John Colson: An honest election would dump Trump
Hit & Run
After a couple of weeks off for family-related matters, I find myself taking on a topic that I’ve visited before — the controversy over mail-in voting, an electoral change our president and his base are determined to avoid because they know it would spell disaster for the administration of Donald J. Trump.
This is a fact that Trump made quite plain during an interview with his favorite news sycophants on the “Fox & Friends” talk show in March.
During a chat about the Democrats’ demands for mail-in voting as a way to ensure the health and safety of voters all over the country, Trump said of a late March coronavirus relief bill, “The things they had in there were crazy (referring to voter-protection and expansion proposals). They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Naturally, Trump did not expand on his remark, but observers have noted ever since that he favors lower voter turnouts because that is the only way his party can retain power.
Trump realizes he was elected by perhaps 30-35 percent of the electorate in 2016, partly because many people simply chose to sit out that election rather than cast a vote for either Trump or his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Oh, and there also was the belief that Clinton almost certainly would win, because no one in their right mind would vote for Trump.
Well, as the election has made clear to all of us who despise Trump World and the deliberate degradation of our democracy that has been wrought by Trump, there were enough people not in their right minds to allow Trump to scrape out a win in 2016.
This time, as he and the rest of us can clearly see, Trump appears to be losing yet again, this time to former Vice President Joe Biden. Many polls show this, though with varying margins of difference, and Trump’s supporters are determined to keep as many people from voting as they can in order to hang on to power.
In some states, of course, the Republican strategy is being engineered by party loyalists, who already have managed to gerrymander their states’ voting districts to ensure Republicans maintain statehouse majorities even if they lose the popular vote. Republicans have been following this strategy for decades and have proven themselves much more adept at gerrymandering (cheating the electorate out of a true representative government in the process) than Democrats.
But there are efforts to get around the gerrymandering landslide, such as the National Popular Vote Compact, which as of last month had been adopted by 15 states (including Colorado) and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, in Colorado the measure passed last year,has been suspended by a right-wing ballot initiative that put it up to the state’s voters in November, where I am hoping it will be upheld.
The goal of the compact is to ensure that future elections will be determined by the actual popular-vote count, to eliminate victories derived solely from results in the Electoral College, an outmoded and anti-democratic provision in the U.S. Constitution that essentially is dependent on gerrymandering and other voter-suppression techniques.
There is another effort underway that, if successful, is projected to boost voter turnout around the country in 2020 — mail-in voting on a nationwide scale.
It is generally acknowledged by political observers that if voter participation is increased, the candidates in the Democratic Party will get most of the benefit. That is the source of Trump’s conclusion on Fox News.
At the present time, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii have had statewide automatic voting by mail up and running prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.
In response to the pandemic, a total of 23 states have instituted either automatic mail-in ballot application systems or are preparing to send automatic mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the different states. But only five of those 23 states have gone for the latter, all-in conversion to automatic mail-in balloting: Montana, Nevada, California, Vermont and New Jersey.
Still, that means that 28 states have some form of mail-in balloting, most of them being in the West, Midwest and northeastern portions of the nation.
In the South, only Alabama has made a move toward universal mail-in balloting, though the move was only a halfhearted change to mail-in applications, leaving it up to the voters to figure it out and get it done.
But Trump and his supporters are desperate to prevent mail-in voting from expanding any further, and that is why they are resisting all attempts to shore up the finances of the U.S. Postal System, and why they are claiming, with absolutely no evidence, that mail-in voting is an invitation to voter fraud.
This claim is a lie perpetrated by the GOP hoping they can insert enough doubt into the debate that voters will be confused and less likely to step up and cast a ballot in any form in November, which would leave the field open for a second dishonest Trump victory.
But an honest election would dump Trump into the ash-bin of electoral politics, where he belongs.
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Proposition EE isn’t a silver bullet against fighting teen smoking or finding funds for public schools, but it is a good start.