US Law: Racism is bad. So is Democracy.

Is this the least surprising headline ever? Supreme Court Sides With Republicans Over South Carolina Voting Map. Gee, who could have seen that coming.

The current interpretation of the Constitution is just insane. Think hard about this sentence:

Republican lawmakers acknowledged that they had redrawn the First District for partisan gain. But they said they had not considered race in the process.

I believe the Republican lawmakers. Sure they are the party of the racists, but most of them are not particularly racist, and that’s not their focus. The focus of the Republican Party is the continued power of the Republican party. Disenfranchising black voters is just an unfortunate side effect of that goal.

Because it’s perfectly fine to disenfranchise voters to keep one party in power. And it’s fine to then use that power to appoint judges who say it’s all fine. This is done openly. It’s all perfectly legal. Sending a giant torpedo into the scow of Democracy, no problems there. After all, there is no affirmative right to vote at all.

It’s truly disgusting.

The answer is to amend the Constitution. America needs an affirmative right to vote. There is already an excellent organization, FairVote, devoted to this idea. Here is the proposed text:

SECTION 1. Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

SECTION 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

Trump Should be Acquited in the NY Hush Money Case

The case against Trump has these major elements:

  1. He had an affair with Stormy Daniels.
  2. He covered up the affair.
  3. He falsified business records.
  4. His cover up was election interference.

Are all these elements true and proven?

He had an affair with Stormy Daniels: Unquestionably true. The evidence is strong, consistent with Trump’s past behavior and both of their actions. This is not a crime by itself.

He covered up the affair: Unquestionably true. Also not a crime.

He falsified business records: Unquestionably true. The evidence is overwhelming. If he had simply paid her out of his personal accounts, there would be no case at all. Since he paid her through corporate accounts, it is falsification of business records. These are misdemeanors.

His cover up was election interference: This is where it falls apart. The theory is that if had not covered this up, the public would have known about the affair, and coming on the heels of the Access Hollywood tape, it might have swung the election. This is true, it might have! But it is not election interference. Election interference is things like stuffing the ballot box, threatening election officials, and storming the US Capitol. Election interference is interfering with the mechanisms of the election process. Election interference is not trying to influence public opinion.

Consider some other examples:

  • 2020 Joe Biden has his machine in South Carolina lean hard on local papers to support him in the key Democratic primary.
  • Joe Biden agrees to a full interview, but only with the Smartless podcast, not the New York Times.
  • Republicans lean heavily on Fox News and other outlets to continue hyping stories they think will hurt Democrats – immigration, Gaza, crime, etc.

None of these are true election interference. (Warning: I am not a lawyer.) They are just politics. Trying to influence what people believe and prioritize to change their voting behavior is not election interference, it is normal democracy.

When you take away election interference, you are left with Trump using his business to pay off Stormy Daniels, and lying about it in the business accounting. That is not a felony. None of the thirty four felony charges hold up. Therefore, he should be acquitted.

TL:DNR: Trump did everything he is accused of, but that’s not really a felony. Therefore, acquital.

The End of the Hastert Rule?

Fans of my multi-part series last year about fixes to American Democracy may remember the Hastert rule. Named for former Speaker Denny Hastert, thsi odious strategy said the Speaker won’t t bring any legislation up for a vote unless it held a majority within his own party. This kept any bill that had general support from passing, reduced bi-partisanship, and strengthened extremists on either side. (No surprise, the GOP embraced it, the Democrats mostly ignored it.)

Marjorie Taylor Greene and her bomb throwing buddies spectacularly failed to remove Mike Johnson. Why did they try to out him? Because he allowed legislation to pass with the support of Democrats. Why did this effort fail? Because Democrats voted to support Hastert.

Democrats did not do this for Kevin McCarthy, because McCarthy gave them nothing. Democrats overwhelmingly supported Johnson because he was willing to suspend the Hastert rule on key issues, and let the house pass bills by simple majority vote.

This is a great alliance, and I hope it holds through the election. Seeing Democrats and Republicans vote together is good for all of us.