Suppression and Subversion

By now, only the willfully blind are unaware of the aggressive and unconscionable campaign by the Republican Party to undermine the American electoral system and rig it in its favor.

Unable to win the popular vote in a presidential election (Republicans have done so only once in the last eight elections), and with the nation’s demographics trending heavily against them, the GOP has only two options:

1) Change its platform to attract more voters, or

2) Cheat

(There is actually a third option, which is to go gently into that good night. But we’ll set that aside, for now.)

No one who has observed the GOP’s wanton lack of principle over the past five years ought to be surprised that it has chosen Door Number 2. (I’m being generous. It’s really more like fifty-six years.) But the Republican Party has now embarked on a concerted and unprecedented effort to subvert the will of the people, eviscerate the foundational principles of our representative democracy, and install itself in permanent power. It is doing everything within its considerable power to ensure that Democratic voters cannot make their voices heard in numbers that accurately reflect the polis, to enable its own minions to control the electoral process, and even to give itself the unilateral power to overturn elections that do not go its way. What could possibly be more un-American?

Like they say in the horror movies, we ought to be afraid. We ought to be very afraid.

But the electoral expert Richard Hasen, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, recently gave an interview to the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner in which he made an important distinction between the two aspects of this campaign, voter suppression and election subversion. Hasen:

(V)oter suppression (involves) things that make it harder for people to register and to vote, like the provision of the Georgia law that says you can’t give water to people waiting on line to vote. That’s a different concern than this idea of election subversion, which is trying to manipulate the rules for who counts the votes in a way that could allow for a partisan official to declare the loser as the winner. This was, for example, a concern when President Trump called the secretary…

Robert Edwards / The King's Necktie

Writer, filmmaker, and veteran — blogging at The King’s Necktie @TheKingsNecktie