The GOP Just Won’t Stop Undermining Democracy

Between the need to refill seats opened by cabinet appointments from President Donald Trump’s first year in office and an onslaught of resignations due to sexual harassment, scandal and other misbehavior, it feels as if 2017 and 2018 have been dominated by a series of special elections in state government and Congress. But not everyone is actually filling their departed lawmakers’ seats — and that move may be undermining democracy.

There’s no doubt that since President Trump’s election, Democrats have been dominating special election races. They’ve come close to upsetting Republican candidates in a number of very red districts, and they’ve flipped many seats in some of the closer ones. Meanwhile, not one Democratic seat has been flipped by a member of the GOP so far. Most polling cites the continuing out-performance of the left over the right as one of the biggest signs of an impending “Blue Wave” come the November midterms.

Maybe that’s why some Republican governors are so reticent about actually holding special elections at all. Instead, they’re simply leaving districts with departing lawmakers without any representation at all, assuming it’s still better for the party than potentially allowing Democrats another vote.

According to Talking Points Memo, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker — never a big fan of voting rights to begin with –has refused to allow special elections for two open state legislative races. Walker claims that it would be a waste of taxpayer money since there would just be another election in November, anyway.

TPM’s Allegra Kirkland reports:

Walker isn’t alone. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is likewise waiting until the November election to replace departed congressman John Conyers, forcing the Detroit district’s mostly minority residents to go 11 months without representation in Congress. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott won’t hold any special elections for two open Florida seats. And after Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning Senate victory in December, the GOP-controlled Alabama House approved a bill that would scrap special elections for the state’s U.S. Senate seats, allowing the governor to appoint an interim replacement instead. That bill is currently before a Senate committee.

Of course, the GOP’s “democracy only when it is convenient” policy shouldn’t be any surprise to us at this point. After all, this is the same party that held one of just nine Supreme Court seats open for over a year in order to stop it from being filled by a Democratic appointee. Republicans also blocked scores of federal judicial appointments while President Barack Obama was in office, only to overflow them with unqualified far right legal representatives once they had control of the government again.

And no one can forget how easily GOP leaders blew off information stating that the Russians  meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign — an issue that they deemed utterly unimportant, since the interference appeared to help get their preferred candidate into office. Even now, not only are Republicans refusing to bear any responsibility for the end results, they are determined to both undermine the FBI and other law enforcement agencies — and keep open the possibility for it to happen again in the future.

“Republicans have embarked on a smear campaign of the FBI that can end only in a dangerous erosion of trust in law enforcement, the subjugation of law enforcement to partisan interests or both,” writes the Washington Post Editorial Board. “For Republican leaders — House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (Tex.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference Roy Blunt (Mo.) — to remain silent is to be complicit.”

And just days ago, the GOP once again doubled down on their party protectionism by blocking a measure that would force President Trump to finally release his tax returns — at this point not just an unprecedented refusal, but also a matter of national security to see if he is financially compromised. The party that claims to demand utter transparency in government in order to “drain the swamp” has circled the wagons completely in order to protect its own.

None of these moves should be too shocking considering this is a party that has used voter ID laws and limited early voting to disenfranchise millions, who gerrymanders their districts to ensure that GOP candidates can win with lower needed votes and who declared total victory in a president that lost the popular vote by millions of voters.

At this point, democracy is nothing but a fig leaf to the GOP. And if Republicans jeopardize their hold on the government, you can be sure they will ultimately throw even that fig leaf aside.

Photo Credit: Jose Moreno/Unsplash

67 comments

Mike R
Mike R3 months ago

Thanks

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

David F Even though we agree on little, I have to send you a green star for your last comment. Sanctuary cities and birth right citizenship should be illegal. The mayor of Oakland, CA, as well as Gov Brown, and AG Bacerra in California should be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting illegal aliens. Trump is enforcing tough immigration laws that every country enforces. California with 40 million people, and a growing homeless problem, can't afford to let people come into the country illegally. Mexico imprisons people who enter Mexico illegally, for 2 years the first offense, and 10 years the second offense, so Trump's deportations are much more humane than Mexico. So Trump is doing the right thing with respect to immigration.

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David F
David F3 months ago

The Dems push for sanctuary cities and states, pass laws that are clearly unconstitutional to undercut federal law, now Robin's headlines are the "GOP is undermining Democracy".
Go figure.

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

Mike Kelly thinks that Russia and Jill Stein caused this fraud Trump to win. No Mike, it was the Democrats cheating Bernie Sanders out of his primary, and anointing a Wall Street crook, who was so corrupt Republicans voted for her. The fact that the Democrats have an extremely unfair super delegate rule that gives the incumbent over 400 super delegates before even having a challenger, and Tom Perez recently fired all the honest progressives who like Bernie Sanders, proves how corrupt the Democrats are. The fact that you always call someone a bot who you disagree with, proves your arrogance, and how much the truth hurts.

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Edith B
Edith B3 months ago

This Republican party bears no resemblance to the party of Ike. They decided under Clinton's administration to destroy any semblance of democracy in this country.

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Renata B
Renata B3 months ago

I fear more and more that the US is beyond the ability "think again". Too many people have lost this faculty alas. Christina S: I hope you realise that you have become the shame of the rest of the world. What you are doing to this planet, to all of us and the animals on this planet is beyond disgrace. As long as you are happy with that, fine. Maybe you can read Rhinoceros by Ionesco and then meditate. It was written originally against the (Nazi) Iron Guards in Romania during WW2. Too much GMO maybe????

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Angel W
Past Member 3 months ago

noted

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David F
David F3 months ago

Christina S, great post. Quote: "America is a Republic not a democracy. A true democracy would tally up the people's votes and elect the winner". (mob rule with no protection for the minority) "Not have an electoral college decide". Yes, the States elect a president, not a national body count, that's not going to change.

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Christina S
Christina S3 months ago

To say that these districts will have no representation is misleading. There is always in interim senator, congressman, representatives, governor, etc. And even these people have a slew of advisors and peers they interact with & take counsel with on a daily basis. The supposed Russian meddling is pretty pathetic at this point. If a voting American was swayed by a propagadna advertisement, maybe they shouldn't be voting. America is a Republic not a democracy. A true democracy would tally up the people's votes and elect the winner. Not have an electoral college decide. Which is really unfortunate. While I certainly don't agree with all of Trump's decisions, it's hard to unite America when articles are always one sided and there's no attempt at understanding on Robin's end. The pot calling the kettle black.

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Winn A
Winnie A3 months ago

Thanks

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