Wednesday, April 17, 2019

It's About Suppression, Con't

The latest feigned outrage by House Republicans where they tell Elijah Cummings, a black Democrat, to know his place, is over Democrats investigating GOP efforts to suppress millions of votes in red states. This of course is something Republicans have to have in order to survive as a party and to keep red states red, so they're pretty upset over this.

House Democrats overstepped their authority by asking state officials for information as part of an inquiry into allegations of voter suppression, top Republicans on the U.S. House’s investigatory committee said Monday.

The Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee voiced their objections Monday in a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee chairman, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chairs a subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties. The two Democrats sent letters to officials in Georgia, Texas and Kansas earlier this year asking for documents related to controversial election decisions in 2018.

“We have serious concerns that your letters appear to be an attempt to insert the Committee into particular state election proceedings, for which we do not see a legitimate legislative purpose,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the committee, wrote in a letter signed by three other Republicans. “By seeking voluminous records relating to election administration of sovereign states, your investigation offends state-federal comity. In fact, the respective states are already working to resolve any issues with their election administration.”

The U.S. Constitution gives states the authority to determine the “Times, Places and Manner” of elections but also gives Congress the authority to make its own regulations or “alter” state election laws.

The Republicans also wrote directly to the officials in the three states the committee is focused on and suggested the inquiry was not legitimate. One of the state officials, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), told the committee last week he was rebuffing the request for information. GOP Reps. Chip Roy (Texas), Jody Hice (Ga.) and Michael Cloud (Texas) also signed Jordan’s letter.

Raskin pushed back on the letter in a statement Monday evening, saying the committee had broad investigative power.

“The U.S. Congress has the power and obligation to enforce the voting rights of the people as spelled out in the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, a power we have exercised repeatedly in statutes like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to shut down state action hostile to democratic participation,” he said in a statement.

Cummings replied in a statement Monday night, “It’s disappointing that Rep. Jordan is so opposed to oversight at so many levels. With a Democratic President, there was no allegation too small to investigate, but now that Donald Trump is in the White House, there is apparently no scandal too big to ignore. Democrats will do everything in our power to investigate reports of voter suppression, and we expect full compliance with the Committee’s requests.”

Kansas, Georgia, and Texas especially are ignoring the requests.  They figure they can tie them up in court until after Republicans win back the House in 2020 and make that permanent in 2022 after the Trump census and redistricting.  It's not a bad plan for them to have and it's very possible that things will work out this way.

The reality is without gaining control of the White House and Senate, Democrats will never be able to fix the Voting Rights Act, and demographics favor Republicans with a near-permanent Senate majority as smaller states get older and whiter as Millennials and Gen Z move out to blue states. 

That's a fight Democrats are going to have to find a way to win down the road, but more immediately, we have to keep the House and win back the White House next year.

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