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Stephen Gottlieb: Payback For Election Rigging

It couldn’t be clearer that Republicans claim that Democrats rigged the 2020 election because they can’t imagine winning an election except by rigging it. Now preparing for the 2022 elections, they aren’t bothering to revise their policies to gain popularity among the American public, and instead are busily doing what they kept claiming Democrats did – rigging the election. Among other forms of chicanery:

  • They’re rigging the election by manipulating polling places so that opposition voters have to wait in long lines to vote if they haven’t given up first;
  • They’re rigging it by prohibiting anyone from bringing voters food and water so many won’t stick it out and stay on line waiting to vote;
  • They’re rigging it by making voting costly;
  • And most recently, they’re rigging it by trying to punish poll workers for doing their jobs honestly and scare them from allowing Blacks and Democrats to vote.

Obviously, Republicans see no path to victory except by violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol, Congress, and on peaceful opposition demonstrators, and by rigging elections or lying about the results without legal or moral limits on their behavior.
And they’ve sufficiently politicized the Supreme Court that it:

  • took down the Voting Rights Act, which was designed to protect the right to vote, even for Democrats,
  • allowed corporations to finance political campaigns with money from the corporate treasury, turning our democratic system into a slush fund for the privileged;
  • but the Court denied relief against gerrymandering voting districts so that the actual vote tallies have little impact on which party comes out ahead and mostly to help Republicans keep control of many state legislatures.

I have no respect for partisan shills under the shield of black cloaks, and partisanship has no place in voting machinery, vote counting and judicial decision-making. It’s time to take such partisanship out of bounds.
But the even bigger problem is disloyalty. Having forced much of the country to swear during the McCarthy years that we would not use force or violence to overturn the Constitution, they are trying to overturn the constitutional system of elections with force, violence, and a parade of lies, all to guarantee government of, by and for Republicans, destroying accountability to the voters and the democratic system itself.

I’m angry and ready for payback, ready to investigate Republican disloyalty, make them swear on penalty of perjury that they are not trying to overturn the Constitution by lies, fraud, force and violence. I’m ready to chase Republican cheats out from every hiding place, and tar them with the brush of disloyalty which they so richly deserve.

The pragmatic side of me says that Democrats and fair-minded Republicans will have to do everything possible to pass the For the People Act or similar legislation to stop the fraudulent destruction of the electoral system. The For the People Act would solve many of those problems but it won’t slake my anger. I’m ready to see supporters of election chicanery on the hotseat and behind bars for disloyalty. I’m ready to demand loyalty oaths for a democratic America where everyone’s vote counts. The only people I would deport are those who deny the principles of democracy. Sic the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement after them. We don’t need traitors.

Steve Gottlieb’s latest book is Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and The Breakdown of American Politics. He is the Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Albany Law School, served on the New York Civil Liberties Union board, on the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Iran.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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