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The GOP’s rolling coup

Published in St. Louis American, December 13, 2018

A month past the November election, North Carolina’s election board has refused to certify the results in the 9th Congressional District. The bi-partisan board is investigating voter irregularities and possible criminal deviations around absentee ballots. Once the smoke finally clears, it could mean a new election between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.

Voter suppression and intimidation along with outright theft of votes is how the GOP keeps winning. Successful gerrymandering has assured dominance in state and national elections.

Back in 2016, the North Carolina Republican-dominated state legislature passed a package of bills that stifled incoming Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s vision and leadership. This included not being able to make key cabinet appointments without legislative approval, drastically cutting the size of the new administration and changing the Board of Elections so that Republicans would control it in the future. By the scope of the bills, it was apparent to the trusting Democrats that the coup had been in the works for a while. Ooh, that’s so evil.

Governor Cooper now spends a lot of time in defense mode – vetoing bills only to have them repealed by the state legislature and filing lawsuits. This is no way to govern.

Did the Democrats learn any lessons from the GOP punch in the gut of democracy? Apparently not. Wisconsin and Michigan are dealing with Republic encores.

Wisconsin Governor-elect Tony Evers is victim to the GOP lame duck muck. The not-so-sneaky power grab led by State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos could be crippling for Governor Evers and his new Attorney General Josh Kaul if the outgoing Governor Scott Walker signs off on it.

Evers has called the power grab a “hot mess.” The progressive platform that he ran on is being sabotaged, like stopping the Republican’s legal challenge of the Affordable Care Act.

The power grab is taken out of the GOP playbook in North Carolina. There Democrats were ambushed by a special session called by the Republican governor during the lame duck period.

I’ve often criticized the Democratic Party for being asleep at the wheel. One big area where there is little or no aggressive offensive is gerrymandering. That’s what North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin all have in common.

Democrats won every statewide contest in Wisconsin’s 2018 midterms. Yet Republicans were able to keep control of the gerrymandered state legislature. The GOP received just 45 percent of the vote overall, but will control 63 of 99 seats in the assembly. Shrewd.

Missouri could face the GOP lame duck much if we elect a Democratic governor in 2020 with a Republican General Assembly. That’s why Amendment 1, which voters just passed, is critical to implement.

Getting big, corporate dollars out of politics and fair redistricting were the core elements of the measure. Already the GOP is exploring how to pick off black elected officials and help undermine the measure’s intent and strength.

By now, it should be indisputably clear that the GOP is all about power for themselves, by any means necessary. Their actions have absolutely nothing to do with God, country, the U.S. Constitution, the flag or any other symbolism thrown in our faces to justify its unfettered seizure and abuse of power.

The two-party system is slowing turning into a one-party dictatorship. The checks and balances in the three branches of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial – are methodically vanishing. If one party winning an election still means that the other party is running the show because of politricks, then the people must rise to save ourselves and the country.

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that it’s both our right and duty to check our government. This is what democracy looks like.

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