Why is the GOP Against The For the People Act?

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It’s far past time we start to hold the GOP accountable, especially as it pertains to The For the People Act, already passed as H.R. 1in the House, and S. 1, its mostly similar companion legislation pending in the Senate. It’s a simple question that needs to be asked: Why on earth are you against this piece of legislation?

Because once you take a look at it, you can only wonder what it is that keeps our GOP friends in Congress from supporting the bill. Because, folks, this bill will transform our politics for generations to come if it were to become law. And for the better.

The opportunity to truly remake our democracy in the 21st century is within our grasp. Failure to capitalize is not an option. Yes, we can talk about Senator Joe Manchin, if you’d like, because who in the hell knows where he stands on the issue? He seemingly changes his views daily. Unfortunately, his outsized influence on the whole process is the wild card. A 50/50 Senate split, where he ultimately comes down on the bill, may ultimately decide its fate.

However, the real problem here is not Joe Manchin. It’s the continued obstructionist ways of Senator Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP who keep inhibiting anything of consequence from getting done. Over and over, the answer is mostly an emphatic no – with the usual explanation being that they must stop the radical socialist Biden agenda.

Forgive our Republican friends for their hyperbole. The truth is, Biden’s agenda targets America’s working-class and lower-end wage earners. They can call it what they want if it makes them happy. Quite frankly, anything that helps this particular segment of society should be welcomed by the GOP. Unfortunately, they’d rather scapegoat and call people names.

But the For the People Act cuts right to the heart of our democracy. It’s also something the GOP ought to support. Once again, though, they have no interest. The bottom line is this: Are we going to make it easier for people to vote and make their voices heard? Or do we let the GOP take a sledgehammer to voting rights and send us back to the days before landmark Voting and Civil Rights legislation in the 60s?

As the Brennan Center points out in their exhaustive look at the bill, our democracy urgently needs repair. And The For the People Act is an honest attempt to do just that by installing guardrails and rules of the road that will prevent the GOP from taking us back to an era they seem to hold so dear to their hearts; the one where white people called the shots, especially those with wealth and influence.

And it’s why this particular legislation is giving them all fits. It goes right to what’s been so wrong with our government and our politics for decades now. The bigwigs like things the way they are. They want to give as much as they want, to who they want and don’t want you or me to know about it.

And it’s precisely why H.R 1 and S. 1 are so important. Not only does the bill provide a backstop to all the voter suppression bills recently introduced in statehouses throughout the country, but it also puts harsher transparency rules in place that people like Charles Koch and the like despise. Could we be on to something here?

In a nutshell, the bill would make it easier to register to vote and cast a ballot. It would also outlaw partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, overhaul our campaign finance laws, combat corruption, and make federal campaign spending more transparent.

Sounds pretty good, right? Surely our friends on one side of the aisle couldn’t be against any of these proposals. Unfortunately, yes, they are, and all you need to do is look at some of the bogus talking points to get a feel of where they stand.

“This bill is nothing short of a federal takeover of elections.” “The bill is a naked partisan power grab by Democrats.” “It will allow non-citizens and people under 18 to vote.” “It will open the door to voter fraud.” “It will funnel taxpayer money to politicians and foment political extremism.”

And on and on it goes. The fact is that none of those talking points are valid. State and local election officials will still conduct the elections, just with more rules in place to ensure they’re fairer and more transparent. People under 18 will not be able to vote, but they will be able to pre-register.

Nothing in this bill allows non-citizens to vote. Voter fraud is essentially non-existent and has been for decades. Finally, all the bill does is create a voluntary small-donor matching system for federal elections, which would give candidates a way to fundraise without relying on mega-wealthy donors. Speculating that this would somehow encourage a sort of ideological extremist empowerment is ridiculous.

But perhaps the one thing that gnaws at the GOP the most as it pertains to this bill is that it will require more transparency in campaign spending. In other words, The For the People Act would permanently rid our election system of dark money, closing loopholes that allow political groups to spend without limits and without disclosing their donors. In addition, it would also put a halt to foreign governments and their agents trying to influence the outcomes of our elections.

And by the way, the dark money spending? That would include donors on the left side of the political aisle as well. Again, you’d think Republicans would be on board with this.

Sadly, they are not.

Thus, it brings me back to my original statement about holding the GOP accountable. Instead of letting Mitch McConnell spew his talking points about how the bill is nothing but a power grab and federal takeover of elections, he must be pressed over and over on why this is so.

Is he against more people voting? Why should we make it harder for people to vote? Why are you ok with undisclosed donors flooding the system with dark money? Why should a handful of wealthy donors have such an outsized influence on our democracy? Since 2000 we’ve had roughly a handful of cases of actual voter fraud. Why do you keep telling voters this is a widespread problem when it most certainly is not?

We can not continue to let them get away with obstructing honest attempts to make our democracy work better for the American people –not just the one percent crowd or the well-connected. All of us deserve a better say in how we do things and shouldn’t have to wait hours in long lines on election day to make our voices heard.

They do not want us to vote. It’s that simple. At least not in overwhelming numbers. We all know by now that when more people vote, especially in presidential years, Republicans don’t win. And they’ve known this for years. As the co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, Paul Weyrich, stated proudly in 1980, “I don’t want everybody to vote … Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Indeed. And now, especially after we elected the first African-American president in 2008, the current GOP is no longer hiding its attempts to keep people of color and others from voting. That was their wake-up call, unfortunately. They know the demographics do not favor them going forward. They will not moderate their policy positions, so cheating, suppressing the vote, and keeping the status quo is their answer.

Because in the end, it’s all about power. The GOP will do whatever they can to keep it – the United States Constitution be damned. With a far-right Supreme Court holding a 6-3 advantage, they’ll push everything to the limit and cross their fingers those justices will do their bidding. There’s no reason to think they won’t.

The For the People Act is a phenomenal piece of legislation that deserves to become the law of the land. Instead of spreading lies and fighting it every step of the way, the GOP needs to explain its hard-line opposition to the American people. Instead of bogus talking points, why don’t you tell us why you’re against it?

We have a real chance at transforming our democracy with this bill. American citizens of all stripes would benefit. And perhaps that’s the gist of it all with this political party. They like it better when only a few are calling the shots. That perfect union we seek, for them, means we stay habitually imperfect.

Pass the damn bill — by any means necessary.

10 comments

  1. It is a curious factor within politics that folk making their livings by being attuned to moods and tides can be so narrow of vision and historical perceptions.
    What seems to be slipping from the grasp of the Republicans is the Size and Folk Culture of The USA. In short if folk don’t like the way the government is treating them and can’t see themselves changing it, they will move away in one form or another.
    Now a nation which covers five time zones, 300,000,000+ folk and with that kind of view on independence is a fearfully difficult thing to manage without the at least the tacit consent of the population, as opposed to the voting population.
    Never mind the formats beloved of fiction writers of all sorts and the predictions of some. History indicates The Republican Party and its followers will never actually have control over the entire USA as their fiefdom. Towns and complicit regions maybe; otherwise if they push too hard, they will be left with fragments either of what was The Nation, or their Party.
    Patriots, they are not.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    For the People Act – get it done!! … “Are we going to make it easier for people to vote and make their voices heard? Or do we let the GOP take a sledgehammer to voting rights and send us back to the days before landmark Voting and Civil Rights legislation in the 60s?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    There are two major issues happening in Congress that the Republicans are hellbent and determined to block. One is the formation of a January 6th commission to attempt to identify all those who contributed in one way or another to the attempted coup at the Capitol on that day. The other is the For The People Act, a bill currently being held up in the Senate that would protect our right to vote, to have a say in our government. I’ll let Jeff tell you more about that one … thanks, Jeff!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jeff, it is an age old problem that dates back to post Civil War times, but in particular during the Jim Crow era. If you do not have the majority, then suppress the votes by any means. When African-Americans won majority City Council seats in Wilmington, NC in the late 1890s, there was a white coup to seize power instigated by leading newspapers and citizens. This is why Jim Crow existed and why the Voters Rights Act was so important in 1965.

    In the late 1990s, per a Republican political strategist named Steve Schmidt, the Koch Brothers sanctioned a forecast of the demographics facing the Republican Party and did not like what they saw. So, they set in motion a plan to woo voters, but also suppress voters they did not think would be favorable. So, in response to Obama winning, the mid-terms of 2010 was seized as an opportunity and Republicans won the two houses in Congress and other states chambers. This is when the ALEC cookie cutter legislation occurred to suppress votes under Voter ID law and be more scientific with gerrymandering. Then along came Trump and because his fragile ego could handle losing, he planned, staged and cried election fraud to gain more scrutiny. As his niece Mary said, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid saying he lost, which he did.

    So, to your question, why are they against this bill? Because they must suppress votes to win. They must erase any scrutiny of Trump’s election fraud deceit and his role in the insurrection on the Capitol. Why? Because he is guilty as charged. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, suppressing the vote, Keith, is much more advantageous than actually moderating their policies. Hell, frankly, what kind of policies do they have anymore, other than cutting taxes? It’s a tragedy my friend. My other question, though, is, what are the Dems going to do to get stuff done? The filibuster, in my view, must be either reformed, or done away with in some form. Because Joe Manchin, Krysten Synema, and the like, will not be able to convince them otherwise. The sooner Dems realize this, the better off we’ll all be.

      Like

      1. Jeff, what scares me about the filibuster being done away with is the more extreme nature in the GOP if they retook the Senate. I hated it when they ditched it for judges, as we ended up with more extreme people on SCOTUS. I want good jurisprudence, regardless of party. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, perhaps reforming it to where it’s a “Jimmy Stewart” type filibuster. Maybe that’s the answer. I don’t know, there’s arguments pro and con. What we have now, though, certainly isn’t working.

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