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On voter suppression, Trump says the quiet part out loud (again)

The United States, which likes to see itself as the shining example of democracy that the rest of the world follows, has (and has long had) a disgracefully low level of voter participation compared to other democracies.

One party, the Democratic Party, is always trying to do things to raise turnout. The Republicans, not so much. In a recent interview on “Fox & Friends,” President Trump let slip the reason for this. Higher turnout is good for Democrats. Bad for Republicans.

And that explains why proposals to encourage higher turnout are opposed by Republicans in general and Trump in particular. 

Responding to a series of proposals, linked to the coronavirus situation, to make it easier for Americans to vote. Early, absentee or by mail Trump said:

“The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said. “They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

This seems to be another example of Trump saying the quiet part out loud again. This link, from Minnesota native Aaron Blake, now of the Washington Post, lays it out. Trump understands that making it easier to vote is bad for Republicans. But, unlike most Republicans who hide behind various arguments that things that make it easier to vote will lead to voter fraud, Trump adorably admits the open secret: Republicans rely on lower turnout to win. Making it easier to vote, which should, in some fantasy world where democracy is more important than partisan advantage be a good thing, is bad for Republicans

Republicans rely on voter suppression tactics. And they’re very good at them. They hide behind various excuses, but you don’t really have to be paranoid to notice that they lead the charge against anything that makes voting easier.

This link will get you a list of the rankings of countries by the percentage of the voting-eligible population who vote. Here are the top five:

Belgium 87.21

Sweden: 82.61 

Denmark: 80:34

Australia: 78.96

South Korea: 77.92

The United States checks in at 55.70 of the population who voted in the 2016 presidential election. 

Midterm participation is always much lower, usually something around 40 percent. But there was a big surge in 2018 when it rocketed up to 49.3 percent, the highest midterm turnout in more than a century. (This led to big gains for Democrats, who took over the U.S. House.)

That backs up President Trump’s brilliant analysis quoted above. 

You’ll hear various excuses, usually more diplomatic than Trump’s candid admission, but you won’t find many ideas for making it easier for people to vote that Democrats don’t favor and Republicans don’t oppose.

Of course, we should have a vigorous campaign in 2020, debate the records and the issue positions of the candidates, and may the best facts and arguments win those debates. But, notwithstanding Trump’s unfortunate admission, we aren’t much of a democracy if we allow voter suppression tactics to determine the outcome.

Comments (90)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/31/2020 - 07:04 pm.

    Maybe voters in other countries show up in greater numbers because they don’t just have a “choice” between two corporatist candidates.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/01/2020 - 11:16 am.

      If that were true, third party candidates would be far more successful than they’ve been.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 04/06/2020 - 08:51 am.

      This is true. It’s the system, not the people. All of the countries Eric listed with high voter turnout use a parliamentary system. Belgium, for example, had 12 candidates to choose from.

      One counter example is Malta which also has a two-party system, but they have proportional voting instead of EC. Malta had turnout rates over 90% in each of their last three elections, the highest among democratic nations.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/31/2020 - 08:46 pm.

    I think the word you are looking for is “Machiavellian”, what ever it takes! No values, ethics, laws, morals, Justice, just win, lie cheat steal what ever it tales, the hell with everyone and everything else. My apology, “Machiavellian” is a big word for some folks, just to confuse them.

  3. Submitted by Daniel Burbank on 03/31/2020 - 08:50 pm.

    So does “vote by mail” serve to suppress or encourage voter turnout? I’m guessing it will encourage voter turnout if the pandemic persists into the fall. If that is the case, it would seem likely that states dominated by Republicans will not have “vote by mail”, and those dominated by Democrats will.

    • Submitted by Brian Mann on 04/01/2020 - 11:34 am.

      I’ve heard a number of younger voters, who’ve grown up with electronics, won’t vote with postal mail. Sad.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/04/2020 - 01:03 pm.

      It works in Oregon–80.3% turnout in 2016, 67.8% for the 2018 midterms.

      And any young person who refuses to vote by postal mail (as opposed to the eminently hackable electronic method) is probably too apathetic, too into the “whatever” mindset, to vote by any method.

  4. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/31/2020 - 09:56 pm.

    A friend who works in campus advertising sales was meeting with student GOP group leaders for an on campus ad campaign during the last election.

    As they discussed strategy one of the GOP leaders excitedly said:

    “And we have our voter suppression plans made!”

    Can never start to early…

  5. Submitted by patricia landers on 04/01/2020 - 08:10 am.

    I am confused. This is clearly an opinion piece, but appears to be presented as “journalism” or fact. As a new reader to this publication, how are the opinion pieces identified? The sarcastic tone flows through the “article”. Perhaps you should have questioned why the Democrats tied such voting measures to must pass legislation. Because they knew these measures would not pass if presented on their own.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/01/2020 - 09:46 am.

      “would not pass if presented on their own”

      Well, that’s for sure! The Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell would see to that.

      And the reason is spelled out in the piece: that a fundamental plank of the Repub party involves doing everything it can to reduce the size of the registered electorate, because it has consistently operated for more than 50 years under the theory that greater turnout is disastrous for Repub candidates.

      While not many Repubs actually blurt out their obvious strategy (although a few, such as Trump, do), it is an open “secret” to anyone with a brain.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/01/2020 - 11:54 am.

      On attaching this to the must-pass legislation (which was full of completely unnecessary items Republicans wanted) given the reason for the legislation (the pandemic) expanding voting is very germane.

      But even if it wasn’t, removing the barriers to voting is very important on its own. Republicans are so corrupt and dishonest that they are willing to disenfranchise people to win elections.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/03/2020 - 08:55 pm.

        There are no barriers to voting. Any citizen 18 or older can vote if they want. The claims that Republicans want to make it harder for people to vote is absurd. The only thing they want is voter ID (in which you can get a FREE ID anytime you want without any hassle) because it would help ensure the integrity of the vote. Why do people not want to have to show ID to vote which is far more important than buying booze, cigarettes, going to the bar etc .. all of which require you to show valid ID… is beyond me. 3rd world nations use a dye that doesn’t wash off for a few days … we can’t even get people to agree to go get a free ID card to vote. Maybe we should go to the dye model as well… as long as you can prove you’re an eligible voter.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/04/2020 - 01:27 pm.

          Not THESE talking points again!

          There is no such thing as a free ID in Minnesota. I don’t know where you got your driver’s license, but I had to pay a fee for mine, and there’s a similar fee for a state ID card.

          And there is no requirement to present an ID to buy alcohol or tobacco. The law says only that a buyer has to be over a certain age. If you look carefully, you will see that different retailers have different standards. I’m obviously over 21, so I haven’t been carded for over 30 years when buying wine or beer. I don’t use tobacco products, but I assume that the same is true for them.

          Having lived with vote-by-mail in Oregon, I can speak to the tampering issue.

          Every registered voter receives a ballot kit and a voter’s pamphlet with descriptions and statements by the candidates and the texts and legal explanations of any ballot measures. The pamphlets are localized for county and city elections, too. They are financed in that any group or individual can pay to have a statement in support of or in opposition to any candidate or ballot measure. Voters can choose to believe the statements or not.

          You mark your ballot and place it in an envelope. You then place that envelope inside a second envelope and sign your name over the flap.

          At the county courthouse, one team removes the inner envelopes from the outer “privacy envelopes,” checks your name on the rolls, and passes them along to a second team, which then counts the votes without any knowledge of who voted which way.

          Yes, Oregon is a blue state overall, but its Republican and Libertarian-leaning areas consistently show Republican majorities in the final figures, and its one Republican House member is from the deep red eastern part of the state.

          Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1986, but that’s because their candidates are so lodged in the far right wing of the party that they scare even the average Republican. Former well-known Republicans like Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall, Vic Atiyeh, and Dave Frohnmeyer, would be considered “Marxist radicals” by the current Republican leadership there.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/04/2020 - 08:04 pm.

            MN doesn’t have Voter ID laws in place, yet. States that do made a provision that the ID card is free to any state resident that wants one. Here’s Texas’:
            One form of identification that can be used for voting purposes is an Election Identification Certificate (EIC). You may apply for an EIC at no charge. However, if you already have any of the following forms of ID, you are not eligible for an EIC:

            Texas driver license—unexpired
            Texas personal identification card—unexpired
            Concealed Handgun License (CHL) or License to Carry (LTC)—unexpired
            U.S. passport book or card—unexpired
            U.S. Military identification with photo— unexpired
            U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo

            Go to any bar or liquor store, you WILL get card almost every time.. even if you’re much older than 21 because they don’t take any chances. The point is YOU MUST provide ID on demand if you want to buy booze, cigarettes etc etc.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/06/2020 - 08:20 am.

              We can aspire to be better than Texas, as we already are. Minnesotans have rejected GOP voter disenfranchisement again and again.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/06/2020 - 08:51 am.

              Is buying booze or smokes a part of the rights of a citizen in a representative democracy?

            • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/07/2020 - 02:33 pm.

              The law does not say that a customer has to provide an I.D., only that the vendor must not sell to anyone underage.

              My gray hair tells the vendor that I am over 21. I think I was 32 the last time I was carded. If you look at the signs in stores, you will see that they have different policies. Some card everyone; some card only young-looking customers. The state law does not specify HOW a vendor should ascertain the customer’s age.

              I don’t know how old you are or which stores you frequent, so I have no idea why you are being carded every time.

        • Submitted by Kerry Brown on 04/15/2020 - 07:23 pm.

          Responding to a series of proposals, linked to the coronavirus situation, to make it easier for Americans to vote early, absentee or by mail, Trump recently said:

          “The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said. “They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

          Trump’s candid admission that more voter turnout hurts Republican candidates – because the majority of poor and working class minorities vote Democratic.

          It’s no secret that Republicans do everything they can to suppress the vote and that Democrats encourage voting.

          Voter suppression has been going on since the Reconstruction. Don’t be disingenuous.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/01/2020 - 02:45 pm.

      This is an opinion column (commentary), not a pure news venue.
      Both are valid journalistic functions.

    • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 04/02/2020 - 09:15 am.

      Patricia,

      Eric is a regular columnist for MinnPost. Columnist express opinions. Good ones like Eric base their opinion on fact and draw reasonable inferences and conclusions. They also pose questions, frequently challenging ones. They draw together the threads that reporters provide to make a coherent picture.

  6. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/01/2020 - 08:44 am.

    “One party, the Democratic Party, is always trying to do things to raise turnout.”

    Which is true for the general election, after the DNC and media choose their favorite.

    The opposite seems to be true doring the primaries. Or at least when a guy like Bernie looks like he might win. Then reports out of various voting sites sound like dems complaining about Republicans….

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/01/2020 - 09:07 am.

      1 would add that just half of Americans vote because neither party has done much of anything for that half of the people, except maybe making life harder for them. Why would they vote for people who effectively conspire against them in favor of corporations, banks, billionaires and the top 20%?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/01/2020 - 11:35 am.

      Actually, you have got it backwards. The DNC pushed to eliminate undemocratic, voter suppressing caucuses. Bernie fought to keep them, because he does well in them. If you look at the states he won with caucuses in 2016 and lost in 2020 primaries (i.e. Minnesota and Washington) it seems that his success is very much dependent on systematic voter disenfranchisement.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/02/2020 - 08:32 am.

        https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/massive-voter-suppression-in-texas-primary-likened-to-poll-tax/

        Reports in Texas, Michigan and California of voter suppression in the primary. But like DNC shenanigans in 2016, there is nothing to see here for moderate dems. To say nothing of the mess of insider incompetence and disconnect in Iowa.

        As for Bernie fighting to keep the caucus in Mn, there was no fight. It was a foregone conclusion pretty much immediately after the caucus in 2016. You are comparing apples and oranges in the elections, too. Bernie was the change candidate in 2016, but the DNC and media succeeded in shutting him out. In 2020, he’s just a 78 year old, old school FDR Liberal. Besides, I know a few repubs who voted for Biden and Klobuchar in mn, so in the end moderates are getting what they want in their possible return to obamanomics – skip the change and triangulate republicanism. Reagan is laughing.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/02/2020 - 10:12 am.

          “moderates are getting what they want in their possible return to obamanomics”

          Many will thank you for your endorsement of Trumponomics.

          While not a binary choice, I guarantee a binary result: one or the other.

          William, you truly confound me: I see a lot of agreement on the “ends” of our political journey, not so much on the “means”.

          I guess it is due to a basic outlook on life that I have followed for my 6+ decades:

          “Life is a series of incremental improvements and then you die”

          I’m a shop guy, always projects going on. I can trace it to being a 11 year old kid in a corner of the garage with a Sears saber saw, a 3/8″ electric drill and an old hand me down bench and a few hand tools. Today you would no doubt call me a self indulgent, one percenter, capitalistic swine in my now 1500 sq. ft., well equipped, man cave work shop. I did not go from A to B in one big leap: there were countless iterations, small steps forward and backward. I would equate Trump to the cheap drum sander I bought a few years back: thought it might be a good addition; but really only a time wasting, incapable of almost anything disaster. I’ve moved on from the drum sander just as we will soon move on from Trump.

          Looking forward to incremental improvement from his successor.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/02/2020 - 05:39 pm.

            EB, you touch my heart! We were not born all grown up, nor did we have a full set of tools. Some folks call it picking up baggage on life’s journey, others call it enhancing life’s journey. What is that saying “life either polishes you up or grinds you down”! What have you learned and understood “grass hopper”, and how will you use in your future endeavors?

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/03/2020 - 08:53 am.

            “Today you would no doubt call me a self indulgent, one percenter, capitalistic swine in my now 1500 sq. ft., well equipped, man cave work shop.”

            I have no idea why you would think I would say or think such a thing. I would say instead that you are a skilled/master carpenter/builder of much value to society, especially in rebuilding after crisis.

            The difference in our outlook on society seems to be, your trajectory has been incremental to the point that you now consider yourself part of the 1%. I am writing from the perspective of the vast majority who have seen a decline in their economic prospects for four decades. At the same time, the ecological situation grows ever more dire.

            So to me this incremental progress looks instead like ecocide and neo-feudalism, which is not progress at all, but more like civilizational collapse in real time.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/02/2020 - 11:19 am.

          The long voting lines are a huge problem that needs to be fixed. But the polling showed that late-deciders and in-person voters broke for Biden even more even more strongly than the overall results. These things weren’t Sanders’s doing, but once again Sanders is the one benefitting from voter suppression.

          You are right that the 2016 Minnesota caucus results were so bogus that change was inevitable. The DNC wanted to eliminate caucuses everywhere, but Sanders and his allies pushed back to keep caucuses, again because voter suppression helps him. Iowa was a mess, but Sanders has no right to complain because his desire to systematically prevent large numbers of people from voting helped keep the Iowa caucus in place.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/03/2020 - 09:09 am.

            https://www.nationofchange.org/2020/03/13/is-the-dnc-cheating-again/

            I haven’t even yet mentioned the discrepancy between exit polls and results in several key states.

            It is ever insinuated in these pages that we Bernie fans are responsible for Trump. But a lot of Bernie fans will point out, many a moderate Dem has greater antipathy for Bernie than Trump, and on balance would prefer a second term for Trump to a first term for Bernie. Because, at least prior to covid 19, the economic situation for moderates was as good under Trump as it was under Obama, but it is percieved that their investments would be at risk with Bernie.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/03/2020 - 10:53 am.

              I have seem the exit poll discrepancies bit elsewhere and it really crystalizes the ignorance and detachment from reality of Sanders supporters. Sanders got crushed, and the actual methodologically-controlled pre-election polling showed him getting crushed. The idea that exit polling shows a widespread, multi-state conspiracy to undermine Sanders is beyond laughable. Its pure buffoonery.

              I do blame Sanders for helping to elect Trump. He ran a very dishonest campaign and did so long after it was clear he lost. I still would have voted for him without question both in 2016 and 2020 if he had been the nominee. And the seeming lack of antipathy from Republicans toward Sanders is because they see him as easier for Trump to beat. If he was the nominee, we’d get a nonstop barrage of things like Deadbeat Dad Bernie’s kid growing up on welfare because Bernie never paid child support.

              • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/04/2020 - 08:30 am.

                Again, offer something/anything to give economic hope to the 80% of society that has seen their prospects decline for 40 years, and dems win no problem. Treating Bernie and his movement like a bunch of no-account buffoons, and dems continue to lose.

      • Submitted by Tom Crain on 04/06/2020 - 09:43 am.

        Pat, you seem to be spreading misinformation here when you state “The DNC pushed to eliminate undemocratic, voter suppressing caucuses. Bernie fought to keep them”. If you can provide a link to support this I will stand corrected.

        The truth is each state, not the DNC or RNC, decide on voting type of caucus or primary. Thanks to the pro-Sanders camp, last year the DNC made the biggest reforms to its presidential nomination process in decades, namely: 1) the subordination of the anti-democratic “Super Delegates” and 2) requiring states that choose to hold caucuses make absentee ballots available, rather than requiring a physical presence.

        “Today’s decision by the DNC is an important step forward in making the Democratic Party more open, democratic and responsive to the input of ordinary Americans,” Sanders said in a statement after the DNC vote.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/06/2020 - 06:58 pm.

          Nope. I’m just out to rebut all the misinformation that Sanders and his poisonous followers constantly spew. Its hard work. It took me some time to find an article not behind a paywall (because it was a few years ago) but here you go:

          “According to a person with direct knowledge with the process which led to the rule changes, Iowa’s “Frankenstein caucus” was the result of accommodations for Sanders supporters who wanted to maintain Iowa’s and Nevada’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, rather than end the practice of holding caucuses altogether, because caucuses were thought to favor Sanders. The use of the app was necessitated by rules put in place to make the caucuses more like primaries by releasing more data, including first-round preference totals.

          * * *

          Penebaker, who noted that he was among those who favored the switch to primaries during the debates over the “unity commission” recommendations, said the Sanders camp’s desire to keep the caucuses in place was the result of them “looking out for [their] candidate’s interests, rather than the interests of actual voters,” and added that the vitriol being directed by Sanders supporters at DNC Chair Tom Perez, Buttigieg, and others is unhelpful.”

          https://www.google.com.mx/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/voices/bernie-sanders-iowa-caucus-winner-trump-democrats-a9317761.html%3famp

          The DNC wanted to eliminate caucuses altogether (you are right that is up to the state parties themselves, but the DNC has leverage – i.e. stripping delegates) but the Sanders people wanted to keep them because they benefitted Sanders. Again, the DNC wanted everyone to vote, and Sanders wanted systematic voter disenfranchisement because it benefits him.

          Then, when the Iowa caucus was a disaster – largely because of half-measure reforms Sanders wanted – he had the gall to rip the DNC. The man truly has no integrity. Zero. None. I look forward to the day this horrible, dishonest, selfish man is no longer relevant.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/07/2020 - 08:52 am.

            Poisonous followers? That kind of rhetoric should surely unite the party!

            Your article comes from a UK where Jeremy Corbyn was treated even more viciously than Bernie has been….but equally disingenuously.

            It truly is an “anything goes and nothing matters” disinformation world, when Bernie is blamed for the DNC contracting with veterans of the Hillary and Obama campaigns, with help from the Buttigieg campaign, to build a reporting app for Iowa that didn’t work.

  7. Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/01/2020 - 08:55 am.

    Look, it’s not like this is some clandestine, covert scheme by the “conservative” movement and its wholly-owned party, the Repubs. Everyone with a functioning brain knows that Repubs nationwide oppose making voting easier, most especially citizens who call themselves “conservative”. Team Conservative has consistently worked to make voting more difficult for 50 years now, and their voters enthusiastically support this strategy. It’s a fundamental plank of the Repub platform.

    It’s interesting that, when you get right down to it, we don’t really know how most of that perennially non-voting 40% slice of the electorate WOULD vote. They may very well mostly be apolitical “pox on both houses” types who claim to hate both parties, but ultimately hate Dems worse because they dislike the demographics that make up the Dem party.

    The goal of Repub vote suppression is not really to suppress voting, it’s to suppress DEM voting. Thus the laser-like targeting of low income folks, blacks, Latinos, single women and young voters. The last thing Repubs want is an election in which they can’t “manage” the electorate, or one that actually measures the preferences of a true majority.

    Since “conservative” policies are ultimately unpopular with a majority of the citizenry, democracy can’t really work for them as a political movement. Hence the manufactured obstacles to voting and the entrenched reliance upon the most anti-democratic mechanisms of the failed constitution.

    This naturally means that American conservatives are ultimately hostile to the ideals and theory of democracy. They have to be, as even an imbecile like Donald Trump understands! He is very likely banking on a chaos-filled, Covid-riden election in November. Covid-19 vote suppression may be his only hope. So of course the Repub party will not agree to any (Dem-proposed) legislation to aid voting in a pandemic. They are relying on the pandemic to retain power.

    The end result, circa 2020, is that the rest of the world has figured out that the US is not really a functioning “democracy” in any real sense of the word, and is certainly not any kind of model for a society that seeks to be a democracy. And as long as the Repub party holds any kind of power in DC, reform is impossible.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 04/01/2020 - 09:54 am.

      I once held some hope that someday the GOP would put country over party and ideology, that they really would espouse the ideals and principals that really made America great.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/01/2020 - 12:53 pm.

      “Since “conservative” policies are ultimately unpopular with a majority of the citizenry, democracy can’t really work for them as a political movement.”
      And the sad thing is, since the Clinton era when much of the center swung over to the Democrats, Republicans gave up on appealing to them and opted instead to add every sort of fringe rightie to their coalition of greed, low-information fear victims and haters.
      Might it be better in the long run if the Democrats veered left, leaving more room in the center for the GOP to compete for, and less tempting to embrace the deplorables?

  8. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/01/2020 - 09:50 am.

    “Or at least when a guy like Bernie looks like he might win.”

    Bernie did not win because he did not have enough supporters and those he did have did not turn out in strong enough numbers to make a difference.

    Bernie’s primary argument was his support among young people, the future of the vote. They did not deliver for him.

    Bernie conspiracy theorists can join the “911 Was an inside job”, “We never landed on he moon” and “Multiple shooters in the JFK assassination” club for craziness.

    If Bernie won, he had my vote without question or condition. To bad the Bernie Bros are incapable of the same.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/01/2020 - 11:05 am.

      1) The Dem establishment did NOT want Bernie to be the nominee.

      2) Bernie lost fair & square.

      These are not contradictory ideas, and intelligent people should be able to hold both of them in their heads at one time.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/01/2020 - 11:50 am.

        I would agree with this, but would clarify that the “Democratic Establishment” is not some secret cabal that some Sanders supporters think it is. Rather, the “Democratic Establishment” is most elected Democrats and the majority of people who voted them in.

        It shouldn’t be a surprise that a guy who spends all his time ripping the Democratic Establishment is not very popular with them. Why don’t African-Americans give much support to Sanders? Probably in part because he used to go on Fox News and criticize the country’s first African-American president, and suggested that he be primaried.

        Sure, some of the problem is ideology. But Warren didn’t have the same animus. Because, unlike Sanders, she actually understands how politics works. She knows that you have to win over more than your base. And she knows that letting your online supporters shower their opponents with misogyny, homophobia and other hate.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/01/2020 - 10:43 pm.

          Bernie is a great example of a ranked choice voting loser:

          If a Biden or Buttigieg or Klobuchar voter picked their candidate, Bernie was not going to be their #2 or #3 choice: They preferred the more (GASP) moderate options. And that certainly seems how the final result will play out.

          The majority wins: what a novel concept…

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/02/2020 - 11:30 am.

            Yes! Perfect analogy.

            • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 04/03/2020 - 07:53 am.

              In previous posts you have opposed rank choice voting. Are you now a convert?

              • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/03/2020 - 10:37 am.

                I still think its a solution in search of a problem, but after a few elections in St. Paul it doesn’t bother me as much. Its effects are negligible.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/06/2020 - 09:57 am.

                I do not believe I have ever expressed a view point on ranked choice voting.

                And I am not extolling its’ virtues: simply saying “majority wins”.

                Here is Bernie Bro logic:

                Bernie, 30% Support, Believes in “Path A”
                Candidate 2, 20%, Believes in “Path B”
                Candidate 3, 20%, Believes in “Path B”
                Candidate 4, 20%, Believes in “Path B”

                Bernie WINS!!!

                Never mind that 60% of those voting did not prefer Bernie and Path A.

                Instead, you propose a vast conspiracy controlled by a few select, evil, capitalists exerting mind control over everyone not smart enough to be a Bernie Bro.

                You want to see the benefits of your “Path A” enabled across the country:

                GO FIND MORE VOTERS

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 04/03/2020 - 08:12 am.

            Ranked choice voting is not majority wins. Ranked choice voting is Union Style, lets keep voting till our candidate wins.

            If Bernie was such an outsider, why allow him to run as a Democrat, why allow him to caucus as a Democrat, why allow him to sit on comittees as a Democrat. Oh wait they need his and his supporters votes.

            Sure Bernie criticized Obama. There are plenty of Democrats who stayed home on election day and refused to vote for Hillary, cause they saw that Obama did nothing and she would do the sam.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/03/2020 - 10:27 am.

              I’m just explaining why Sanders lost. I never said I didn’t want Sanders to participate. I think its good to have different ideological voices in the party. Its too bad the left picked such a dishonest and corrupt man to represent theirs. I really liked Elizabeth Warren.

      • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 04/01/2020 - 02:05 pm.

        We shouldn’t be surprised that an organization would not want a leader who had declined to be part of that organization. Whether that was the motivation behind Democratic primary voters, I don’t know. If Sander’s supporters want to help Trump get elected by sitting out the general election, that’s their right. But they don’t have a right to complain about the results if they do. And, no doubt, Trump trolls will be encouraging them to sit it out.

        • Submitted by Dave Carlson on 04/02/2020 - 11:49 am.

          “We shouldn’t be surprised that an organization would not want a leader who had declined to be part of that organization.”

          Couldn’t you say the same thing about Trump, who nastily railed against all his Republican opponents in 2016? They seemed to forgive and embrace him…

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/01/2020 - 10:09 am.

    For what it’s worth, I’m inclined toward BK Anderson. Both Eric’s piece and Anderson’s comment (as well as the operation of the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans over the past, let’s say, six months) support my assertion / conviction that Republicans don’t want to **govern** nearly as much as they want to **rule.** To overstate the matter for effect: In the former, a government sometimes has to pay attention to the peasants. In the latter, the peasants don’t matter as long as the elite are prospering.

    Bread and circuses, folks, and one of the factors making the current crisis more difficult to deal with for political figures who like to call themselves “conservative” is that the largest segment of the “circus” part of the phrase, organized sports and other forms of professional and amateur entertainment, have largely been rendered inaccessible by the potentially-fatal consequences of gathering to watch them outside our homes.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/01/2020 - 12:43 pm.

      “In the latter, the peasants don’t matter as long as the elite are prospering.”

      And the sheer genius (extreme stability aside) of Trumpism is that they have successful doubled down on convincing the peasants (And I’ll use West Virginia as Example A) that they have their backs and are on their side 100%.

      Early in the campaign Elizabeth Warren made a pass through W VA and it was interesting to see the very positive comments of those who absorbed her message: “Never thought I would agree with her…”.

      Evidently their grandparents were a lot more perceptive than them as almost all had a picture of FDR on the wall back then. A guy who did have their backs.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/01/2020 - 04:34 pm.

        Mmm, I think those West Virginia voters are as perceptive as their grand parents. Since the DLC & their darlings Bill Clinton & Gore, it’s obvious too many Dems have cast their lot with Wall Street & the Big Banksters. Clinton fought harder for NAFTA than anything else in his years in the White House. Then they cut capital gains taxes, & eliminated Glass-Stegall.

        The Democratic nominees for President have given the billionaire class nothing to fear, even while income inequality has worsened for nearly 50 years. Obama did nothing to bail out homeowners, and asked nothing of Wall Street when it was on it’s knees. Hillary Clinton was pushed to tepidly endorse a $12/hour minimum wage.

        Maybe working class voters will vote Blue once someone figures out how to appeal to them. Free trade agreements negotiated by corporate lawyers haven’t worked out very well. Get rid of the Gucci loafers & get back in a pair of Red Wings. Loyd Blankfein & Larry Summers are the real deplorables.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/02/2020 - 02:43 pm.

          Yes, those W VA voters are really teaching the Ds a lesson.

          And they are also reaping the benefits of Clean Coal Technology and, since there is only a bare minimum opiod problem in W VA, who needs any expansion of healthcare benefits? They, like the R intelligentsia, know that simply breaking down barriers and encouraging healthcare competition will solve everything.

          Given the choice of:

          A. Nothing
          B. 25% Of something
          C. 100% Of something that will never happen

          B Would seem to be the best place to start…

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/02/2020 - 05:20 pm.

            Dude, I’m not saying they’re making a great choice.

            On the other hand, there has been not once single bit of data to indicate that corporate Dems have moved the needle at all in regards to income inequality.

            Now, those corporate Dems can continue down the road they’ve been on since 1988. Do you think it will suddenly lead to different results after 30 years?

            Telling voters they’re dumb is not a winning strategy. Nor is telling them they’re deplorables, especially when you have an image as someone who is out of touch, even that image does not reflect reality.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/03/2020 - 10:56 am.

              There is plenty of data that shows that income inequality growth slows under Democratic presidents and increases under Republicans. It may not be anywhere close to enough, but there is a difference.

  10. Submitted by Marcia Wattson on 04/01/2020 - 11:21 am.

    If you doubt that voter suppression is a strategy of the oligarchy pulling the strings of GOP leadership, watch the HBO documentary “Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections.”

    The bill in the Senate introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden has bipartisan support, but will go nowhere because of Mitch McConnell. We’ve seen how one person, strategically placed, can stymie legislation in Minnesota. Time to vote blue to break the logjam and get back to running this county like the democracy it’s supposed to be. (Yes, I know it’s a Republic. Don’t waste your time.)

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/02/2020 - 09:01 am.

      Exactly. Our mythology that we bray to the world is that we are a democracy: “Of the people, by the people, for the people”, etc etc.

      But whenever progressive elements of the society proposes measures to make the sclerotic 18th Century system operate more like a democracy (and more like the ACTUAL democracies that exist in the modern world), then we have the nation’s reactionaries piously inform us that “it’s a republic, not a democracy!”

      Always unexplained is what precisely are the benefits to a 21st Century nation of the “republican” elements of the (obviously failed) federal system…other than that they allow minority faction reactionary elements to obtain and retain control and power, such as Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell and our (second) popular vote-losing (Repub) president of the 21st Century.

  11. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/01/2020 - 04:36 pm.

    Given how many seniors are loyal GOP voters, I’m not convinced the GOP is doing itself any favors by inhibiting mail-in voting this fall.

    • Submitted by Dave Carlson on 04/02/2020 - 11:59 am.

      I agree, this could come back to haunt Republicans in the swing states of Florida and Arizona where older retirees who would vote again for Trump (for some reason) might be very reluctant to venture out into crowds of voters in polling places, especially if the number of polling places is likewise reduced. It would be sweet justice if Florida turned blue because of voter suppression (to say nothing about how their Republican governor is endangering lives by his callous Covid-19 response).

  12. Submitted by Richard Adair on 04/01/2020 - 05:46 pm.

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    After the civil war and passage of the 15th amendment in 1870 allowing former slaves to vote, Southern states elected a lot of black people during “Reconstruction”. The reaction was swift: poll taxes, literacy tests including impossibly hard questions for black but not white citizens, etc. and then—in case the point was missed—shootings and lynchings of blacks who tried to vote.

    Frederick Douglass said if blacks don’t get the franchise immediately after the civil war, they’ll have to wait “a century”. How right he was. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (championed by our own Hubert Humphrey) was enacted exactly 100 years later.

    Now the current Supreme Court has ruled that enforcement of this law is no longer needed in many Southern states. Sigh.

  13. Submitted by Richard Adair on 04/01/2020 - 05:53 pm.

    Voters in Florida passed a referendum allowing felons who had served their sentences to vote. The legislature responded with a law saying they couldn’t vote until they’d paid every penny of court fees and fines, sums out of reach for many.

  14. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 04/01/2020 - 07:16 pm.

    It’s true that the GOP wants to suppress votes of Democratic leaning voters during general elections, but establishment Democrats want to control voting when it suits their purposes in the primaries.
    Prior to the elections in Arizona, Florida, and a few other states, Perez and the DNC stated that primary voters deserved to have their voices heard even though the CDC was urging people to stay home. In addition, Perez issued a statement that any state not holding the primary could have its delegate count reduced. After Biden received victories and appeared to have a strong hold on the nomination, further primary elections suddenly became a matter of concern to the DNC.
    As we all know, election officials are mainly elderly citizens, and now some of the primary election officials in Florida have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and could well have passed the virus on to others. Obviously, health of American citizens is not of main importance for some Democrats.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/02/2020 - 11:29 am.

      1) the response to the virus has evolved very quickly. Things today are very different than a few weeks ago.

      2) the primary is over. Biden has a huge delegate lead, and similarly huge leads in polling in remaining states. And it would be fine if Sanders continued to run his hopeless campaign under normal circumstances. But with the virus, continuing to contest elections means people will needlessly be exposed. Sanders’s massive ego is so out of control that he is literally willing to kill people to feed it.

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 04/02/2020 - 04:28 pm.

        1) Many days before the election the CDC stated that people should stay in their homes, and I blame both Biden and Sanders for not calling for a postponement of voting during the Sunday debate prior to the Tuesday elections. To use an excuse that the situation has evolved is absurd, since the situation was already bad at that time when both campaigns and the DNC ignored the advice of the CDC, which placed thousands at risk. Also, I give credit to Ohio officials who postponed their election.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/02/2020 - 05:08 pm.

          I don’t think its absurd at all. Three weeks ago today I spent a full day of work in downtown Minneapolis. Voting on March 3rd wasn’t even an issue. The shutdown of society has progressed slowly over the last month. That’s not to say Biden and Sanders shouldn’t have called to postpone primaries, and that a lot of other things should have been done differently by a lot of people.

          What is clear is that by continuing to contest a campaign that has already been decided in the midst of a pandemic, Sanders has revealed that he is completely devoid of integrity. That his ego may actually be even bigger than Donald Trump’s. Most Americans have figured out that Sanders is a corrupt fraud, but the depths of his depravity are really becoming clear now.

          • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 04/03/2020 - 08:27 pm.

            I prefer to go by CDC recommendations, not personal observations.
            Just yesterday Biden stated that people should be allowed to go vote in person in Wisconsin giving the rationale that people can stand 6 to 10 feet apart, have voting machines wiped down, etc. No doubt some people will get the virus and die from it if they go to vote, just as they did in Florida.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/06/2020 - 07:02 pm.

              All the reasonable candidates have realized that Biden’s delegate lead and polling leads in remaining states (+28 in Wisconsin) is insurmountable, all except for Sanders. Even the guy’s campaign manager thinks he should drop out. I blame any deaths from voting tomorrow on Sanders’s oversized ego.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/02/2020 - 08:50 am.

    Republicans have always been rather honest about the fact that their voter suppression efforts were driven by election strategy. SCOTUS actually recognized this Republican strategy back in 2012 and ruled that it’s “necessarily” unconstitutional.

    I think anyone who dealt with Republicans pushing the Voter ID amendment back in 2012 was well aware of the fact that it had little or nothing to do with election security or fraud, and everything to do with disenfranchising those who might vote for Democrats, this was no secret.

    Trump may be saying it out loud now, but he’s in no way the first Republican to do so. This is one more example where “balance” in the media might have been more prejudicial than objective. The pretense that voter fraud might be a legitimate target of Republican policy obscured the attempt to suppress voting for political gain.

  16. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/02/2020 - 07:50 pm.

    I find it interesting that the same people who cried “Russia, Russia, Russia” – for two years are the same mob who are crying for mail in votes and no voter ID laws.

    The same people who want to “protect our democracy” are proposing systems of voting that are ripe with “huge” levels of fraud and vote harvesting.

    And then they have the guts to say it is the “GOP with the political agenda.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/03/2020 - 09:35 am.

      Except that there’s little evidence of voter fraud linked to false ID.
      A solution looking for a problem.
      As Trump said, if more people voted, Republicans would lose. They’re the ones that clearly benefit from voter suppression — call it what it is.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/03/2020 - 10:28 am.

        So the Dems have no political agenda – – just democracy? Give me a break.

        “Little evidence” for voter fraud – false.

        So is Trump lying again?

        I think the dems are the ones lying when they claim they are as pure as the driven snow and have no political agenda in trying to delegitimize my vote through a system that is ripe for fraud.

        Maybe that is the only way you can get sleepy Joe elected?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/03/2020 - 11:29 am.

          No one denies having political agendas. However some pursue those agendas without nullifying basic principles of democracy and trying to tear up our Constitution.

          There’s a difference between winning elections and trying to dictate election outcomes.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/03/2020 - 11:50 am.

          “’Little evidence’ for voter fraud – false.”

          Actually, very true. Right-wing vigilantes who have hunted for voter fraud have found little, if any, evidence of it happening. Or perhaps you have another source, besides what you so desperately want to be true?

          “So is Trump lying again?”

          That’s always the safe assumption, but this time, it fits in too well with the Republican strategy (“We can win on our policies, so we’ll have to rig the contest.”).

          “I think the dems are the ones lying when they claim they are as pure as the driven snow and have no political agenda in trying to delegitimize my vote through a system that is ripe for fraud.”

          A system that is “ripe for fraud” has not produced any significant fraud, despite what the Trumpist agitprop outlets tell you.

          Let’s ask the question this way: If Republicans think their policies represent what Americans want, why are they so afraid of more people voting?

          • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/03/2020 - 08:10 pm.

            Here Trump is letting the truth slip out AGAIN.

            “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump said at Friday’s coronavirus task force meeting from the White House. “I think people should vote with Voter ID. I think Voter ID is very important, and the reason they don’t want Voter ID is because they tend to cheat.”

            • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 04/03/2020 - 08:50 pm.

              So now in Trumpworld apparently truth is spelled O-P-I-N-I-O-N.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/06/2020 - 08:54 am.

              I think Trump is a lying, cheating fraud whose statements are proof of nothing more than the gullibility of his followers. There has been little, if any, real evidence of voter fraud in this country.

              I know you have to believe whatever Our Beloved Leader says, but the objective facts show that he lies almost constantly.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/06/2020 - 07:04 pm.

              Trump thinks it, but has no evidence whatsoever.

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/08/2020 - 10:18 am.

            One of the “proofs” of voter fraud that I saw was a YouTube video that purported to show long lines of “illegal immigrants” voting.

            Well, most of the people in line had brown skin…

            BUT…the footage was from Arizona, which has the largest Native American population of any state and which belonged to Mexico until the middle of the 19th century. It has many people of Mexican heritage whose families have been there since before the U.S. seized the territory during the Mexican War.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/03/2020 - 10:24 am.

      Yes indeed. Proven interference by an adversary power in a presidential election equates to imagined “dangers” of mailed-in ballots. One has to give you strong marks for originality, although I suppose this is something being argued on Fox & Friends.

      You are aware that several states currently have all mail elections, aren’t you? That by accounts the systems work well, and are popular with voters? Or is the idea that these elections are all “ripe with huge levels of fraud”? Your evidence?

      The issue now is how to hold a safe and legitimate election in a pandemic. And your position is that the method that would be safest is out of the question, despite its general success in several states and lack of evidence of fraud. Sounds reasonable!

      At least Trump can be naively honest about actual “conservative” motives, one has to give him that!

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/03/2020 - 10:33 am.

      Your entire premise is based on outright falsehoods. The lack of voter ID laws and using mail-in voting (which several states use) poses no risk to voting integrity. There is no evidence of fraud.

      So, id by guts you mean Democrats are honest, truthful people that want everyone to participate, then you are correct. Because Republicans are willing to lie and suppress the vote because its the only way they can win.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/03/2020 - 11:34 am.

    Here’s my problem with mail in voting, and frankly early voting in general. People can’t change their votes. This is probably a bigger issue with primary’s than general elections but still, a lot can happen in a month or two or even a week or two, but once you cast that vote there’s no do-over. The advantage of actual election days is everyone has had all the chances they could have had to make a decision. I’d rather see us make election days holidays, or weekends so everyone can more easily vote, and eliminate all the unnecessary restrictions. I think absentee voting should be limited to those who cannot be present on election day.

  18. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/03/2020 - 01:55 pm.

    Personally I am totally bewildered: And why can’t we facilitate email or on line voting? You take a step back and think, we do almost 100% of our finances on line or with a credit card, The fed goes into my bank account and takes out estimated taxes, state does it, county and city for real estate taxes, gas company, electric company, CC companies and on and on and on. And folks are sweating voting via USPS mail, when virtually our entire economy functions electronically? Could even vote over the phone line, press 1 for….. Why photo ID? the IRS doesn’t require it to pay your taxes, and what is the greater threat, falsifying taxes, credit cards etc. etc. or a misguided vote? Did I miss some
    thing.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/03/2020 - 09:20 pm.

      How do you prove who you are and how do you ensure the vote you mailed in/did online wasn’t changed before it was counted? Online is even easier to hack .. they can’t even keep our credit records safe.

      If you vote in person, you show up with a valid ID, cast your vote in private and it goes right into the count without anyone else touching it. Unless someone has hacked the counting machines (the electronic ballot machines need to go away), there is no chance for fraud.

      if you vote by mail, the person collecting your vote can open the envelope and replace your vote (or just throw yours away and replace the entire thing with a new vote they filled out), the person who gets your envelope can open it and replace the vote before they submit it to be counted… and they can’t prove who you are.. they won’t have time. Unless you want the election to last a few weeks or months until they can actually process 100+ million votes to verify every single one of them is a legit vote.

      Voting is not like other things we do online or via the mail. You have to prove who you are to your utility company when you start services, to your bank when you open an account, to the IRS when you pay your taxes etc etc. And you are submitting a bill THEY sent you that is already filled out fully in your name etc.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/04/2020 - 10:32 am.

        I’ll just say, there is nothing you said that can’t be fraud ed one way or the other if someone really wants to. Example, I proved who I was when I opened a bank account, So what, all my banking is on line, how does the bank know I am who I am when I make an online transaction? and on and on and on. I do not have to prove who I am to the utility company, I just need to log on and pay my bill, they aren’t checking my ID! The IRS does not check me when I pay my estimated taxes, they just make sure I can log into their system. You do know we already have absentee and early voting by mail, are you suggesting all those votes are being discarded and replaced with alternate ballots? Quite the conspiracy theory!

      • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 04/04/2020 - 01:07 pm.

        Again, Voter ID is a solution looking for a problem. We are still waiting on Kris Kobach’s Voter Fraud Commitee to release it’s findings. Bob, when can we expect that to happen?

        It would seem that election fraud is a much greater (and real) problem (see North Carolina, 2018).

  19. Submitted by Jim Smola on 04/04/2020 - 10:43 am.

    Great article! If you are 18 and a citizen you should automatically be registered to vote. Only felons who are still serving their sentence should be disqualified. It is a fundamental right in our country to be able to vote!

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