Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
The anti-democratic hits keep a’comin’:
• Arizona’s state House passed a bill last week that will take certain election-related power away from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and give it to the more reliable Republican Attorney General. The measure sunsets at the end of Hobbs’s term, I’m guessing because the state GOP fully expects a Republican Secretary of State next time around. In addition to removing Hobbs from all election litigation, this sneaky law, tied to a budget resolution, will give the legislature the power to tap third parties of their choosing to help purge the voter rolls of ineligible (read Black and Hispanic) voters. This is a raw power grab, and it’s completely unsurprising these days.
• Maricopa County, Arizona, incidentally, has announced that it will be replacing the voting machines commandeered by Cyber Ninjas in the corrupt audit still taking place there. The fear is that audit workers might have corrupted the machines in any number of ways, so to the scrap heap they’re bound. This’ll cost the taxpayers of Maricopa millions of dollars, but hey, their elected officials got them into this mess. Maybe they’ll vote for sane candidates in the future.
• Mike Pence gave a speech a few days back in which he both defended his actions on January 6 (i.e., not attempting to overturn the election results) and threw more fuel on the Big Lie fire. He’s turning out to be one of the slimiest politicians ever to walk the marbled halls of Congress. But he is a devout Christian …
• Jennifer Rubin of The Post wrote a column about the true nature of the GOP base and concludes that it’s essentially a Christian nationalist movement that leans more toward authoritarianism than democracy. They would rather that we all be ruled by a strongman whose will is the law, presuming that the strongman is one of their ilk. Researchers have done polling that shows 26% of the U.S. population tends toward authoritarianism. And, unfortunately, that 26% gets a lot more federal representation, thanks to the Constitution’s sensitivity to small, agrarian states. As Rubin puts it, “If a significant faction of the Republican Party adheres to Christian nationalism rather than the democratic civic religion … the rest of us cannot embrace them as good-faith partners in democracy.” Painfully true.
• The governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem (who is obviously a Republican, as you’ll soon gather), is deploying National Guard troops to the Mexico border in response to Texas governor Greg Abott’s plea for assistance. But get this: The mission is going to be paid for by a Tennessee billionaire. Mr. Moneybags, one Willis Johnson, said, “I want to protect America, and that’s it.” Tell you what. This sets a terrible precedent for billionaires to be able to set national security priorities by waving gobs of money in front of craven Republican governors. Suppose the governor of, say, Missouri, had sent billionaire-funded National Guard troops to Washington on January 6 to protect the patriots protesting the election certification. The MyPillow guy could have pitted those troops against the Capitol Police. Maybe this isn’t legally possible (I hope not!), but if you let billionaires think they can even attempt such things, we’re in super deep doo doo.