Musings on Bad Faith in Politics

“Hypocrisy” and “cynicism” are two adjectives used to describe actions of Republicans, particularly when they supported Trump. I tend to think those two words are inadequate. I like bad faith better, but the meaning seems a little vague to me. In this thread, I want to flesh out the meaning and think about term, versus alternatives, when discussing the modern day GOP and their leader.

Voter Fraud Vs. Voter Suppression

Voting and the integrity of our election are truly a critical part of our democracy, and the Democrats and Republicans have two competing narratives with regard to this topic. Democrats believe that Republicans want to suppress votes, particularly for people of color, as a primary way to gain or hold political power. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that voter fraud is a serious problem that poses a real threat to the integrity of our elections. Who’s right? That’s what I want to answer in this thread. Primarily, I want to collect evidence for both narratives. Now, I have already been reading about this topic, and let me say upfront that the evidence for voter fraud being a serious problem seems scant, while the evidence for voter suppression, in my view, seems far more compelling. Before I begin, I should acknowledge if one or both narratives proves true, they are legitimately serious problems–problems that would demand some corrective action.

“Our Entire Democracy is now at Risk. History will judge what we do at this moment.”

These are the closing words of a 100 scholars. Specifically, they find recent actions to make voting more difficult, by Republican controlled state legislature, alarming.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

These scholars urge Congress to act, passing laws to counter these efforts, even if it means suspending the filibuster. I’m wary of language like this, but I can’t dismiss these claims. I’m concerned; I don’t think we’re out of the woods, even though Trump is not in office. Here is Max Boot, former Republican Senator and Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and former Republican Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock.

General McCaffery on General Flynn’s comments about coup in the U.S.:

Racism Against Asian-Americans

Has any been following the stories of violence and verbal attacks against Asian-Americans? Last night, I believe six Asian women (and two non-Asians) were shot and killed. I’m dismayed by these stories, hearing Asian-Americans express fear of going out and seeing these brutal attacks. Watching these things evokes an odd feeling, almost as if I’m watching a different country, as the reality here seems very different. Have you guys heard of similar stories happening in Hawai’i? By the way, I heard Trump last night on Fox News referred to the covid virus as the “China virus.” It’s still appalling that people who know better continue to support him. (I made myself watch the clip, just so that I can say I heard it myself.)

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Suggestions to Make the Internet Better for Democracy

How to Put Out Democracy’s Dumpster Fire by Anne Applebaum and Peter Pomeratsev in the Atlantic is an article about the way the current nature of the internet, in general, and social media, specifically, are harmful, or even hostile, to democracy. The authors also recommend several specific suggestions to change this. The writers seem optimistic that their suggestion could actually significantly improve the internet, making it a more viable for democracy, if their recommendations are adopted (which is another matter).

I do believe improvements can be made to at least reduce the toxicity and dysfunction of the information and discussion space produced by the internet. But I do have some critiques of their recommendations.

I’ll go over these soon, but for now I recommend others to read this article.

Second Impeachment and Senate Trial of Donald J. Trump

Trump has been impeached a second time. The Senate trial started today. I’m not really following it–I don’t really have the stomach to do so. If the Democrats both the case that will be stressful. If they do a good job and the Republicans still acquit Trump (which is likely), that will be sickening. Still, I’ll start this thread for posts relating to this topic. (I don’t want to post about this in the Biden thread.)

I will say one thing. I would like to see witnesses called, especially since Trump claims he was upset or bothered by the storming of the Capitol. Journalists have reported the opposite. Trump and people who were around him should testify under oath about this. I realize Trump has refused to testify, but if the witnesses testify that he was not upset, but excited, in a positive way, and that he was slow to react, more Republicans may change their mind. And if not, make them acquit in light of this testimony.

What Are the Red Lines Trump Must Not Cross for Trump Supporters?

Where is the red line(s) that Donald Trump could not cross? The line(s) that if Trump crosses would lead to congressional Republicans, GOP leadership, and Trump supporters abandoning their support for Trump, and even strongly opposing him? The line that if Trump crosses would warrant the end of a presidency, either through intense public backlash or impeachment and removal? Do any of these lines exist?

Since none of the congressional Republicans, GOP party leaders, or prominent pundits have called for an end to Trump’s presidency, we can conclude the following are NOT red lines for these Trump supporters:

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