Whine and cheat: GOP wants to steal elections while posing as guardians of electoral integrity

Republicans today are like those kids who try to get through every level of schooling by serial cheating. They quickly figure out who gets the best grades in the 6th grade. They sit behind them, copy their tests, or bully the nerdiest one into giving them the answer. In college, should they get that far, they would pressure friends to share take-home exams. It became such a habit that, in the past, before the testing companies woke up and made the process about as secure as a classified hearing, dumb rich boys would pay hard-up smart ones to impersonate them and take law and graduate school entrance exams for them.

This mode of behavior doesn’t stop after schooling is over but carries over into grown-up work, business, and political life. Money is usually the ultimate motivator for cheating, but power comes in a close second. After several consecutive elections (Obama 2008, 2012; Hillary Clinton 2016; Joe Biden, 2020) in which Republicans have lost the popular vote (and won one election through the horse-and-buggy anachronism known as the Electoral College), it has dawned on the brightest lights in the GOP that, given demographic trends, to win power they must cheat at every level every time.

Since most Republicans are of the school of thought of Vince Lombardi, the coach of the Green Bay Packers in their glory years (“Winning is not the most important thing, it is the only thing), that’s what they do. This explains Steve Bannon’s baptizing one scheme for stealing the 2020 election as the Green Bay sweep and why on consecutive days this week, these items were reported in the media:

“A federal judge ruled on Monday that former President Donald J. Trump and a lawyer who had advised him on how to overturn the 2020 election most likely had committed felonies, including obstructing the work of Congress and conspiring to defraud the United States.” (New York Times, March 28)

“In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday vetoed congressional maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature and called for a special session to draw new maps in mid-April, a rare fracture between the Republican governor and state lawmakers. Mr. DeSantis had previously pledged to veto the maps and had pushed his own maps that would have given his party a stronger advantage in the state’s congressional delegation.” (New York Times, March 29)

This tale of the big crooks (Trump and company) and the little crooks (DeSantis and his moral midgets who pose as moralists to oppose sex education) defines a growing part of the Republican Party. Fortunately, at the time of the 2020 election, there still were a significant number of Republican elections officials and political leaders unwilling to renege their principles for the sake of winning at any cost or out of fear of Trump or violent Trump-sympathizing thugs.

Alas, for the entire Trump presidency and beyond, the Republicans have been carrying out a drawn-out version of the German “night of the long knives” or the Russian show trials of the 1930s, successive purges ferreting out those who have not blindly followed the autocrat’s road to systematic electoral cheating and authoritarian government.

The Republicans bawled and whined about having the 2020 election stolen from them when all evidence shows that they were the ones that tried their darndest to steal the election but failed. They don’t want to make that mistake again. By laying the groundwork for a preemptive steal by rewriting the electoral rules to follow a modified state lottery or parimutuel scheme in which bettors as a group can never win because the state takes out a big percentage of the total bet before paying out a dime to the winners, the GOP is trying to invent a new electoral system based on systematic cheating while giving the appearance of fairness.

The casinos of Las Vegas and the whole world have perfected this scam and there are always more than enough deluded guaranteed losers to yield the house a predictably big profit. Should a rare individual with a prolific memory play the only game in which there is a mathematical possibility of beating the house—blackjack, in which if you count and keep track of the cards you might win—the rare winning gamblers are arrested or banned from playing. The systematic, never can lose, “clean” cheating of the casinos is kosher. The skill of a card counter is illegal. Fair is foul and foul is fair.

That is the kind of electoral system the Republicans are bent on engineering. They are trying to ban anything that favors Democrats, like Sunday voting which is the day churchgoing Black voters don’t have to work and have the time to cast their ballots. When a totally Republican controlled body like the Florida legislature puts out electoral maps, you can bet they are tricked out in favor of Republicans. For the Republican governor to veto those partisan maps can mean only one thing, DeSantis is Florida’s cheater-in-chief who wants more and better cheating.

Brazen doesn’t describe DeSantis. He wants a more effective system of cheating than even the legislature was able to concoct. He also wants to create a special law enforcement arm to police elections. He wants in effect to ensure that no one tampers with his deliberate rigging of the electoral system. The wolf is guarding the chickens to eat his share and make sure no interlopers do.

That’s a tour-de-force DeSantis hopes to propel him to the GOP presidential candidacy in 2024 should Donald Trump be behind bars or unable to compete for some other reason. In the meantime, DeSantis is suing the federal government to drop mask mandates on public transportation, another step in his longtime campaign to enable the spread of Covid-19.

If viruses gave out Nobel Prizes, DeSantis would be on the short list along with Trump and Brazil’s unspeakable Jair Bolsonaro.