Observations of an expat: US Elections and 6 January

American Democrats have set up giant screens across key locations. Free ice cream is on offer and major political revelations are promised.

Bennie Thompson, committee chairperson, has already accused ex-President Donald Trump of an “attempted coup.”

The Congressional committee investigating the 6 January Capitol Hill Riots is going public – in a big way. Trump and his army of supporters have dismissed the committee’s hearings as a “political hoax.”

The first carefully choreographed hearings started on Thursday night. More are planned next week and later in the month. CBS, NBC and ABC are broadcasting the hearings live. Fox News will not. Republican spin doctors are appearing on the far-right cable news channel to attempt to rubbish the evidence collected from more than 1,000 interviews and 140,000 documents.

The objective of the committee is to 1- prove that Donald Trump was behind the 6 January riots and should be charged with a criminal offense. 2- That people should vote Democrat in the November mid-term congressional elections to protect American democracy and 3- to prepare the ground for a September report which would recommend changes to the electoral system.

They have an outside chance with the first objective; no chance with the second and the hope of progress on the third goal is rapidly receding.

The problem is that while the democrats have exploited the national platform for their attack on Trump and electoral changes, the Republicans have been beavering away at the grassroots. This is significant because it is at the local and state levels where electoral boundaries are drawn, laws are passed and voting is monitored.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, Republicans have selected Doug Mastriano as their candidate for the gubernatorial elections in November. Mastriano is a “Stop the Steal” candidate on steroids. A major part of his campaign is the assertion that the governor and legislature have the right to overturn a state’s popular vote.  Mastriano goes on to make it clear that had he been governor in 2020 he would have directed that Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral college  votes which the popular vote gave to Joe Biden would have been re-directed to Donald Trump.

Mastriano is the first nominated Republican gubernatorial candidate to take this anti-democratic stand. But he is unlikely to be the last. Republican primaries for November gubernatorial races will be held later this summer in the key swing states of Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin. Prominent Stop the Steal candidates are standing in all of them and their campaigns are well financed.

The gubernatorial races are not the only battlegrounds. Two other key electoral figures in most states are the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. The latter is responsible for prosecuting – or not – any breaches of electoral laws. The former is responsible for establishing the electoral framework, overseeing the voting and certifying the results. A raft of Trump supporters are standing for these two offices in state elections across the country.

The Trump machine has not stopped at the state level. In Wayne County, the most heavily populated county in the battleground state of Michigan, Republicans have managed to stack the four-person board of election with pro-Trump Stop the Steal canvassers”. Their job is to organise and monitor elections in Wayne County, and certify local results before passing them onto state officials. In 2020, two of Wayne County’s Republican canvassers refused to certify the vote in favour of Biden until they were eventually forced to do so by state authorities.

In addition, more than 20 Republican-dominated states have passed – or are discussing – tightening up election laws to restrict postal ballots, drop off boxes, voting hours and introduce ID cards and some cases even fingerprints.

The federal government is powerless to stop Republican attempts to undermine the electoral process. Management of elections has been constitutionally delegated to the states. The only way that the federal government can intervene is if a state’s electoral procedures blatantly contravene an existing constitutional law such as civil rights legislation.

 

* Tom Arms is foreign editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and the author of “The Encyclopedia of the Cold War” and the recently published “America Made in Britain” that has sold out in the US after six weeks but is still available in the UK.

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3 Comments

  • A major part of [Mastriano’s] campaign is the assertion that the governor and legislature have the right to overturn a state’s popular vote.

    The legislature attempting to overturn a popular vote!

    Such a thing could never happen in the UK.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Jun '22 - 6:45am

    Jeff Well it never did.

  • Charles Smith 15th Jun '22 - 9:22pm

    The findings presented at the U.S. House panel hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol could impact the Justice Department’s own investigation into the attack by providing new leads and putting pressure on prosecutors to speed up their probe, some legal experts suggest.
    The Justice Department “is going to pay close attention to what’s happening, who the witnesses are and what they’ve got to say,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, who served as one of the lead prosecutors at the Watergate Special Prosecution Office in the 1970s.
    https://worldabcnews.com/why-the-u-s-justice-department-will-keep-a-close-eye-on-the-jan-6-riot-hearings/

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