Tag Archives: Conservatism

What happened last night

Living in a state whose governor hung out at white supremacist conferences but enjoys a high bipartisan approval rating, I pay attention to my neighbors, none more so in recent days than what was once the Old South. For most of my life Virginia was a state my eyes glossed over: a red bastion, part of the GOP’s inexorable hold on suburbs. Reading the basic news should chill Republicans.

For decades, Virginia was reliably conservative, choosing Republican candidates in every presidential primary from 1968 to 2004. But demographic changes in large portions of the state, including a population explosion in Northern Virginia from the early 1990s through 2010, turned the commonwealth from red to purple.

And now?

“At this point, Virginia has become a blue state — how can you call it anything else,” Rozell said. “In a state that was long considered leaning red and two-party competitive at best, who could have predicted that the Republican Party would fall so dramatically and quickly?”

The outcomes were no less dramatic in Pennsylvania, won by Donald Trump in 2016:

The Pennsylvania suburbs, which will be crucial in the 2020 general election, turned even bluer Tuesday, following big GOP congressional losses in the midterm elections.

In Delaware County, the results for Republicans were catastrophic. All three Republican Council candidates and all four Republicans running for Common Pleas Court judgeships lost there. Incumbent Republican District Attorney Katayoun Copeland was ousted by Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, whose campaign received the support of liberal billionaire George Soros.

GOP consultants have hastened to remind reporters that Governor Bevin was a world-class dickhead, loathed even by supporters, but, as usual, don’t look at the results: focus on the trends. With each statewide election, the suburbs move closer to the Dem column. I didn’t pay attention to Panglossian chatter about Texas and Georgia; now it may happen in my lifetime.

The effort to suppress student voting

College students voted in 2018. I know this because Florida International University allowed for a polling station in one of its buildings. But we can’t have students voting because they tend to skew Democratic.

The headline example is in New Hampshire. There, a Republican-backed law took effect this fall requiring newly registered voters who drive to establish “domicile” in the state by securing New Hampshire driver’s licenses and auto registrations, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually.

The dots are not hard to connect: According to the Tufts study, six in 10 New Hampshire college students come from outside the state, a rate among the nation’s highest. As early as 2011, the state’s Republican House speaker at the time, William O’Brien, promised to clamp down on unrestricted voting by students, calling them “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

Florida’s Republican secretary of state outlawed early-voting sites at state universities in 2014, only to see 60,000 voters cast on-campus ballots in 2018 after a federal court overturned the ban. This year, the State Legislature effectively reinstated it, slipping a clause into a new elections law that requires all early-voting sites to offer “sufficient non-permitted parking” — an amenity in short supply on densely packed campuses.

North Carolina Republicans enacted a voter ID law last year that recognized student identification cards as valid — but its requirements proved so cumbersome that major state universities were unable to comply. A later revision relaxed the rules, but much confusion remains, and fewer than half the state’s 180-plus accredited schools have sought to certify their IDs for voting.

Wisconsin Republicans also have imposed tough restrictions on using student IDs for voting purposes. The state requires poll workers to check signatures only on student IDs, although some schools issuing modern IDs that serve as debit cards and dorm room keys have removed signatures, which they consider a security risk.

The law also requires that IDs used for voting expire within two years, while most college ID cards have four-year expiration dates. And even students with acceptable IDs must show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote.

The Republican Party has made suppression of the franchise an essential part of its operations for close to forty years. It’s at the state level where the malfeasance happens, but they take their cues from a GOP Senate and president. Hence, a President Jeb! or President Plankton would’ve endorsed these practices. The truest line said on the record in today’s NYT story about suburban voters by a Kent County Trump supporter: “Just take out his name and look what he’s done for our community. Focus on his policies.”

‘There can be ballots not cast in a legitimate manner by legitimate people’

This is normal in Ohio:

She went online and discovered that her name had also been flagged as an inactive voter. The state was in the process of removing her from its voter rolls.

“I voted three times last year,” said Ms. Miller. “I don’t think we have any idea how many other individuals this has happened to.”

Ohio, where the Democratic presidential candidates are set to debate Tuesday, is both a battleground state and the site of some of the country’s strictest voting laws, from voter ID requirements to a “use-it-or-lose-it” provision that lets officials drop voters seen as inactive.

The combination has led voting rights advocates to contend that parts of the state are regularly disenfranchised, largely in purges aimed at those who have died or moved away, but which also hit real voters who don’t learn they can’t vote until Election Day. Election officials in other battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas regularly purge their voter lists as well.

This year, a group of elected officials in the state, mostly all moderate Republicans, tried to answer the concerns with an experiment of their own: Rather than purge the voter rolls behind closed doors as had been done in the past, the government released the full list of those to be removed this summer, and gave the list to advocacy groups. The groups said they found the list was riddled with errors.

But the other Republicans have joined these putative moderates in putting their errors for Ohioans to see, right?

“There can be ballots not cast in a legitimate manner by legitimate people,” said Senator William P. Coley II, a Republican who has pushed for tightening the voting laws. “The number of elections that are decided by one vote or a few votes — it doesn’t take much to throw an election.”

Having state officials crowdsource voter data must surely be what government-is-the-problem types in both parties mean by a practical solution. So if the League of Women Voters found discrepancies between its findings and state tabulations, what happened next? Who or what resolves the conflict? The GOP hopes to exhaust protesters.

‘We were taught Dewey decimal system in grade school. Never sounded like anything too tough.”

To argue for the existence of libraries because they provide books and free internet underestimates their capacities. Libraries also offer quiet. I’ve written about the centrality of public libraries in my life; I write this post from a table covered with a light dusting of pistachio crumbs at the Coral Gables Branch Library, where I’ve written hundreds of posts, reviews, and essays, and graded a few thousand examples of student handiwork. The hypercooled air coaxes out must, carpet shampoo, and a patron’s Subway lunch. It’s difficult to imagine anything else existing. Continue reading

Joe Biden and the Iraq War

In your weekly reminder that the GOP has suffered from brain tumors since January 1981, George W. Bush at this stage in his presidency had killed more foreigners than Donald Trump. Twenty-nine Democratic senators and eighty-one Dem representatives sided with Republican colleagues to give the president his permission slip. Among them: John Edwards, Bill Nelson, both long gone from the scene; Hillary Clinton, still the president of the United States, according to the GOP; and Joseph Biden. Continue reading

‘A demand for orthodoxy?’

Some of the less erudite members of the conservative intelligentsia spent last week complaining about the NYT’s 1619 Project, a series of articles that, as uneven as they are, present the founding as a conscious erasure of black Americans despite the presence of slavery and the Constitution’s three-fifths clause. I addressed their complaints and my own reading of nineteenth century history.

Jamelle Bouie, one of the contributors and the columnist who compensates for the employment of Bret Stephens, offers an addendum:

History is not the uncovering of absolute truths. It is a dialogue between the present and the past, between communities of scholars and thinkers working to understand the record of what came before — it is always a process of change and revision and critique. Conservatives have every right to criticize The 1619 Project. But if they’re going to call it “lies” and “garbage history” — if they’re going accuse it of propaganda and partisanship — then they should ask themselves a question: Are they looking for better scholarship or are they making a demand for orthodoxy?

This is not a rhetorical question, nor is he ambiguous about the correct answer.