The "Blue Wave" Can’t Happen When the GOP Is This Good at Cheating

For those hoping to witness a “Blue Wave” of Democratic voters rebuke President Donald Trump, his woefully inept administration, and all the GOP has come to stand for, the 2020 election was as heartbreaking as the disastrous presidential referendum that came before it. With Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maine all too close to call, the country woke up on the morning of Nov. 4 unable to definitely say who will be the next president of the United States.

In the wake of a suspended period of uncertainty, many voters took to Twitter to ask how in electoral hell could Republicans get so many votes? How could a large portion of this country watch immigrant children be forcibly separated from their parents, the Trump administration downplay a deadly virus that has claimed the lives of over 230,000 Americans—to say nothing of a rise in hate crimes, anti-abortion harassment, and the degradation of a once respected presidential office—and still vote for the party responsible for it all?

The answer, of course, can be found all the way back in the 1800s, when Eldridge Gerry, the then-governor of Massachusetts, approved a redistricting plan to tilt the political scale in favor of Republicans. “Gerrymandering” was born, and with it the Republican’s consistent path to electoral victory.

Republicans cheat. Unequivocally. Openly. Shamelessly. Whether it’s the most powerful man on the planet calling for blatant voter intimidation from behind the presidential podium, to Republican governors using the ongoing public health crisis to shut down polling places, to purging voting rolls, purposefully impeding the United States Postal Services’ ability to deliver mail-in ballots, and spending the last seven years gutting the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have found ways to secure so many votes because they’ve been successful in quelling the rest.

Republicans in Michigan—a highly contentious swing state— tried to stifle attempts to count the record-high number of absentee ballots ahead of Election Day, which would have helped to stave off any delays in vote tabulations. Now, the president is falsely claiming “voter fraud” and threatening to use the Supreme Court to “stop all voting” (please note no one is still voting right now, and The Supreme Court is not the president’s personal legislative strong arm).

The United States Postal Service, spearheaded by Louis Dejoy, a top Trump donor, ignored a “court-ordered deadline Tuesday to sweep mail-processing facilities in more than a dozen states for missing election ballots,” as reported by USA Today. Hundreds of thousands of ballots are likely missing.

The president spent more time undermining the legitimacy of mail-in voting—even though this is how he voted in Florida in 2016—than he did crafting a tangible political platform for which to seek re-election beyond “make America great again… again.”

The president himself, via campaign emails and boisterous rally speeches, called on his supporters to join his “poll-watching army,” a clear attempt to intimidate would-be Democratic voters. In Florida, a police officer “patrolling” the polls was seen wearing a pro-Trump mask. A MAGA caravan of Trump supporters (who 2016 legacy publications would have us believe voted for Trump as a result of “financial anxieties” but can apparently afford heavy-duty lifted vehicles) blocked highways in California and New York. Another caravan attempted to run a Biden-Harris campaign bus off a Texan highway.

Republicans have found ways to secure so many votes because they’ve been successful in quelling the rest.

And ever since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Republicans in Congress have worked tirelessly to undermine Black and brown people’s constitutional right to cast their ballots.

Last-minute changes to absentee ballot rules in South Carolina, where Senator Lindsey Graham won a race against well-funded Democratic nominee Jaime Harrison, left voters confused less than a week before they could mail their ballots.

And in Kentucky, the state’s Board of Elections voted to decrease the number of polling locations in the state ahead of Primary Election Day, from 3,700 to an abysmal 200. In Louisville, home to the state’s largest Black population, only one polling place remained open. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won his reelection campaign despite being out-funded by his Democratic opponent.

Has the GOP’s blatant and purposeful racist dog-whistles, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, and overt sexism appealed to a substantial voter base? Absolutely. We cannot deny how the nefarious ‘isms this country was founded on have made it possible for Republicans to maintain power. But so has voter suppression, voter intimidation, gerrymandering, and outright cheating. Joe Biden has already secured more popular votes than any candidate in U.S. history, but because of the Republican’s carefully calculated voter suppression tactics in key swing states, Trump could win re-election.

Which is why asking Democrats—especially Black and brown Democrats the party has long relied on but has continuously failed to center in its platform or its policies—to “just vote” is, in no uncertain terms, not enough. Because the 2020 election, like so many came before it, proves that there is no such thing as a “red state” or a “blue state.” There are just “easy to vote in states” and “nearly impossible to vote in states.” And until that changes, neither will the old guard of political leaders.

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