If there is one aspect of government that conservatives love to hate, it’s regulations. The current inhabitant of the White House campaigned loudly on rolling back federal regulations, and in fact by his 100th day in office rescinded more regulations (using the Congressional Review Act) than any other president. A January article in The Atlantic by Peter M. Shane, The Quiet GOP Campaign Against Government Regulation, details how the GOP is “quietly” shutting down the process in which regulations are put in place to protect the public. Shane points out:
“The achievements of the modern regulatory state in advancing human welfare are profound. Thanks to administrative regulation, Americans breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water, eat healthier food, drive safer cars, work in safer environments, and have fairer and more secure access to education, housing, employment, telecommunications, and the ballot box. Regulations help protect consumers and investors from fraudulent and unfair practices in trade and finance.”
Yet, Republicans in Congress are hell-bent on pushing forward an agenda that would deny Americans the basic protections enumerated above.
So given their history, why are Republicans seeking to overregulate the voting process? The answer is simple – it works! Meaning- it works if your goal is to deny people from exercising their constitutional rights. (In the same way that overregulating clinics at the state level has been successful in attacking women’s right to choose.)
Enter the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, established by executive order on May 11th. Its stated mission is to”study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections”. (By the way, a report from the 2014 bipartisan commission established by President Obama to look at ways to modernize the registration process and to improve access to the polls has been removed from its government website host by the current administration.)
The lofty title of this newborn commission in itself should trigger alarm bells, but last week four things happened that The Nation’s Ari Berman describes as “the beginning of a nation-wide voter suppression campaign, led by the White House and enabled by Congress and the Department of Justice”.
Hearing the sirens? If not, you will after we take a closer look at this list.
With a history of racial discrimination in voting laws, the weakening of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the facts of the popular vote results of the 2016 presidential election being disputed on an almost daily basis, and a Republican controlled Congress that would rather suppress votes at home than focus on holding Russia accountable, the addition of the Commission on Election Integrity tells us one thing- This house is on fire!
Read Ari Berman's article here: The Trump Administration Is Planning an Unprecedented Attack on Voting Rights
posted by Amy Levengood