Regardless of all the drama and theatrics of the coming days, Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2021. His lead is insurmountable in enough states that the election is not in doubt. Bogus calls of voter fraud may appease his ignorant base, but they won’t change the outcome of the election.
Off the record, Republicans admit that they know the race is over but they are indulging Trump. As one Republican told the Washington Post, “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change.” They are treating Trump and his most ardent supporters like spoiled toddlers, giving them what they want until they have to face reality. The charade is bad for democracy and doing more damage to our institutions.
Since the election of Barack Obama, Republicans have been working to undermine faith in our elections. We started hearing about voter fraud on a wide scale because so many Republicans could not believe that the country would actually elect a Black man to serve as President of the United States. They diagnosed the problem as a flood of African American voters and began working to make voting more difficult for Black people.
States controlled by Republicans, led by North Carolina, began passing laws that would to make voting more difficult. In North Carolina, court documents show that Republican legislators examined data about African American voting behavior before passing laws that made voting harder. In particular, they passed laws eliminating Sunday voting, limiting the type IDs accepted, and reducing early voting schedules. Fortunately, the court threw the law out, but the sentiment behind it has been driving Republicans ever since.
The GOP has been screaming voter fraud for so long that even the mainstream of their party believes that it’s widespread despite any evidence to back it up. Now, they are pointing at voting by mail because Democrats used the method disproportionally this election cycle. Lindsey Graham declared that his Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate the impact of mail-in ballots when Congress reconvenes after the first of the year.
The cry from Republicans shifted from “count every vote” to “count every legal vote.” The difference refers the attempts by the GOP to make certain votes illegal. Georgia and other states purged voter rolls, disproportionally excluding African American voters. Florida required ex-felons to pay all of their fines and fees before they could get their right to vote restored when many people didn’t even know they owed the state money. Republicans have tried to craft laws that carefully exclude voters from the process who might disproportionally support Democrats.
The attack on the credibility of our elections seems endless and cynical. Elected officials who should know better are indulging the president at the expense of the integrity of our elections. That’s an unpatriotic threat to our democracy. Joe Biden will be president, but Republicans will continue to chip away at our institutions and faith in the system.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >