Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: CA votes while the GOP continues to attack democracy

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Republicans Have Declared War Against Honest Elections

The more GOP leaders pretend that voting results are rigged frauds, the more everyone in the party will believe it and the more U.S. democracy will suffer.

The dangerous Republican decision to portray more and more elections as inherently fraudulent, described in detail by Greg Sargent in an important Washington Post column last week (and see here too), is a mostly a new development inspired by former President Donald Trump. And yet there’s something familiar about it. And that’s bad news for democracy in the U.S.

I’m not talking about earlier efforts to make it harder to vote in the name of fighting election fraud, which had its roots in long-standing complaints about systematic fraud in the days of machine politics.

No, the reason this new focus of Republican politics may seem familiar is because it’s similar to the long GOP war on the media. And just as that effort was both bad for democracy and very successful, this one may well be, too.

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Don’t Fret About a Backlash to Biden Vaccine Mandate

Remember that many unvaccinated Americans aren’t hardcore resisters, just people who need a push. The president gave them one.

And the most important thing? As long as the policy is implemented and succeeds in getting people vaccinated, and of course assuming that more vaccinations means a lot less pandemic, then it doesn’t really matter whether the policy is popular or not. What matters, for Biden’s presidency as well as for the nation, is ending the pandemic and delivering a strong economy. If that happens, no one is going to care whether the vaccine mandate was popular.

WaPo:

GOP condemnation of Biden coronavirus mandate fuels concern other vaccine requirements could be targeted

Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared on Twitter that there should be “NO VACCINE MANDATES.”

More than a dozen other prominent Republicans in Congress and in the states have made similarly defiant statements in recent days, often using inflammatory rhetoric. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster pledged to fight Biden and Democrats “to the gates of hell” on coronavirus vaccine mandates, while Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) condemned Biden’s recent mandate as “authoritarian” and the work of “a power hungry government.”

The sharp rhetoric and failure to clarify their broader views on vaccines are worrying some public health experts.

“The 20th century was a century of incredible progress against leading killers, and much of that progress was because of vaccinations,” said Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “If we turn our back on vaccines at this moment where vaccines are really having a scientific heyday . . . I think that would be tragic, and it would cause a lot of unnecessary suffering and death, particularly among children.”

Thomas Zimmer/Twitter:

“So is this really how it’s going to be?“ @ThePlumLineGS asks in this crucial piece, as GOP candidates are openly casting any potential election losses as illegitimate. The answer, sadly, has to be yes – because this is what the Republican Party has become.

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Some thoughts: 

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David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

Forget About Biden’s ‘Cruel Summer’—He’s Doing Big Things

He’s ended America’s longest war, got vaccines distributed at no cost nationwide and halved the child poverty rate. So why all the stories about ‘Biden‘s Cruel Summer’?

In just eight months, the president and his team have engineered transformational progress on many fronts. Where there had been no plan to administer vaccines, today over 200 million Americans have received at least one shot and the vaccines are available to every American free of charge and are now required of federal workers as part of a sweeping effort to contain the spread of the virus here. Our vaccine diplomacy efforts lead the world, with commitments to share 600 million doses to countries in need worldwide. Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan has cut the child poverty rate in half. More jobs, 4.1 million, were created in the first six months of this administration than in the 12 years of the Trump and Bush administrations combined. The U.S. economy grew at an extraordinary annualized rate of 6.5 percent during the second quarter of this year. Biden implemented scores of executive orders undoing Trump administration policies that damaged the environment, put our security at risk, or violated the rights of Americans.

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Marc Elias/Democracy Docket:

My Thoughts on Manchin’s Compromise Bill

After considering the For the People Act this past summer, Senator Joe Manchin, along with other key Senate Democrats, used the August recess to draft a long-awaited revision of the landmark voting rights bill.

The Freedom to Vote Act, introduced this morning, reveals a surprisingly good voting rights bill.  It reflects a sobriety and understanding of the challenges facing voters that is worthy of its lofty name. It is not just a reformulation of the prior For the People Act, but in many places, it is an improvement.

Much of the new bill is familiar to those concerned about voting rights in our country. The new bill establishes minimum requirements for how states conduct federal elections. It expands voter registration, requires a minimum number of days and hours for early voting and creates a nationwide right to vote by mail.




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