Wednesday, June 10, 2020

 Okay, so we’re in Day Four of our little early morning experiment, and though I stayed up too late last night trying to liberate humanity from the oppressive horror of alien occupation, I’m going to try to get something knocked out before today’s nap. Besides, I have some Actual Paying Work due tomorrow, and experience tells me that writing that much in a row these days gives me an awful headache. I’m pretty close to beating XCOM 2 and humanity’s counting on me to be sharp.

 The biggest news – aside from the ongoing horror of one part of America trying to change the culture of blind authoritarianism and allowance of police brutality, especially against black people but by fiat okay for everyone while the other holds on with all 10 fingers and toes, as well as the upcoming second spike in COVID-19 illnesses – is probably yesterday’s primary elections. Held in Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia, the outcomes for presidential nominees were fairly rote.

 At this point, it’s Biden’s to lose and there was never any real question of the GOP turning on Trump. Biden has 2,136 delegates, plenty for him to secure the nomination, with Bernie Sanders scoring 1,047 before dropping out just after Super Tuesday. A further 142 are shared between Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobachur, and Tulsi Gabbard. In case you’re unfamiliar with how all this works – and judging by Twitter, a distressingly large number of you are – those delegates will be used to garner favors and planks when the party puts together it’s platform at the National Convention in August. As always, you may not like it, but as Ric Flair would say, you better learn to love it, because that is politics, baby.

 Now. What’s really noteworthy about yesterday’s primaries was the widespread and incredibly blatant voter suppression that went on throughout Georgia, particularly in predominately African Americans, largely thanks to the on-going shenanigans of Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Dysfunctional machines, lack of polling places and outrageously long lines marred the attempt at representative democracy in the Peach State.

 Voting machines have been a contentious issue since their introduction to the world during the 2004 election. Coming in on the heels of Florida, the Brooks Brothers Riots and “hanging chads” that helped put George W. Bush’s dumbass in office and all hell broke loose. Right from the beginning, they had a bad smell to them as the manufacturer Diebold refused to allow anyone to check it for security holes so as to protect its “intellectual property,” with a particularly rank odor coming from one of it’s owners being a bigwig in the Ohio GOP. For what it’s worth, that was the state that was the make-or-break in the election that helped keep Bush’s dumbass in office. Since it wasn’t really close enough to call, and we were in the beginning days of a decade-long war that went nowhere, no one really dug too deep into it and it’s since become part of the American fabric.

 Fast forward to 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a key piece of judicial whammy that rectified nearly a century of state and local governments, especially in the South, being outright racist and doing everything they could get away with to keep black folks from voting. Chief Justice John Roberts said it was no longer necessary because, and I quote, “things have changed dramatically in the South”.

 Let’s see how that meshes with five-hour-plus wait times for majority minority polling places in Georgia. For one, over 214 places to vote have been permanently shuttered since 2013. That includes over 80 in Atlanta. For those of y’all who don’t know, Atlanta is full of black people. Furthermore, the Georgia state government under the direction of Kemp and Raffensperger pretty much forced the state to take on these voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems. Now, I don’t know what sort of connection the company has with state officials, if any, but just to shut down any unnecessary rumors, they’ve got nothing to do with the sketchy voting machine patents Ivanka Trump got thanks to deals with China.

 Going into, experts had warned the state of Georgia that the machines were buggy and unreliable, and damn if that prognostication turned out to be just so. Machine breakdowns were widespread all day, and the very latest polling place was still taking voters past midnight. Even worse, the mail-in voting system was crapped up as part of the current Republican obsession with making that as hard as possible. People who requested mail-in ballots often just never received them. This happened to a friend of mine. He was lucky, in that he lives in a predominantly white area and was allowed to vote. More than a few folks had to deal with being restricted from voting because they had asked for those mail-in ballots.

 And yes, this was definitely worse for black locations than white ones. Machine breakdowns and lost mail-in ballots happened in Buckhead or Covington, but it was all sorted out after the first 15 minutes. Black and predominantly poor areas saw five-to-seven hour waits in line. Think about that. Standing in line for almost an entire working day to be allowed to do the very least of your basic Constitutional rights, made even worse thanks to knowing the state government in charge of keeping it from happening was repeatedly warned and apparently didn’t give a damn.

 So, Georgia’s a mess and this really doesn’t bode well for the presidential election in November, especially since one of Trump’s revolving shit fits revolves around mail-in ballots. We don’t know how things washed out in Georgia, who won or if a run-off election will be necessary, and it’ll be a couple of days before we do. There’s been such a stink – seriously, it was barely noon before everyone realized how screwed up the whole process was – that investigations of voter suppression have been called for by damn near everyone worth a shit. Raffensperger has pledged to do some looking into, but he was warned beforehand and couldn’t be bothered. Call me skeptical.

 Like I said, this makes November look worrisome. Where he isn’t leading in double digits, Biden is neck-and-neck with Trump in most polls in most places. Like two or three numbers difference in places like Mississippi and Wyoming. And, before he had to pretend to care about black people, Trump was pitching a decent-sized stroppy about the gall of people wanting to vote via mail which has only worked perfectly in places like Oregon for two decades. Also, Senate Majority Leader and absolutely scumbag is making one of the primo legislative turds he’s trying to squeeze out before Trump possibly gets shown the road is permanently scuttling any chance to reinvigorate the VRA.

 So there’s that there then. We’ve all known this was coming once we realized COVID-19 was going to screw the year up – and whoo boy, we apparently ain’t seen nothing yet – and the people who have the power to do something, to actually protect your Constitutional rights, have actively worked to make it worse. And cry all you want, this is mostly on the GOP since they’re both the majority and the ones actively trying to tank the ability to vote for anyone who might not vote for them.

 It makes sense, in a way, if you accept one really about conservatives in general and Republicans in particular. They don’t want you to vote. They want you to consume and obey and otherwise keep quiet. And it’s going to get worse whoever wins in November. Thing to remember, though, is that if Trump wins it might just be irrevocable. Something to think about.

 

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