages.
The 2022 congressional elections will be held in redesigned House districts. GOP-controlled conditions persist to pack Democratic voters in as few counties as possible. Democrats have done the same in some places, but they have fewer options because they control fewer states.
US house elections this year are expected to gain GOP control caused mainly by voter suppression and the new round of redistribution. the The Supreme Court will not touch the politically driven district design. It’s even hard to get it to look at racing effects.
Congressional Democrats have so far failed to enact federal legislation overriding voter suppression. In addition to restricting access for voters, some Republican states have moved to monitor vote counting after the 2020 election.
Trump attributed his election loss to corrupt vote counting, partly due to the use of absentee voting records. He complained that mail-in ballots led to vote-rigging because early counts in his favor after the envelopes were opened gave way to Joe Biden’s victories. Repeated reviewsRepublican officials, too, found no evidence that Trump’s claims were true.
When he and his supporters failed with these claims, they attacked the tellers. In Georgia, for example, Brad Raffensperger, the GOP secretary of state, rejected Trump’s request to reverse Biden’s victory. The legislature controlled by the GOP stripped of his voting rights in favor of their own representatives. Similar movements it occurred in eight other states.
The Constitution gives states power over “the times, places, and manner of holding elections,” but Congress can override them. Partisan control of elections could result in one party being able to decide the winners independently of the referendum. Democratic efforts in Congress to demand multiparty control of the process have failed, thanks to filibusters and solid GOP opposition.
The January 6, 2021 riot attempted to force Congress to ignore the official results of some states’ presidential elections. Congress could now amend the existing law to ensure vote counting is purely procedural, as always.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins is leading this effort, which will do nothing but preserve the historic process. She is now resisting efforts to stop this new voter repression. Independent Senator Angus King has expressed concern at efforts to reduce popular scrutiny.
In the face of increased repression of GOP voters, Democrats must conduct massive vote-winning operations and take legal action against partisan control of the election process. The political wars this year could be even more bitter and harsh.