I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong at The New York Times because the paper keeps telling the truth about some of my favorite topics.
First, it was the admission that Ron DeSantis is an exceptionally skilled public executive. Now the Times is breaking the emergency glass to alert its audience that local Republican officials are creating election systems to — wait for it — document potentially invalid votes!
They clearly don’t mean to excite avid readers like me, but we’ll take it. The Times website on Wednesday posted a nearly 30-minute-long video blowing the lid off of, as the paper called it, “the completely legal GOP plot to destroy American democracy.”
Having eagerly waited for someone of authority to explain in detail just how Republicans might end everything by stealing future elections, I was more than ready to watch something that might truly demonstrate the cynical means by which this could happen.
What reporter Johnny Harris ultimately came up with is that after the 2020 election, newly engaged Republicans at the micro-level started running for local offices that had long since been held by the laziest of politicians, or otherwise Democrats who knew just how important those positions really are: local secretaries of state, election board seats, precinct captains, and so on.
Those are the offices that control how votes are accepted, tallied, and organized. Mind you, all of the positions require the holders to be elected by the public. What’s that word again for “free and fair elections”? I can’t think of it right now, but Harris said it amounted to a “re-rigging” of the process.
Obviously, then, what’s so terrifying for people like Harris — he literally says in the video over and over again how “scared” this makes him — is that there is a strong new movement of formerly apathetic citizens now interested in ensuring that someone is closely eyeing the votes.
In the video, Harris cautions how they’re all being “trained” to look for ballots that are possibly invalid, which includes a “hotline” to Republican lawyers who can then tell the officials how to proceed if any wrongful votes have been cast. This, Harris says, means there will ultimately be a “paper trail.”
No, he did not recite his lines in a dark room with a flashlight under his chin.
But if you aren’t already seized with crippling anxiety about what this means for the future of America, Harris dreamed up a bunch of scenarios wherein these new officeholders indiscriminately target ballots as suspect and gum up the next election. “So you can imagine,” he says, “they’re now seeing fraud everywhere they look. And they’re reporting it, swearing that they saw irregularities in the election.”
Well, I guess anything’s possible. After the 2018 Democrat gubernatorial nominee in Florida was found passed out, face-down in his own vomit while visiting a male escort, there’s no scenario in politics that will surprise me. But assuming Harris’s fantasy were to pan out, legitimately or not, the process doesn’t stop there. Donald Trump doesn’t ascend to a throne just because some of his sympathizers on the state level raise a hand. The disputes would invariably be resolved on the left’s preferred playing field: the courts.
And recall how that worked out in Republicans’ favor last time. Not very well. Though, as Harris notes, last time the GOP didn’t have the “paper trail.” They didn’t have what Harris describes as a “body of evidence” that would substantiate their claims. Next time, they very well might.
Perhaps that is cause for worry among a few people. At least Harris and the Times admit that so far the process of destroying our democracy has been legal and, more importantly, democratic.