A nadir is an interesting thing. In the realm of mathematics it can be defined in fairly precise terms. In the realm of human endeavor, not so much. Every time I think that the Republican party and its leadership has reached the lowest point, the most brazen, ultra-partisan, antidemocratic, disgusting, anti-American and inhuman point, they manage to prove me wrong. It happened again yesterday.
Voters in Wisconsin were forced to venture forth despite a "stay at home" order to cast ballots in an election already marred by significant chaos. Literally risking their lives to exercise their franchise.
This isn't a one-off. This is the culmination of a consistent, pervasive pattern, increasingly brazen, to suppress the vote and for a particular voting population - Democrats. It involves party apparatchiks at all levels - local, State and national - and all branches. In Wisconsin, it involved Republican legislative leaders, a Republican-skewed State Supreme Court, and a nakedly partisan US Supreme Court. Op-Ed: How Republicans are using the pandemic to suppress the vote
(LA Times, Subscription) ("On Friday, Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, called the Legislature into special session on Saturday to consider an election delay and shift to a mostly vote-by-mail election. But the Republicans immediately rejected any change to the election."; The Roberts Court Will Not Ensure the Constitution’s Most Fundamental Right
In many cases, they don't even try to hide the blatantly partisan nature of their efforts:
In Georgia, Republican state House Speaker David Ralston has opposed sending absentee ballots to every Georgia voter for the upcoming primary, claiming that such a change “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia. Every registered voter is going to get one of these. … This will certainly drive up turnout.”
In North Carolina, Republican state Senate leader Phil Berger has opposed modest steps proposed by the state’s election director to make mail-in balloting easier during the pandemic, claiming the proposal is one backed by “progressive, liberal Democratic groups” to make absentee ballot tampering easier. Never mind that an earlier instance of vote tampering he pointed to involved helping a Republican congressional candidate.(LA Times)
Trump even joined in the process, claiming that election support funding in the coronavirus bill was aimed at increasing turnout. “They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
In these explicitly partisan suppression efforts these politicians have a staunch political ally - the conservative majority of the US Supreme Court, who are becoming increasingly blase about their obvious partisanship. Some things are becoming increasingly clear as this COVID crisis endures. Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19
(The Guardian). They also happen to be overwhelmingly Democratic voters. Republican politicians have no intention on letting up on voter suppression to gain and maintain power, or letting this crisis interfere with that endeavor. Indeed, they see an opportunity.
A month ago Mark Joseph Stern laid out a potential gameplan: Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him.
(Slate). Repeatedly, State legislatures are manipulating voting processes in their favor, and partisan court members are allowing them to do so. As the LA Times asks, "What’s to stop Trump from appealing to Republican-controlled legislatures in the swing states of Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to take back this power from voters under the pretext that the risk of COVID-19 makes voting too difficult?" The answer is, nothing. We have not reached the nadir. If you think they couldn't go lower, you have a defect of imagination.
Watch this space.