Brent Budowsky: Democracy in America is on trial
The odds are high that in the next 24-72 hours, as vote-counting continues in key states, that former Vice President Joe Biden will be ahead in enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.
This situation virtually guarantees that the voting issues surrounding the 2020 elections will be conclusively decided by the United States Supreme Court, in what would be one of the most important decisions in the history of American jurisprudence and democracy.
At the outset of this column, my view is that every American should have the right under the Constitution to cast a vote whenever that vote is cast, in any form, on or before Election Day.
For the first time in American history, an American president, President Donald Trump, has literally waged political war against our democratic election. He has repeatedly made false and deceptive comments claiming, without a shred of evidence, that voting by mail is corrupted. He has shamefully stated on numerous occasions that he fails to promise, as a matter of principle, to accept the peaceful transfer of power.
Regarding the casting and counting of votes in the 2020 campaign, the president’s administration orchestrated the installation as postmaster general of Louis DeJoy, a hyperpartisan Republican campaign donor who has repeatedly taken actions, in my opinion by design, of impeding or delaying the effective delivery of votes by the Postal Service.
Directly because of bad acts by the Postal Service directed by DeJoy, for the rest of this week countless votes that were mailed in by Election Day will be delivered in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states. These votes will impact and could decide the electoral votes for president and races for the House, Senate, and state and local offices.
There should be immediate investigations of this Postal Service attack against the voting rights of Americans. No election administrator or judge or Supreme Court justice should accept or tolerate the discounting of these votes and this brazen attack against the voting rights of these voters — which prevented their timely votes from being delivered in a professionally normal manner.
No perpetrator of wrongdoing should profit from his own wrongdoing. No American should ever be deprived of his or her voting rights as an American by these craven attacks by our president, our Postal Service, and with all due respect, certain Republican lower court judges treating this matter as appropriate for party-line judicial votes.
Every patriotic American should be moved and inspired when tens of millions of Americans waited in line for two hours, four hours and even seven hours in the cold and rain to cast their early votes. Millions of others, fearful for their lives during the most deadly virus in a century, which was dramatically worsened by the incompetent policies of the president, cast their votes by mail to exercise their right to vote while protecting their hope to live.
Courageous Americans who serve our country by risking their lives in uniform deserve, and have, the right for their ballots to be received days after Election Day. Every citizen should have their sacred right to vote preserved and protected by every president, every judge, every justice and every public servant without fear or favor.
On the Supreme Court my hope is that Justice Amy Coney Barrett will recuse herself from any case involving the election that could benefit the president who appointed her for the purpose of helping him fix the election. I do not question her integrity but the case for recusal is clear and compelling.
Similarly, I was alarmed and outraged by a recent opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh that could be interpreted as encouraging those who suppress votes to suppress more votes.
Democracy is on trial in America today. Let every voter who follows the rules have the right to vote. Let every public servant, judge and justice remember that they will ultimately be judged by the high court of history.
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. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.