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Saturday, December 24, 2016

When Only One Side Plays By The Rules

Well, isn't this fun?

North Carolina can no longer be considered a democracy, according to a new report from the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP), which rated the state's overall electoral integrity at the same levels of those in authoritarian states and "pseudo-democracies" such as Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.
The state scored 58 out of 100, with ratings so poor on the measures of legal framework and voter registration that it tracked closely with those in Iran and Venezuela. The state got a score of 7 out of 100 for the integrity of voting district boundaries.
According to the report, North Carolina was the worst state for unfair districting in the United States and the worst ever analyzed by the EIP in the world. These ratings mean that the state can no longer be considered a democracy.
It's pretty incredible, but that's where we are. A U.S. state is no longer considered a democracy (I bet there are more).

Ryan Cooper at the Hill believes that the Shit, I mean Tar Heel State is a testing ground for the rest of the country (bolding is mine -- it's something worth knowing if you don't already):

This sort of tyranny seems to be the Republican aim — and it's important to realize that despite the traditional bleating American chauvinism about liberty, such a quasi-tyrannical system is not remotely at odds with our history. On the contrary, a South Africa-style partial tyranny is how North Carolina has been governed for most of its history. (It's probably more accurate to call the apartheid system Jim Crow-style, since the American version was first.) Wilmington, North Carolina, rang in the worst phase of Jim Crow, when white supremacists executed a violent coup d'etat in 1898 against the duly elected local government — the product of a "fusionist" black-white populist alliance — killing dozens of people and torching many black homes and businesses. The first target and the spark for the coup was a black newspaper — freedom of the press often being the first thing to go when democracy is abrogated. After that, North Carolina (and most of the rest of the South) was a brutally repressive tyranny until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act were passed. Tyranny is not the exception in North Carolina. For much of America's history, it was the rule.
It's not hard to predict how Republicans will attempt to cement their control of political power during the Trump years. Indeed, the tyranny is already some distance towards completion. Part of the plan will be what they have already been doing since they won the 2010 midterms and especially since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. They'll continue gerrymandering district boundaries to make it as hard as possible for Democrats to win (indeed, the way those selfsame state legislative districts are drawn in North Carolina is already an unconstitutional abrogation of civil rights, according to a federal court). They'll enact further targeted vote suppression measures to disenfranchise as many minorities and white liberals as possible, this time at the federal level if they can manage it. And for Democrats who manage to jump through all the hoops, they'll make it as onerous as possible for them to vote by restricting polling locations and hours in Democratic-leaning locations.
Finally, as we're seeing in North Carolina, any inconveniently lost elections can be overturned so long as the GOP controls enough other chunks of government. Legislatures can core out a governor's power, or Supreme Court decisions can overturn legislation with reverse-engineered legal argle-bargle. Who knows where it will stop. And from there it's really quite a short distance to stuffing ballot boxes or rigging the election counts. It has all happened before.

These are people who will do anything to win. And when they don't win, they change the rules. And when they can't change the rules, they break them.

This is seriously asymmetric warfare. There should be a referee who stops this, but there isn't. If the Democrats keep letting Republicans get away with this stuff, it's just going to get harder and harder to make up ground. Nearly all of the real solutions are against the rules, but if the Republicans don't care about them, why should we?

I know that sounds a lot like Trump's justification for torturing ISIS members. I don't feel terribly comfortable saying it, but I really am hitting my limits as far as coming up with democratic solutions in a democratic system that's being deliberately dismantled. When will enough be enough?