The left doesn’t hide its goal of running our elections in secret. After all, democracy today effectively means “rule by Democrats.” The first step in transforming a free republic into a dictatorship is to brand the party’s enemies a security threat to the regime. The objective is to establish a police state built on terror with the power to arrest its critics on the pretext of national security.
New legislation would do exactly that: empower Democrats to bar poll watchers, brand Trump voters domestic terrorists, and use the Justice Department to remake local law enforcement into tools of the security state.
Whether they succeed hinges on whether conservatives will stand against the left’s lies.
In late April, Senate Democrats introduced the Election Worker Protection Act to direct Justice Department funds for “the identification and investigation of threats to election workers”; expand the definition of “voter intimidation” laws to include “the counting of ballots, canvassing, and certification of elections”; and encourage the removal of “poll observers who are interfering with … the administration of an election.”
These measures are designed to bar conservatives from overseeing and, when necessary, challenging election results — a fundamental element of fair and impartial elections — using “security” to mask the country’s transition to despotism.
Operatives know that the bill isn’t likely to pass the Republican-controlled House. So they’ve turned to a tried-and-true tactic: pressure campaigns designed to fool and browbeat lawmakers into believing there’s a wave of popular support for a measure ginned up by Activism Inc.
Take the bill’s endorsees. There’s the American Federation of Teachers; the anti-super PAC End Citizens United (itself a super PAC); Issue One and Democracy 21, both fans of stifling free speech through campaign finance restrictions; Voices for Progress, a front for the multibillion-dollar “dark money” Tides Nexus; and the phony “faith” group NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, among others. Fifteen secretaries of state — all Democrats — also back the bill.
Anatomy of a Campaign
But the lead driver is the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections (CSSE), an astroturf coalition created to bully Republican lawmakers into rolling over for activists seeking to gut our elections and even imprison those who fight back.
CSSE presents itself as a grassroots, “cross-partisan” effort by concerned citizens, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. CSSE is run by the Brennan Center, a font for election “reforms” ranging from felon voting, to banning free speech as “disinformation,” to using taxpayer funds to register new Democrats.
The committee claims one right-leaning supporter among dozens: the sometimes-libertarian R Street Institute, a think tank often employed as a gun-for-hire for the left’s election “reforms.” The rest of CSSE’s backers are gilded denizens of the swamp.
That list is topped by ex-Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who oversaw the commonwealth’s last-minute election law changes under cover of Covid-19. Lori Augino formerly led the National Vote at Home Institute, the group responsible for making vote-by-mail an article of faith among Democrats. Edgardo Cortes, a Brennan Center adviser, previously ran Virginia’s elections under Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe and was an activist for the left-wing Advancement Project.
The Elections Group is a consulting firm run by ex-Chicago election chief Noah Praetz and Jennifer Morrell, who previously advised eBay founder and Democratic mega-donor Pierre Omidyar’s philanthropy, Democracy Fund.
The Protect Democracy Project was created in 2017 by ex-Obama staffers to litigate the Trump administration into oblivion. Its counsel and CSSE representative, Orion Danjuma, is a former ACLU racial justice attorney.
States United was formed to counter Trump’s election lawsuits months before the 2020 election took place, battling state audits and issuing the first legal brief explaining why Mike Pence had no authority to reject electors. It’s a front for the Voter Protection Program, which fights voter ID laws and lobbies for automatic and same-day registration policies.
The Election Officials Legal Defense Network (EOLDN) also spreads the lie that officials are under assault by angry Republicans. EOLDN is a front for the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), which used $70 million from Mark Zuckerberg in 2020 to boost Democratic get-out-the-vote and voter registration drives.
PEN America supports free speech in classrooms — so long as “free” means promoting critical race theory and hypersexualized gender ideology. The Alliance for Securing Democracy is a front for the German Marshall Fund, an international left-wing funder, and is led by Obama and Clinton cronies including John Podesta.
Despite its name, the Bipartisan Policy Center was seeded by the left-wing Hewlett Foundation and is almost entirely led by Democrats. Similarly, the Committee of Seventy is a supposed conservative watchdog group that’s actually run by Never Trumper Al Schmidt and promotes the left’s redistricting policies.
Hypocrisy on Display
None of these groups operate in the mainstream conservative movement, nor are they actually “nonpartisan.” Yet the left is masterful in lending its political groups unfounded credibility thanks to its control of the media and government.
In March, for instance, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a federal organ meant to help states administer their elections, hosted a glowing panel discussion on CSSE featuring “cross-partisan” panelists, each hailing from activist groups.
The EAC is overseen by two Democrats and two Republicans, one of whom (Ben Hovland) is a CSSE member. Hovland, a Democratic Trump appointee, blasted the president for challenging the 2020 results. He supported the $400 million “ZuckBucks” scandal that juiced voter turnout in Democrat-heavy districts with private funding from a partisan billionaire. (Twenty-four states have since banned the practice, and the House is weighing a similar measure). Hovland’s also appeared in policy events run by leftist advocacy organizations and in chummy interviews with the Center for American Progress.
Yet it was the EAC’s other Republican commissioner, Donald Palmer, who was recently castigated by the left for attending a confidential meeting of Republican secretaries of state on election policy. If the meeting had been run by Democrats, Palmer would be a hero, not a villain.
Policing the Police
CSSE produces advisory content for law enforcement to crack down on supposed threats to election workers. Its pocket guides for Georgia and Utah, for example, remind officers of state laws protecting administrators from harassment, yet the CSSE name and logo marked prominently on the documents remind one more of propaganda than helpful cheat sheets.
CSSE’s bizarre “training videos” are like the television show “24” for leftists. One video, darkly titled “What Election Violence Could Look Like,” sets up a scenario in which a bearded white man (the Proud Boy-esque Trump supporter) makes vaguely ominous comments to a female elections official (the victimized person of color), complete with finger guns in a slow-motion drive-by. Only a strong female cop, probably equipped with her standard-issue CSSE election law guide, can put an end to his reign of terror.
The whole scenario is absurd political theater meant to establish a smokescreen for passing unpopular and extreme measures that would further federalize our elections. And perhaps that’s the point. Democrats have long played upon imaginary fears to instill unity in the ranks before launching a major policy push.
It’s much easier to repress the opposition when they’re dehumanized. Will conservatives be next?