The Republicans February 2021-

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The Republicans
The Lincoln Project
What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory
The 45th President of the U.S.

Expand access? A historic restriction? What the Georgia voting law really does.
Peter W. Stevenson
(WaPo) A close examination of the language in the law shows it does contain new restrictions on voting; some are likely to make it disproportionately more difficult for poorer voters and voters of color to cast their ballots.
It’s also correct that there are ways in which the law expands voter access, particularly in ways that will be visible in rural areas.
This is playing out in the wake of Georgia’s swing to Democrats in the 2020 presidential election and the ensuing baseless charges of fraud from the Trump campaign and its allies. Republican lawmakers in the state — as many of their counterparts across the country have — quickly began drafting a bill critics say is a political reaction from a party beholden to Trump
What Georgia’s Voting Law Really Does
The New York Times analyzed the state’s new 98-page voting law and identified 16 key provisions that will limit ballot access, potentially confuse voters and give more power to Republican lawmakers.
Heather Cox Richardson April 1, 2021
The efforts of Republican state legislators in 43 states to suppress voting have made the rubber of Republicans politics meet the road of reality.
Republicans are pushing the idea that it is imperative to pass laws to protect the sanctity of the vote because their supporters are concerned that the 2020 election was stolen. But, as observers have pointed out, if they want to reassure their voters that the election was clean, the way to do it would be to tell them the truth: the election wasn’t stolen.

19-20 March
The Republican Party’s Irrational War on Voting Rights
State-level efforts to restrict the franchise may hurt democracy—and also, the GOP’s own voters.
(The Atlantic) Around the country, indignation has driven Republicans to propose new restrictions on voting rights. Some of these are likely unconstitutional. Some appear to target particular constituencies. But one of the most striking features of these proposals as a whole is their incoherence.
In their eagerness to demonstrate their loyalty to Trump, Republican legislators are rushing to apply scattershot solutions to an imagined set of problems. And although they seem unmoved by warnings that these laws will disproportionately affect minority voters, they may well discover that they have actually disenfranchised many of their own supporters, even as their push to pass restrictive rules energizes their opponents.
Republicans don’t seem to have carefully thought through all the ways their bills might affect the state’s entire electorate. Whereas past efforts at voter suppression around the country seemed to target Democratic demographics “with almost surgical precision” (as a federal judge wrote of North Carolina’s 2013 voter-ID law), some of the laws currently under consideration in Arizona and nationwide look like blunt instruments that could end up making it harder for Republicans to vote too.

‘An all-hands moment’: GOP rallies behind voting limits
(AP) From statehouses to Washington, the fight over who can vote and how — often cast as “voting integrity” — has galvanized a Republican Party in search of unifying mission in the post-Trump era. For a powerful network of conservatives, voting restrictions are now viewed as a political life-or-death debate, and the fight has all-but eclipsed traditional Republican issues like abortion, gun rights and tax cuts as an organizing tool.
That potency is drawing influential figures and money from across the right, ensuring that the clash over the legislation in Washington will be partisan and expensive.
So far, the states have been the center of the debate. More than 250 bills have have been introduced in 43 states that would change how Americans vote, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice, which backs expanded voting access.
… the fight over voting laws now extends far beyond Trump and is shifting to Washington, where the Democratic-led Senate will soon consider an array of voting changes. The package, known as H.R. 1, would require states to automatically register eligible voters, as well as offer same-day registration. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and restore former felons’ voting rights. Among dozens of other provisions, it would also require states to offer 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting. Democrats, who are marshaling their own resources behind the bill, argue it is necessary to block what they describe as voter suppression efforts in the states.

9 March
Bad news’: Wave of GOP retirements signals battles ahead
(AP) Missouri’s Roy Blunt on Monday became the fifth Republican senator to announce he will not seek reelection, a retirement wave that portends an ugly campaign season next year and gives Democrats fresh hope in preserving their razor-thin Senate majority.
History suggests Republicans are still well-positioned to reclaim at least one chamber of Congress next year. But officials in both parties agree that the surge of GOP departures will make the Republicans’ challenge more difficult in the Senate.
Opinion: The Republican Party isn’t in trouble
By Hugh Hewitt
Redistricting in the next two years will advantage the GOP. The Senate map is tougher for Republicans in 2022. … Most people in both parties assume that President Biden will not be leading the Democratic ticket in 2024, so there will likely be a nasty battle to replace him on the Democratic side.
… Former president Donald Trump complicates the picture. If he ran as a third-party candidate, he’d surely hand the White House back to the Democrats, but that’s an unlikely scenario. He could have an outsize influence on who is the nominee, and his personal favorites are probably Cotton, DeSantis and Pompeo. Whether the rift between Trump and the former vice president mends, Mike Pence will be in the mix as well.
… The corrupt and now exposed Lincoln Project took out one tribe of anti-Trumpists, but many of great character and intellect remain, talking to each other and very few other people. The center-right and old right are simply angling for position while facing a new order, a different coalition of voters and a set of issues defined by the rising menace of the Chinese Communist Party.

5 March
GOP governors scorn pandemic restrictions as they compete for primacy in a pro-Trump party
(WaPo) The decision this week by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to end his state’s mask mandate and lift all restrictions on business reflects a broader move by politically ambitious Republican governors to channel the rising anger of conservative constituents over government efforts to curb the coronavirus.

28 February
Allies of Rep. Adam Kinzinger launch super PAC to support Republicans who have bucked Trump
Allies of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are launching a super PAC [Americans Keeping Country First] to collect large sums of money to support Republicans willing to buck former president Donald Trump, the latest sign of the party’s deepening internecine war.

26 February
How Trumpism Has Become a Cult of Losing
By Jonathan Chait
Donald Trump …has moved into a role of opposition leader and president in exile, a sort of hybrid between a parliamentary system (where a defeated prime minister might often slide immediately into opposition leadership) and banana republic, where a deposed strongman flees the country with a Swiss bank account and a retinue of goons.
The Republican response has ranged from resigned acceptance to active encouragement. Examples of the former include Mitt Romney, who conceded that Trump will win the 2024 nomination if he seeks it, and Mitch McConnell, who agreed that Trump will have his full support should that happen. Examples of the latter include Representative Jim Jordan, who has deemed Trump the party’s leader and urged him to take an even more active role in its direction, and the CPAC Conference, which includes a Golden Calf–style statue. (The worship is metaphorical, though Politico recently reported on some Christian sects that prophesize Trump’s return quite literally.)
The Republicans’ understanding of the January 6 insurrection follows from their delusional beliefs about the election itself. A USA Today poll found that 58 percent of Republicans believe the attack was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters,” more than double the number who describe it as “a rally of Trump supporters, some of whom attacked the Capitol.”
Why Republicans Are Still Holding Onto the Big Lie
Even with a new president, it’s in Republicans’ interest to undermine the idea that democracy is worth it.
(Slate) Why is the lie so sticky for so many? MSNBC’s Marc Ambinder reminds us of one big reason to persist in the fiction: The lie serves the party’s ultimate goal of suppressing the votes of likely Democrats. It’s clear that while even Trump’s own agencies determined that this election was “the most secure in history,” the record voter turnout in the midst of a pandemic means that the sustainability of the GOP as a political party now lies in constricting the franchise, including placing needless limits on mail-in voting. The laser focus of state-level Republican efforts right now is thus to limit voting rights. Ari Berman reported this week on a new analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, showing that in the two months that constitute 2021 so far, 253 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states, with Georgia serving as ground zero for experiments in restricting voting by mail, Sunday voting, and tweaking the Georgia runoff rules.
Some local GOP leaders fire up base with conspiracies, lies
(AP) A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly through GOP ranks fueled by algorithms that boost extreme content.
The Associated Press reviewed public and private social media accounts of nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local elected and appointed Republican officials nationwide, many of whom have voiced support for the Jan. 6 insurrection or demanded that the 2020 presidential election be overturned, sometimes in deleted posts or now-removed online forums.
The bitter, combative rhetoric is helping the officials grow their constituencies on social media and gain outsized influence in their communities, city councils, county boards and state assemblies. And it exposes the GOP’s internal struggle over whether the party can include traditional conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and militias as it builds its base for 2022.

25 February
Republican Senators Haven’t Represented a Majority of Voters Since 1996
By Ed Kilgore
(New York) Thanks to the filibuster, of course, on many key measures, the 43.5 percent of voters represented by a Republican minority in the Senate have as much clout as the 44.7 percent represented by a Republican majority when the GOP won a trifecta four years ago. That’s why Democrats are trying to cram as much legislation as they can into a budget-reconciliation bill that cannot be filibustered and why the parliamentarian’s ruling on the scope of that bill is such a big deal for Americans trying to survive on minimum wage.
McConnell Would ‘Absolutely’ Support Trump As 2024 Nominee
By Matt Stieb
(New York) The reason for McConnell’s retreat is obvious. One poll taken in February showed that a majority of Republican voters preferred Trump as their 2024 candidate and that his favorability rating sat at 81 percent just after the Senate impeachment trial — compared to McConnell’s 33 percent. With this preference clear among GOP voters, it would only be surprising if McConnell chose not to back the candidate who has physically mocked him, called on Republicans to replace him, and arguably cost him his Senate majority. Just as McConnell bailed on a reported plan to sabotage Trump after it became clear the billionaire would dominate the 2016 GOP primary, he has no desire to spar in a party civil war that Trump has already won.
The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages
The GOP has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.
By Tom Nichols, Author of Our Own Worst Enemy
(The Atlantic) I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.

18 February
David A. Graham: Ted Cruz Is No Hypocrite. He’s Worse.
The senator’s error is not that he was deliberately shirking his duty, but that he couldn’t think of any way he could help.
If Cruz’s problem were mere hypocrisy, that might be manageable. Politicians (even Ted Cruz) are deeply susceptible to shaming, and voters’ memories are short. But Cruz’s problem is deeper. He didn’t go to Cancún despite knowing he should be hard at work; it just didn’t occur to him that he could help. That, too, is a kind of power failure.
Democrats slam Sen. Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun while Texans are ‘literally freezing to death’
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flew to Cancun on Wednesday, a trip that has sparked intense backlash as his constituents continue to struggle with one of the worst winter storms in years.

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