Monday, July 03, 2017

Voter suppression BEYOND STUPID: Trumpism will be the death of Republicanism

This columnist speaks truth: this new voter suppression threat is yet another nail in the coffin of the Republican party

Trump's Election Integrity Commission is a eulogy for the GOP
P.M. Carpenter's picture

by P.M. Carpenter | July 3, 2017 - 

"It is beyond stupid." Thus spake a computer science professor about the Trump administration's Election Integrity Commission's intention to "centralize and lay bare a valuable cache of [voter registration] information that cyber criminals could use for identity theft scams — or that foreign spies could leverage for disinformation schemes."

Beyond stupid is also the perfect title for any history of this administration, except, possibly, for Unspeakably Stupid, Corrupt, and Mendacious. Also Laughably Stupid, in view of this Washington Post headline about the election commission's co-chairman: "Kris Kobach says he can't comply with Kris Kobach's voter data request." The actual reason for Kobach's non-complainace is less relevant than the towering irony of it all.

The commission, as you know, is requesting from states such voter information as partial Social Security numbers, military status, and party affiliation — although the latter request, which I didn't know, is a violation of the federal Privacy Act of 1974. But what's the violation of a federal statute when the commander in chief is flagrantly violating the U.S. constitution's emoluments clause? Who with any authority will tell Trump's commission "No"? Paul Ryan? Mitch McConnell? Neil Gorsuch?

The Post also reports that "the commission has not made any public statements about what it intends to do with the voter roll data it receives from states." The commission's public silence is justified by the public's knowledge. "This commission has been, from the beginning, an effort to sell Trump's lie that he won the popular vote," says the director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. Second, and more sinister, is that "the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens," says California's secretary of state.

Both assessments are indisputable. The first is supported by Trump's on-the-record delusion that 2016 voter fraud just happened to match Hillary Clinton's winning margin; the second is backed by years of Republican voter-suppression efforts. The GOP has before it only two paths of operation. It can regain sanity, or it can seek to decimate the opposition's right to vote. Trump's formation of the oxymoronically named Election Integrity Commission answers which path the GOP is taking.

This in no way surprises. Any party that arrogantly appropriates "real Americanism" is bound to cynically devalue it — and, in time, be exposed. It's the Jimmy Swaggart phenomenon writ large and political. And it is beyond stupid. In a fundamentally conservative nation (which the United States is) an authentically conservative party's future would be secure and legitimate. The Republican Party has opted instead for pseudoconservatism and illegitimacy, which have destabilized its future by putting it on the mine-laden path of unAmericanism. Or, put simply, Trumpism. Which will be the death of Republicanism.