Budowsky: Trump-McConnell war against voters and democracy

Budowsky: Trump-McConnell war against voters and democracy
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For the first time since Jefferson put pen to paper in 1776, a major political party is systematically attacking the rights of voters, the values of democracy and the Founding Fathers’ vision of the United States Senate.

Similar abuses have happened before but never in such a systematic, aggressive and far-reaching style of total political warfare.

As you read these words there are more than 200 bills offered by Republicans in states across the nation that comprise the greatest war for voter suppression, meaning the greatest war against American voters, in American history.


In earlier dark days there were Jim Crow laws designed to attack and destroy the rights of Black voters. What is happening today is that, and more.

In 2020 when Republicans attacked early voting and voting by mail, they were attacking all voters. When in some states they forced voters to wait in crowded lines during a disease that killed more than 500,000 Americans, they endangered the health and lives of every voter in those lines. When Republicans reduced the number of polling booths they were attacking every single voter in those communities.

Yes, these and similar measures attacked Black and Hispanic voters. But they also fiercely attacked senior citizen voters, young voters, disabled voters, Asian American voters, Native American voters and — yes — white voters in every community victimized by these GOP attacks against democracy.

And while these abuses were promoted by former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE and his supporters, the No. 1 co-conspirator in these political crimes against voters and democracy is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns MORE (R-Ky.), who vows to prevent legislative proposals to end these attacks against voters from being passed by a majority of the Senate.

After four years of Trump as president and McConnell as Senate Republican leader Democrats won control of the House, the Senate, and the White House.


Now, there is a good chance that either Democrats or Republicans will emerge from the 2022 midterms in control of both the House and Senate.

Trump and McConnell react not by trying to win support from all voters, but to maximize turnout from their base while aggressively escalating their attacks against all other voters.

No president has ever been more sincere calling for bipartisanship than President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal Biden vaccine rule sets stage for onslaught of lawsuits MORE. But who can he negotiate with? When I was working for the House Democratic leadership the first Speaker I served under was Tip O’Neill, who often worked with President Reagan. Historians fondly remember how they achieved periodic bipartisan agreements and some degree of personal friendship and mutual respect.

Trump and McConnell did not act this way with Obama and will not with Biden, especially when their driving purpose is to suppress Democratic voters and regain control of the Senate and House.

McConnell has worked to destroy the Founding Father’s vision of the Senate. They never considered the filibuster. While they intended the Senate to balance the House of Representatives, and valued the rights of the Senate minority, they never intended the Senate to be dominated and controlled by a minority that prohibits majority votes on issue after issue, month after month, year after year.

The Founders would be appalled and angry that any Senate leader would abuse the rules of the Senate to pack the Supreme Court. They would be outraged that any Senate leader would claim credit for being the “grim reaper” and abuse the Senate by aggressively obstructing almost all major proposals offered by any Democratic president or Senate Democratic majority.

McConnell claims his hero was the great legislator and diplomat Henry Clay. But Clay was known as the Great Compromiser, not the Grim Reaper.

The Founders, and Henry Clay, would be appalled by McConnell’s recent and weird speech threatening he will turn the Senate into a banana republic “scorched earth” unless he gets his way. That angry and hostile tone suggests he is not confident that he and Trump will win their latest attempts to attack voters and undermine democracy in the Senate and nation.

On that, if little else, I suspect he is right.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.