Here are 3 ways in which Republicans are using ‘brute force’ to regain power: journalist

Here are 3 ways in which Republicans are using ‘brute force’ to regain power: journalist

The late Republican strategist Lee Atwater didn't shy away from hardball politics; Atwater was behind the infamously racist Willie Horton ad that sunk former Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign and helped put President George H.W. Bush in the White House. But journalist Hayes Brown, in an op-ed published by MSNBC's website on July 19, stresses that there is a major difference between the type of hardball politics that Atwater was known for during the 1980s and the type of hardball politics that Republicans practice in 2021: the latter is much more ruthless.

"There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the Republican Party was known for its sneakiness — a product of the underhanded tricks of operatives like Lee Atwater and his protégés," Brown explains. "These days, the GOP is more a fan of brute force tactics when it comes to winning elections, reworking the rules of the game to make it more winnable — potentially even when they haven't won the most votes."

Presently, Democrats control the White House and have narrow majorities in both branches of Congress, and Brown warns that the Republicans of 2021 will be downright vicious in their efforts to change this. Here are some ways in which the Trumpified GOP, according to Brown, will use "brute force" in their efforts to regain power in 2022 and 2024.

1. Throwing out election results that don't favor Republicans

Donald Trump went down in history as the first U.S. president who attempted an outright coup d'état after losing a presidential election, although the United States' system of checks and balances held up. And Brown warns that Republicans are trying to make it easier for them to simply throw out election results if they favor Democrats.

Noting how much of a farce the Cyber Ninjas "audit" of the 2020 election has been in Maricopa County, Arizona, Brown explains, "There are more 'legitimate' efforts to bring about the same potential outcome of Republicans' being declared the winners of elections in which they didn't get the most votes. The most dangerous involve Republicans' taking direct, partisan control over how elections are run and decided. Georgia's election law strips the secretary of state of his power over the state election board, giving it to the hyperpartisan legislature. The scrapped version of Texas' election bill would have given judges the power to directly toss out results of elections that seemed, for whatever reason, dodgy."

2. Gerrymandering on steroids

In the 2018 midterms, Democrats retook the U.S. House of Representatives with a net gain of 40 seats. But that 2018 blue wave, arguably, would have been even bigger had Republicans not gerrymandered House districts so badly during the Obama years. And Brown fears that House districts will become even more gerrymandered in favor of Republicans going into the 2022 midterms.

Brown observes, "Republican legislatures are champing at the bit to use this period — the first redistricting campaign since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 — to redraw election districts in ways that box out Democratic voters…. The GOP has the ability to win elections before the candidates are even in place — if there just aren't enough Democratic voters in a given map, there's no chance that seat could be the tipping point for a majority in the House."

3. Making voting as difficult as possible

The voter suppression bills that Republicans have been pushing in state legislatures are finding a variety of ways to make voting harder, from limiting absentee or mail-in voting to reducing the amount of time in which polling places stay open. Voter suppression methods seeks to discourage voting by making it harder to cast a vote. Republicans are obviously hoping that if the lines at polling places become even longer in heavily African-American areas thanks to GOP voter suppression laws, Blacks will be less likely to vote.

Brown notes, "Texas' new elections bill would shut down 24-hour voting locations and drive-thru voting; Georgia's new law sharply restricts the use of drop boxes to collect early voting ballots. In effect, Republicans argue, these laws are just about securing elections and resetting standards back to the pre-pandemic norm. Is that the same as stripping people of their right to vote? No. But it does raise the difficulty of casting a vote."

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