Trump supporters don’t believe in democracy

Well now, isn’t this comforting:

Nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote, which is similar to this finding. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68 percent) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73 percent).

Moreover, 52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.

This was in response to this question:

If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?

Now it seems that they were primed to say this by being asked if they thought there was a lot of voter fraud (I’d be curious how much this would change if they only asked this one question), but it’s still stunning. More than half of Republicans would be ok with postponing the election if Trump said there was a possible problem (I wonder how long they would be willing to postpone the vote). That’s more than a little scary.

Chutzpah

There are two quotations in this story about Trump’s voting commission that pretty much define chutzpah:

‘‘Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?,’’ Trump said in a tweet Saturday.

This from a man who refused to release his tax returns as Presidents have for the past 40 plus years. What does he have to hide?

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted the decision by some governors and secretaries of state not to comply.

‘‘I think that that’s mostly about a political stunt,’’ she told reporters at a White House briefing Friday

Given that there is no evidence of the type of in person voter fraud that this commission has been charged with investigating, it’s obvious that the whole thing is a political stunt.

And Trump who tweets about ‘Fake News’ lies more than any person I’ve ever known.

Really, Trump’s administration lives on chutzpah.

Republicans don’t care about the integrity of the voting booth

The Washington Post has a major article on Russia’s attempt to influence the election:

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Russians had hacked into multiple political organizations (the DNC and RNC among others), had distributed fake news stories, and had tried breaking in to multiple states’ election systems. Here is the Republican response:

On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance. The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said.

But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims.

Donald Trump, of course, continues to doubt that the Russians were behind anything

But let’s go back to look at Brian Kemp, here’s a story about him:

In the weeks leading up to the 2012 election, Helen Ho, an attorney who has worked to register newly naturalized immigrants to vote in the Southeast, made an alarming discovery. Some new citizens that her group, then known as the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, had tried to register in Georgia were still not on the rolls. Early voting had begun and polling places were challenging and even turning away new citizens seeking to vote for the first time.

After more than a week of seeking answers from the office of Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, which oversees elections, AALAC issued a sharply worded open letter on October 31 demanding that Georgia take immediate action to ensure the new citizens could vote.

Two days later Ho received her response. In a letter, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, offered few specific assurances about the new voters in question and informed Ho that his office was launching an investigation into how AALAC registered these would-be voters. Kemp’s office asked that AALAC turn over certain records of its registration efforts, citing “potential legal concerns surrounding AALAC’s photocopying and public disclosure of voter registration applications.”

The investigation targeted her group not for any voter fraud, per se, but for more technical issues, such as whether canvassers had people’s explicit, written consent to photocopy their registration forms before mailing the originals to the elections office. Kemp’s investigation into AALAC lasted nearly two-and-a-half years. This past March 12th, it ended with no finding of violations.

In 2010—for the first time in the county’s history—the county elected a majority-black school board. This upset victory followed a sudden surge in local black voting that was catalyzed by a group of get-out-the-vote activists.

For weeks after the historic primary, Kemp’s armed investigators, along with officials from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, went door-to-door in Quitman’s black neighborhoods. Without evidence of actual voter fraud in Quitman, the state’s case against the town’s voting activists came to rely on allegations of less glaring breaches of absentee ballot procedure.

State agents arrested a dozen voting organizers, three of whom had won seats on the county school board. With the charges pending, Georgia’s Republican governor, Nathan Deal, issued an executive order temporarily removing those women from their posts, reinstating the county’s white-majority school board.

A Quitman resident named Lula Smart faced 32 felony counts that could have carried more than a hundred years in prison, largely for charges of carrying envelopes containing completed absentee ballots to the mailbox for voters. Smart told me that in the first year of the prosecution she contemplated taking her life.

Another Quitman resident, Debra Dennard, faced two felony charges of voter fraud for helping her father fill out his absentee ballot. Her father, David Dennard, is missing both legs and is partially blind. Mr. Dennard says that with his daughter’s assistance he voted for just who he wanted to without any coercion or meddling. “All she did was help me—just as she helps me with almost everything,” the father told me last year. “I knew who I wanted to vote for, and I signed the ballot myself.”

Last September—four years after the election in question—a jury in Quitman cleared Lula Smart on every count against her. This past December, the state dropped all of its remaining charges against the group. A dozen arrests netted not a single conviction or plea deal in Quitman. (One member of the group died in 2012.)

Kemp sure seems to want to make sure there is no voter fraud …. when it might help Democrats. On the other hand, he’s not going to allow a Democrat to investigate possible problems–not because he has a problem with an investigation he just is for local control. Well, unless he wants to overturn the voters’ will in a town.

If it isn’t obvious, Republicans don’t care about voter fraud they care about people voting for Democrats.

That’s why I love this story:

Two members of a presidential commission charged with investigating alleged voter fraud want the panel to focus on what could be the biggest fraudulent scheme of all: attempted Russian hacking of numerous state election systems.

The call, by the secretaries of state in New Hampshire and Maine, presents a potential change in direction for a special commission that has widely been seen as a political smoke screen to justify the president’s unfounded claims about widespread fraud by individual voters in such places as New Hampshire and California.

That’s funny, Trump set up a panel to investigate ‘voter fraud’ because he didn’t like all the stories saying that Clinton won the popular vote by more than 3 million votes. Now it very well might be investigating Russian voter fraud that helped him win. Tee hee.

Jeff Sessions shows his critics were right

Jeff Sessions isn’t a racist it’s just that his policies seem to be … or something. Let’s see what Jeff did the last two days of Black History Month:

  • He dropped an objection to a voter ID law in Texas:

The Republican-led Texas Legislature passed one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country in 2011, requiring voters to show a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The Obama administration’s Justice Department sued Texas to block the law in 2013 and scored a major victory last year after a federal appeals court ruled that the law needed to be softened because it discriminated against minority voters who lacked the required IDs.

Opponents of the law said Republican lawmakers selected IDs that were most advantageous for Republican-leaning white voters and discarded IDs that were beneficial to Democratic-leaning minority voters. For example, legislators included licenses to carry concealed handguns, which are predominantly carried by whites, and excluded government employee IDs and public university IDs, which are more likely to be used by blacks, Hispanics and Democratic-leaning younger voters.

But the Justice Department under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a judge on Monday that it was withdrawing its claim that Texas enacted the law with a discriminatory intent.

Fuck the electoral college

So, Hillary Clinton lost (via here) by negative 2.86 million votes (in other words she had 2.86 million more votes than Donald Trump but lost the election anyway). She lost in the electoral college which was used instead of direct votes:

Some delegates, including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South:

There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections.

So, one of the main reasons for the introduction of the electoral college was to give the slave states more power than actual votes would indicate; the less populous states went along with it since it also gave them more power. You would think that they would have gotten rid of it when the 14th amendment was passed, but it didn’t happen.

One way to make the electoral college more fair would be to increase the number of representatives in the House. At the beginning a Representative represented about 30,000 people. The number of constituents slowly increased through the 1800s up to about 200,000 by 1900. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 capped the number of representatives at 435 and now each Rep. has about 720,00 constituents. Right now, since the number of electoral votes is the number of representatives plus the number of senators, the less populous states have more voting power per voter than the more populous states:

The average electoral vote represents 436,000 people, but that number rises and falls per state depending on that state’s population over 18 years of age. (The map above shows the population 18 years and older per electoral vote by state.) The states with the fewest people per electoral vote, and therefore the highest “vote power,” are Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota. In Wyoming, there are 143,000 people for each of its three electoral votes. The states with the weakest votes are New York, Florida, and California. These states each have around 500,000 people for each electoral vote.

The good thing about reapportionment, is that it doesn’t take a Constitutional amendment to change. Let’s get on that.

Vote, vote, vote

If you haven’t voted early, like I have, tomorrow is the big day. You can either vote for a fairly typical middle-of-the-road politician, Hillary Clinton, or you can vote for a racist, sexist, lying, scamming, sexually assaulting, thin-skinned, bully who has mostly been bad at business, Donald Trump. But don’t let me sway you.

If you do want to vote (and you should, it’s the minimum a citizen needs to do to keep our democracy alive), then put your address in here:

If this doesn’t work, you should be able to find information at your state website–in MA it’s here.

Here’s how I voted (leaving off those who are running unopposed):

Clinton for President

Jason Lewis for state Senator

No on Question 1 (voting yes would allow a slot parlor in Revere)

No on Question 2 (voting yes would allow a quicker expansion in the number of charter schools)

Yes on Question 3 (voting yes would prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely)

Yes on Question 4 (voting yes legalizes the sale of marijuana).

 

The House vote is rigged

Donald Trump is fond of saying the voting in the US is rigged. For fun, let’s look at the polling for a generic race in the House. Pollsters’ compilation of the polls has a generic Democrat getting 45.9% and a generic Republican with 42.5% (9.7% are undecided and 1.9% are for others). This, of course, means that Republicans are expected to hold the House:

Note that because of partisan gerrymandering and other factors, Democrats would have to win the popular vote by a substantial margin to take control of the House of Representatives. For example, the national House popular vote in 2012 (blue line) gave a margin of 1.2% for Democrats, yet Republicans currently control the chamber, 234-201.

Now that’s rigging the vote–more people voted for Democrats and yet more Republicans were elected. The trouble for Trump is that this kind of rigging doesn’t work for Presidential elections, that’s why Republicans push so much to make it more difficult for likely Democrats to vote.

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