The Next GOP Election Steal Won't Resemble The Last One
Credit: Getty Images
June 1, 2021

The Texas election-rigging bill has been blocked, temporarily.

Democrats in the Texas Legislature staged a dramatic, late-night walkout on Sunday night to force the failure of a sweeping Republican overhaul of state election laws. The move ... deprived the session of the minimum number of lawmakers required for a vote before a midnight deadline....

The effort is not entirely dead, however. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, indicated that he would call a special session of the Legislature, which could start as early as June 1, or Tuesday, to restart the process.... He was widely expected to sign whatever measure Republicans passed.

I don't know whether Democrats can block the bill in the special session. I assume it will pass eventually. Even if it doesn't, fourteen states have already passed restrictions on voting just since the 2020 election, with more to come.

James Surowiecki thinks the GOP strategy is flawed.

But the next stolen election -- or series of stolen elections -- won't look like the attempted steal by Donald Trump.

Trump laid no groundwork in advance. He thought he could swoop in after the votes were cast and after the counting process was well underway, denouncing as fraudulent the work of low-level officials, some of whom were Republicans, while others were Democrats who were working hand-in-hand with Republicans to ensure an honest count. He cried "Fraud!" while the vote totals were being portrayed as valid by the media (including Fox News) and by officials across the country.

Republicans won't make that mistake in the future. Under the new voting laws, the GOP plan won't be to take a 10,000-vote Democratic victory margin and declare it invalid after the ballot counters have all gone home. The plan is to prevent that victory margin from ever arising in the first place.

The obvious way that will be done is by making it harder for Democrats to vote -- less absentee balloting, less early voting, fewer drop boxes (or none at all), fewer voter registration drives, and onerous ID requirements that fall disproportionately on people who can't take paid time off to obtain documents. Georgia's new law allows the state election board to take over county election boards if their performance is deemed substandard. This provision will be used to seize control of the election machinery in Democratic counties so polling places can be closed.

Beyond that, the plan will be to put Democrats under a cloud of suspicion well before the media is projecting a winner. That, I assume, is how Texas Republicans intend to use a provision in their bill.

In a last-minute addition, language was inserted in the bill making it easier to overturn an election, no longer requiring evidence that fraud actually altered an outcome of a race — but rather only that enough ballots were illegally cast that could have made a difference.

They're not as stupid as Trump. They'll start claiming they see fraud even as the votes are being cast. They'll have specific (if specious) examples ready to roll out during early voting or on Election Day, not days later, like Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and the rest of the MAGA motley crew.

The point will be to prevent even the unofficial totals from indicating a Democratic win. Under those circumstances, it will be a lot harder for Democrats to mobilize demonstrators.

Sure, some Republicans want to win by any means necessary -- see, e.g., Mike Flynn, who's calling for a military coup. But most Republicans are shrewder. They know that if it's harder for Democrats to vote, then Republican victories will have an air of legitimacy. It's worked for them in the past -- in New Jersey in 1981, in Georgia in 2018. There were no general strikes or civil disobedience. That's the plan again, on steroids.

Published with permission of No More Mister Nice Blog

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