Even though 2021 is largely an off-year for elections, with only a few local races spread out across the country and two governorships at stake, and 2022 is just a midterm that typically has a smaller degree of turnout than presidential elections, there’s a fairly solid reason for why you should turn out to vote, wherever you happen to live in the country. Republicans right now are blustering about HR 1 with a number of preposterous reasons for why it isn’t good – but behind closed doors, they’re terrified – if one leaked phone call between Mitch McConnell’s policy advisor and operatives working for the prominent GOP donor Charles Koch is any indication.
One key strategy to effectively blocking good legislation is to launch a massive disinformation campaign and mislead just enough voters to blow the political winds in a different direction. It’s what Republicans tried to do with the Affordable Care Act and got them dangerously close to repealing it. When it comes to the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, however, there’s a problem. In their phone call, operatives revealed that popular support for the newly proposed bill is so high that they have no plans to launch a disinformation campaign, with considerable numbers of both liberal and conservative leaning voters on board with a particular provision in the bill: calling for wider public disclosure of secret political donors, something that would also weaken a lot of the recycled Republican talking points.
This would probably be the worst possible time to run a disinformation campaign anyway, and could backfire on McConnell at a time when he’s already less popular and powerful than ever. Republicans like McConnell wouldn’t be so determined to take away voting rights from so many citizens unless they knew it could hurt them severely – and that’s what’s going on here. This year and next, we’ll have a number of opportunities to hurt the party at every level – and forcing McConnell and his abysmal legacy into retirement is a good goal to aspire to.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making