minority voters

A Partisan SCOTUS- Is It Here To Stay?

A Partisan SCOTUS- Is It Here To Stay?                                                                                                            

Robert A. Levine      

McConnell and Trump got what they wanted. A partisan Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority. McConnell prevailed by using unethical tactics, but he did not care. Though Trump and McConnell did not and still don’t see eye to eye on many issues, they both agreed that a conservative Supreme Court was a vital matter and any means that were necessary to reach their objective was worth it: by hook or by crook and they used both. No moral or ethical compass for either.

The unethical procedures began in the last year of Obama’s presidency when a seat opened up on the Supreme Court and the president nominated Merrick Garland, a centrist candidate who was well thought of in legal circles for the position. Disregarding precedent, McConnell decided that a nominee for the highest court should not be confirmed in the last year of a president’s term. This had never happened before, but McConnell proclaimed a new rule. He was hoping that a conservative Republican would next win the presidency and nominate a conservative candidate for the Court. His wishes were granted and Trump was elected president because of the arcane and undemocratic mechanism of the Electoral College, even though Trump lost the popular vote.

Trump’s initial nominee to the Court was conservative Neil Gorsuch who took the seat that should have gone to Merrick Garland. His second nominee was conservative Brett Kavanaugh who was accused of attempted rape by Professor Christine Blasey Ford when he was a high school student, and of sexual assaults on other occasions. He was also known in high school and at Yale as a heavy drinker. The FBI was not given permission by Trump and the Justice Department to look into all the complaints of sexual assault before Kavanaugh was confirmed by a Republican majority Senate. It was believed that Kavanaugh had likely lied to the Senate when questioned about the assaults.

The most hypocritical confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee shepherded in by McConnell came at the end of October 2020 when President Trump only had two and a half months left on his term. Amy Coney Barrett, another conservative was confirmed by the Republican controlled Senate, 52-48. She rose from being a little known law professor at Notre Dame to the Supreme Court in three years. Mitch McConnell simply changed his mind about nominating a member of the Court in the last year of a presidential term when that person happened to be a staunch conservative. And it wasn’t in the last year but the last two and a half months. Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal justice who was held in very high regard in legal circles.

Prior to Trump’s presidency in 2013, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the main part of the 1965 voting rights act by a 5-4 vote, allowing nine states, mainly in the South, to alter their voting laws without obtaining federal approval in advance. The Court said that society had changed and federal supervision was no longer necessary. Since then, there have been major efforts to suppress minority voting in a number of states, by making registration and voting much more difficult. In fact, the Justice Department recently sued the state of Texas for their restrictive laws, a case that is certain to go before the Supreme Court. This term, the Court will also rule on a restrictive law regarding abortion passed by the state of Mississippi. Given the questioning by the Court of both sides, it is likely that Mississippi’s law will be upheld and Roe v Wade may even be overturned.

It is sad for our democracy that presidents who lost the popular vote have handed the Supreme Court over to conservatives who were confirmed by Senators who in total had less popular votes in being elected than their Democratic opponents. Is this the way democracy works? Unfortunately, it is. The only way this partisan Court can be changed is by Democrats maintaining control of the Senate and voting to expand the number of justices on the Court. Limiting the terms of justices so there is more frequent turnover would also be a sensible idea.     

www.robertlevinebooks.com                 Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Party Over Country

Party Over Country                                                                                                                                                                                                     Robert A. Levine

Why does it seem impossible for politicians to understand that doing what is best for the country is more important than doing what is best for one’s political party? Truly patriotic Americans must know that sometimes one has to sacrifice one’s personal ambitions and aiding one’s political party if the necessary actions will injure America and its democratic system. While members of both political parties don’t seem to accept the notion of country over party in all instances, the Republican Party is overwhelmingly self-interested and unwilling to do what is best for the nation, using various excuses and placing the blame on the Democrats. Their use of misinformation and false information is fired off in a constant barrage to assuage their leader Donald Trump and to confuse and/or capture the American public.

Republican leaders are not ignorant and know that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by a wide margin. Yet virtually all Republicans insist that the election was stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats, and that Donald Trump should really be president. At all the Trump rallies he emphasizes that the election was stolen and that Biden’s position is rightfully his. He uses these lies to fund raise and scam money from uninformed supporters who believe what Trump tells them. His rallying cry of “Stop the Steal” is repeated endlessly by his base and seen in bumper stickers, flags, advertisements and so forth. The fact that Republican leaders support Trump’s false claims provide them with some credibility although they are blatant falsehoods.

Trump’s personality of malignant narcissism may make him detached from reality to the point where he may believe his own lies about the election. But the remaining leadership of the Republican Party know these are lies and that Biden is the rightful president. Yet the vast majority of Republicans are willing to back Trump and his lies. They are afraid of incurring his wrath and being primaried by his supporters. Aside from Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, Republicans and their leaders are totally lacking in courage.

They must also know what their stances are doing to American democracy. A large percentage of American citizens have no faith in our electoral system and democracy itself, believing that elections can be stolen. There is also no faith in our political institutions doing the right thing for the nation, including Congress, the Courts and the presidency. This is all because Republicans are reinforcing what they feel is best for their party instead of what is best for the country. How can Americans turn this around? How can we restore faith in our government institutions and in democracy itself when it seems that the Republicans just do not care and keep propagating Trump’s lies?

A third party of moderate Republicans willing to stand by the truth together with centrist Democrats may be able to restore faith in democracy to the electorate. However, given the tribalism and the strong attachment of the far right and far left to their concepts of the truth, forming a centrist third party with any chance of winning is remote. Perhaps when the youth of America flood the voting booths, an opportunity for change will arise.                                                      www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                                                         Buy The Uninformed Voteron on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Voter Suppression- Who Wins

Voter Suppression- Who Wins

            Robert A. Levine

If the Republicans cannot win fairly, they will do anything to suppress groups of voters who tend to support the Democrats. This is short term thinking for down the road, the minority groups whose votes they are trying to eliminate will be in the majority and will vote regularly for the Democrats. At the moment, many minority voters are mixing their votes and some are backing Republicans. This is not the time to alienate minorities and drive them to the Democratic Party which voter suppression will do.

Currently, in state legislatures across the land that are controlled by Republicans, hundreds of laws are being introduced to suppress voting by minority groups that provide support for Democrats more than Republicans. But this support of Democrats was starting to change in the 2020 elections where Latino men and women and Black men gave significant percentages of their votes to Republicans. Suppressing the votes of these groups by making it increasingly difficult for them to vote is not going to endear the GOP in the minds of these voters and in the long run will probably dissuade Democratic voters from switching.

In addition to blatant gerrymandering expected after the census results are released, Republican state legislatures are shortening the time devoted to early voting, eliminating absentee and mail-in voting without a good excuse and proof of a problem, demanding accurate IDs when voting in person and limiting what can be used, cutting down on the boxes where absentee votes can be dropped off, comparing signatures very carefully on IDs versus forms that allowing voting, shortening the hours on voting day, cutting down on the number of places to vote, situating voting stations in white neighborhoods that are difficult for minorities to reach, preventing people from collecting the ballots of older or disabled individuals (ballot harvesting) because it is difficult for these voters to hand in their ballots. Any measures that will cut down on minority voting will be considered by GOP controlled legislatures.

While it is likely these moves may decrease minority voting temporarily, there are groups that have formed that will transport these voters to the places where they can vote. They are also being helped to fill out the necessary forms. Voters have long memories and as minorities attain majority status, they will remember how the Republicans used underhanded methods to lessen the importance of their votes or made it difficult for them to vote at all. In the long run, the GOP will pay for their actions.

www.robertlevinebooks.com

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble