A deadly time for the soul of the nation

While Michael Flynn is urging the violent overthrow of the government of the United States, 14 states have enacted 22 new laws restricting access to the vote. At least 61 such new bills are moving through various state legislatures.

Another such law, arguably the most restrictive of all, would have almost certainly passed in the Texas House of Representatives had Texas Democrats not walked out, denying Republican members who want the bill a quorum.

The Texas bill, Senate Bill 7 (SB7) bans after hours voting, a choice overwhelmingly preferred in metropolitan areas where the majority of voters vote Democratic. It would have prohibited drop boxes and drive through centers. SB7 would have limited Sunday early voting to between the hours of 1pm and 9pm, a deliberate attempt to undermine “Souls to the Polls,” where people of color and people from Latino communities vote immediately after church and well before 1pm.

SB7 would have made it illegal to send unsolicited vote-by-mail applications. It would have required absentee ballots to have either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number printed on both the ballot request and the return envelope containing the ballot, violating absentee voter privacy. SB7 provides a $1000 a day fine for local election officials who don’t follow specific procedures to update the voter rolls, and criminal penalties for election workers who obstruct partisan poll watchers. “Poll watcher,” recall, is a euphemism for Republicans who intimidate voters, especially voters who are people of color.

SB7 can still do all these things. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is now calling for a special session of the Texas legislature in order to assure the passage of this bill. He wants it, ostensibly to protect Texas from “voter fraud,” which isn’t a real threat of any kind, not in Texas, not in anywhere else. It’s a made up pretext Republicans are using to justify this pandemic of voter laws with one intent and one intent only. To make it more difficult for Democrats to vote.

Make no mistake, brothers and sisters, this is a battle for the soul of the nation. Republicans want the country back, and the next time they get it back they clearly have no intention of returning it. The Republican Party, as it exists right now, must go. This is a deadly dangerous time for the soul of our nation. This is a battle we cannot lose, we must not lose. If Republicans ever regain power, democracy will die. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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