An epidemic is plaguing the Republican Party these days. For some reason, perhaps it’s their consciences or perhaps it’s the pressure of backstopping an incompetent nincompoop in the White House, who knows, it could be anything. Whatever the root cause, it appears as if the Republicans can’t stop accidentally blurting the truth. Rudy Giuliani does it every time he’s on television. Donald Trump Jr. posted all of his incriminating Russia emails online. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. It’s just really damn weird.
Collectively, they’re all falling into the A Few Good Men trap. They continue to be goaded into belching out what they’re really thinking, not unlike the climactic scene in which Jack Nicholson finally admits to ordering the Code Red that led to the death of a Marine under his command.
This time it’s not Rudy who did it, but perhaps for the first time Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let fly with the real reason why Republicans are actively making sure it’s as difficult as possible to vote without completely outlawing elections. During a debate over an anti-government corruption bill passed by the House Democrats, a bill that would also make Election Day a federal holiday, McConnell said:
“Just what America needs, another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid to go out and work … [on Democratic] campaigns,” he snarked on the Senate floor. “This is the Democrat plan to restore democracy? … A power grab.”
In other words, if Election Day is a holiday, more people will volunteer for Democrats and more people will vote. And we can’t have that, can we. The assumption, then, is that if more Americans are able to vote, Republicans will lose elections.
This is far from being a new concept. There are countless other examples of Republicans derping their true intentions in public on the topic of voting, beginning most-famously with Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, who said:
“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
This is the answer to why Republicans have injected the myth of “voter fraud” into the bloodstream of the national dialogue. Voter fraud is the phony-baloney justification for voter ID and other laws restricting or outright disenfranchising millions of eligible voters, most of whom happen to be Democrats.
But how often do voters really attempt to scam the system? Among all federal elections between 2002 and 2005, the rate of voter fraud was 0.00000013 percent. This according to a five-year probe by George W. Bush’s Justice Department. Put another way, around 26 people out of 197 million were convicted of attempting to vote illegally during all of those elections. And yet the Republicans continue to screech about voter fraud anyway. (They’re willing to believe that voter fraud exists, even though it doesn’t, and yet the climate crisis, with its 97 percent scientific consensus, is clearly fiction.)
Elsewhere, in Ohio, the Republican Secretary of State at the time uncovered a possible 20 cases of voter fraud during the 2012 election out of 5.6 million votes cast. That’s 0.00035 percent of the vote. In Iowa, the Secretary of State found a possible eight cases out of 1.5 million votes cast. That’s 0.00053 percent of the vote. In Wisconsin, possible fraud amounted to 0.00023 percent of the vote. But up to nine percent of voters will be disenfranchised by voter ID laws. That’s like using a nuclear missile to kill a gnat.
Donald Trump’s own voter fraud commission, led by Chris Kobach, disbanded without finding any cases of actual in-person fraud. Despite the crash-and-burn of the commission, Red Hats from coast to coast continue to believe three million undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 election. Trump’s personal Wormtongue, Stephen Miller, once claimed voters were bused into New Hampshire from Massachusetts — a claim that received a “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact.
But how do we know for sure that voter ID is about disenfranchising Democrats? They’ve admitted it. Like always.
There was Jim Greer, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party:
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only…’We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’”
There was Dallas tea party activist Ken Emanuelson who admitted:
“I’m going to be real honest with you. The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
Back in 2012, there was Republican state representative from Pennsylvania, Mike Turzai, who said:
“Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania? Done!”
Warning: don’t trust your personal secrets to any Republican friends. They’ll rat on you and even themselves given enough rope. Seriously, the closer voter turnout is to 100 percent, the less likely it is that Republicans can win. Anywhere.
Nevertheless, if the GOP can continue to make voting as difficult as possible for minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters, Republicans like Trump will continue to win even though they don’t deserve to win. Make no mistake, none of this is about voter fraud. It’s about rigging the game before it’s even played. They’re pulling a Captain Kirk — altering the Kobayashi Maru test before the fact. This is the real vote-rigging, and we can’t help but to ask whether it’s more than Democrats they hate. With every new voter ID law and every new accidental blurt they reinforce the notion that Republican simply hate democracy.