25 votes

Inside the Republican plot for permanent minority rule

23 comments

  1. [21]
    Autoxidation
    Link
    I really, really hope that Dems can get control of the Senate and presidency and do something about this. It's a truly disgusting abuse of our democracy that this happened.

    I really, really hope that Dems can get control of the Senate and presidency and do something about this. It's a truly disgusting abuse of our democracy that this happened.

    12 votes
    1. [16]
      wycy
      Link Parent
      I suspect repairing the Voting Rights Act is one of the first things the Democrats will do if/when they gain power. Which is great. The problem is that unless they accompany this with an expansion...

      I suspect repairing the Voting Rights Act is one of the first things the Democrats will do if/when they gain power. Which is great. The problem is that unless they accompany this with an expansion of the Supreme Court very shortly after the election, the conservative justices will just strike it down in 2022/2024/as soon as Republicans take the Senate again (because I suspect the conservatives would decline to take a case to gut voting rights while Democrats have the Senate). The conservative "originalists" have made it very clear that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to vote and therefore laws to that effect are unconstitutional. Unless the Supreme Court is reformed, they can undo just about anything.

      16 votes
      1. acdw
        Link Parent
        I honestly wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the Republicans immediately begin packing the supreme court if they win in November. It follows the pattern of making a lot of noise about the...

        I honestly wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the Republicans immediately begin packing the supreme court if they win in November. It follows the pattern of making a lot of noise about the Dems doing something and then doing literally the thing.

        9 votes
      2. [8]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        What's the (ostensible) logic there? I can see the argument that the constitution doesn't guarantee universal suffrage, given that voting was pretty much just for white men when it was drafted,...

        The conservative "originalists" have made it very clear that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to vote and therefore laws to that effect are unconstitutional.

        What's the (ostensible) logic there? I can see the argument that the constitution doesn't guarantee universal suffrage, given that voting was pretty much just for white men when it was drafted, but isn't that what newer laws are for?

        My understanding is that they must be claiming it's somehow in direct conflict with the constitution, and I'm not seeing how they can make that argument.

        4 votes
        1. [7]
          wycy
          Link Parent
          For voting rights laws, the apparent logic is that the lack of a constitutional right to vote means that the federal government doesn't have the right to tell individual states how to run their...

          the constitution doesn't guarantee universal suffrage, given that voting was pretty much just for white men when it was drafted, but isn't that what newer laws are for?

          For voting rights laws, the apparent logic is that the lack of a constitutional right to vote means that the federal government doesn't have the right to tell individual states how to run their elections. This lets them simultaneously not care if, e.g., CA implements strong voting rights laws while NC/SC/GA restrict voting rights.

          8 votes
          1. [6]
            Icarus
            Link Parent
            Would the fix be to add an amendment to the constitution guaranteeing the right to vote (i.e. automatic voter registration) as well as the right to participate without undue hardship (long voting...

            Would the fix be to add an amendment to the constitution guaranteeing the right to vote (i.e. automatic voter registration) as well as the right to participate without undue hardship (long voting lines, proximity to polling places) be the solution?

            8 votes
            1. [4]
              wycy
              Link Parent
              That would be fantastic and that would probably do it. Getting an amendment to the constitution passed in this environment sounds incredibly difficult, though.

              That would be fantastic and that would probably do it. Getting an amendment to the constitution passed in this environment sounds incredibly difficult, though.

              10 votes
              1. [3]
                arp242
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                There's already the 9th: I'm no legal scholar, but with a basic common-sense reading, the "rights" in the constitution are all about limiting the government's power, and not really about giving...

                There's already the 9th:

                The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                I'm no legal scholar, but with a basic common-sense reading, the "rights" in the constitution are all about limiting the government's power, and not really about giving people "rights". It's kind of a subtle distinction, but the "right to free speech" can also mean "the government won't be allowed to limit speech". It seems to me that "it's not listed explicitly in the constitution, so therefore the government can limit voting rights" is exactly the sort of scenario the 9th is intended to prevent.

                I'm just some eurocuck with Wikipedia, so what do I know 🤷‍♂️ But it always seemed to me that there are a lot of bad-faith readings of the constitution out there, never mind that this entire idea of treating this 300 year old document as some authority of absolute truth for modern problems is a preposterous situation in the first pace. This entire practice of trying to divine what the founding fathers may or may not have intended is a huge red herring.

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  I would contend that the common sense reading is the correct interpretation, for the same reason you are entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers. Most of the bad readings come out of...

                  I'm no legal scholar, but with a basic common-sense reading,

                  I would contend that the common sense reading is the correct interpretation, for the same reason you are entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers.

                  But it always seemed to me that there are a lot of bad-faith readings of the constitution out there

                  Most of the bad readings come out of lawyers, not laypeople. Because the lawyers often have an agenda, even if it's only 'keep law complex enough we still need lawyers.'

                  This same thing happened to the 4th amendment, which got bulldozed in the digital age when some lawyer successfully argued 'Digital files aren't technically paper and thus aren't protected'.

                  Makes me think the future of secure data transfer is with a briefcase of QR codes.

                  5 votes
                  1. arp242
                    Link Parent
                    I think that's a bit too simplistic; for a lot of things you genuinely can have two (or more!) different good-faith readings. There certainly are a lot of people making things needlessly complex,...

                    Most of the bad readings come out of lawyers, not laypeople. Because the lawyers often have an agenda, even if it's only 'keep law complex enough we still need lawyers.'

                    I think that's a bit too simplistic; for a lot of things you genuinely can have two (or more!) different good-faith readings. There certainly are a lot of people making things needlessly complex, but that's probably mostly because of some ideological bias rather than an attempt to keep the law complex for the sake of it. It seems to me that any law that is both comprehensive and fair will tend to be complex.

                    2 votes
            2. spit-evil-olive-tips
              Link Parent
              In an ideal world, yes. In practical terms, ratification requires not just a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, but also three-quarters (currently 38) state legislatures to ratify it....

              In an ideal world, yes.

              In practical terms, ratification requires not just a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, but also three-quarters (currently 38) state legislatures to ratify it.

              Currently, Republicans have complete control (both houses) of 29 state legislatures, while Democrats control 19. So any constitutional amendment that Republican state legislatures would see as a threat to their control has basically zero chance of being ratified.

              7 votes
      3. [6]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        Why wouldn't the Republicans just add more justices to the Supreme Court?

        Why wouldn't the Republicans just add more justices to the Supreme Court?

        1. wycy
          Link Parent
          The goal should be to pack the court and ram through such strong voter rights laws that republicans can’t win again. Combine that with admitting DC/PR as states—and perhaps other more drastic...

          The goal should be to pack the court and ram through such strong voter rights laws that republicans can’t win again. Combine that with admitting DC/PR as states—and perhaps other more drastic actions—to swing the balance of power in the Senate more substantially.

          It’s a gamble with a lot of potential upside. If the gamble fails and republicans do take power again, I’m sure they would pack the court in response. But it’s hard to imagine that scenario being much worse than the scenario we’re currently in with a 6-3 court.

          9 votes
        2. [4]
          TheMeerkat
          Link Parent
          The Intercept has a good article responding to common objections about court packing like this.

          The Intercept has a good article responding to common objections about court packing like this.

          7 votes
          1. [3]
            arp242
            Link Parent
            I feel that article brushes the concerns aside far too lightly; packing the court certainly has the potential to escalate things to a whole new level. Is it worth it? Perhaps. But it seems to me...

            I feel that article brushes the concerns aside far too lightly; packing the court certainly has the potential to escalate things to a whole new level. Is it worth it? Perhaps. But it seems to me that less radical solutions such as term limits are something that should be tried first, even though it's hard. This is also something Republicans have supported in the past, although I have little doubt that support will evaporate in less than a Planck second once Democrats propose it. If that fails, yeah, maybe pack the court. But by at least seriously trying term limits you will be able to tell the electorate with a straight face that you really tried everything to come to a reasonable and fair bi-partisan solution.

            Having the entire situation devolve to a naked power struggle seems like the least desirable situation, and something I fear will not end well. It sucks always having to be the "adults in the room", but someone's got to do it.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              There's only so long you can be the adult while someone repeatedly hits you in the face before you need to move on to other solutions than asking them to stop.

              There's only so long you can be the adult while someone repeatedly hits you in the face before you need to move on to other solutions than asking them to stop.

              4 votes
              1. arp242
                Link Parent
                Yes, well, burning down the entire neighbourhood when you have a fight with your bogan neighbour also doesn't strike me as desirable. I fear court packing definitely may have this effect.

                Yes, well, burning down the entire neighbourhood when you have a fight with your bogan neighbour also doesn't strike me as desirable. I fear court packing definitely may have this effect.

                1 vote
    2. [4]
      tindall
      Link Parent
      It's interesting because this is one of the few things I actually do see the dems acting on. They're by and large spineless centrists (by which I do mean centrists of the spineless variety, not...

      It's interesting because this is one of the few things I actually do see the dems acting on. They're by and large spineless centrists (by which I do mean centrists of the spineless variety, not that all centrists are spineless) but at least most spineless centrists can agree that voting is good.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        I don't know, it is 100% in their interests to tackle this, as more fair voting practices leads to more Dems in government. I think it would ultimately be beneficial to the GOP too, as they would...

        I don't know, it is 100% in their interests to tackle this, as more fair voting practices leads to more Dems in government. I think it would ultimately be beneficial to the GOP too, as they would be forced to move towards the center to win elections instead of relying on a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate agitated into a fervent voting record. They wouldn't trend towards such polarization if those positions couldn't win elections.

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          moocow1452
          Link Parent
          Okay, but that's like explaining to your dog why it's in their best interest to go to the vet. They don't want to go in the cage, they don't want to get poked and prodded and they aren't going to...

          Okay, but that's like explaining to your dog why it's in their best interest to go to the vet. They don't want to go in the cage, they don't want to get poked and prodded and they aren't going to understand any of your rational points and figures, because you both have diametrically opposed goals and very different vocabularies.

          9 votes
          1. Autoxidation
            Link Parent
            I said it would be beneficial to the GOP (as a whole), not that they would like it. ;) For the Dems this is self serving. The only reason to not tackle this is getting tied up in other issues and...

            I said it would be beneficial to the GOP (as a whole), not that they would like it. ;)

            For the Dems this is self serving. The only reason to not tackle this is getting tied up in other issues and they run out of time. I suspect after the underhandedness of the Republicans for the past bit most of the Democratic base is pretty unhappy and want to see things changed.

            7 votes
  2. [2]
    arp242
    Link
    I've been calling these tactics "scorched earth politics": it doesn't matter what damage gets done or who gets hurt by your actions, as long as it's a short-term advantage it'll be done. This has...

    I've been calling these tactics "scorched earth politics": it doesn't matter what damage gets done or who gets hurt by your actions, as long as it's a short-term advantage it'll be done.

    This has long since gone beyond "Conservative vs. Liberal", or "right vs. left". There is nothing wrong with having Conservative or right-wing views, but there are a lot of things wrong with scorched earth politics.

    7 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      It's kind of how America has been running its corporations recently, it's not exactly a surprise that it has seeped into politics as well.

      it doesn't matter what damage gets done or who gets hurt by your actions, as long as it's a short-term advantage it'll be done

      It's kind of how America has been running its corporations recently, it's not exactly a surprise that it has seeped into politics as well.

      8 votes