There is an increasing din in America that this self-congratulatory cradle of democracy is not up to the primal task of planning and implementing ain a couple of months. So sullied are we by the institutional failure to hold ’s government accountable for anything that there is a growing suspicion that the cabal just might be able to thwart the coming storm by undermining the process at every turn.
The first checkpoint for the nation on the road toDay is to see if anyone has learned anything from the national pandemic response disaster. The same playbook that has left more than 170,000 dead souls in its wake is being dusted off again. And this time, it is the that is going to take a massive hit if do not collectively and forcefully demand something better.
America’s Problem With Racism Has Become Clearer
Remember back in early April, less than five months ago? By then, it had become obvious to virtually every public health official and every identified plan.in America that the coronavirus pandemic was a serious threat to the health and well-being of the nation. All but and his minions demanded a national plan to limit the spread of the disease that included development of treatment protocols, adequate and timely availability of supplies, a uniform and aggressive national testing program with contact tracing, and the federal funding necessary to do all of this. The nation is still waiting for that
Fast forward to August, now less than three months before the scheduled November 3. Even while death and disease ravage large parts of the nation and subvert economic and social well-being, there is an urgent national need to prepare for and ensure a free and fair process.
This should be obvious, even to Republicans who show little interest in. It should be equally obvious that an efficient and uniform national plan for mail-in balloting, early voting and a reduced number of is more critical in this cycle than ever before, including national standards and the federal resources to ensure compliance. So, why isn’t it happening?
The reason is as simple as it has been with the pandemic response: A venal cabal led by an ignorant narcissist will not use the institutions of the federal government to confront urgent problems unless any proposed solutions are sure to work for them and can be defined in politically advantageous terms. Neither human cost nor institutional integrity is part of the calculus.
As with the federal government’s pandemic response, there is readily at hand the time-honored way to deflect federal government responsibility in America. Make a speech about the urgent problem and then consign responsibility for solving the problem to state and local “laboratories.” This is always done with a pious nod to the US Constitution.
The result has been a patchwork and often conflicting response to gun violence, educational deficits, poverty, health-care reform and infrastructure inadequacies, to name a few. So, Florida, do your own pandemic response. So, South Dakota, bring on the motorcycle madness in the midst of a pandemic. And then just to top it off, make sure that the federal messaging gives each state the right to define “freedom” for its own denizens in a nation with no internal borders. Does this make any sense? Of course not.
After an initial burst oftestosterone and the conjuring of miracles, someone told that if he took charge of the nation’s pandemic response like a real president, he would also bear responsibility if it didn’t work out. And that playing golf while people were dying on your watch would be difficult for someone actually in charge. Back in April, that quickly ended any effort to design and implement a national pandemic response plan.
So now, it is time to apply the same “logic” to the upcoming. Someone has told that he is losing the because he failed to implement a national response to the pandemic. From there, it was a short crossed wire to the message that you can’t lose if there is no .
Back to 50 States
What will save the day forand his minions? That same 50 “laboratories” strategy that has undermined the national pandemic response will now be unleashed to ensure that freedom rings. All has to do this time is the same thing he did in April: undermine any cohesive message, create institutional confusion, and provide neither standards nor resources to ensure a . In short, pass the problem to the states and localities and do everything possible to ensure chaos.
And then, for an insurance policy, appoint a political hack to run the US ground just when it will be needed most. (Remember the once-proud , now reduced to offering compromised pandemic “guidance” as soon as some unnamed Trump acolyte gives them the nod.)into the
Even while running around the rest of the world telling other countries that voting and fairare singular components of democracy, America has never had a national plan that even begins to address its most fundamental democratic failure, pathetic voter turnout. Further, there are almost no national standards that control voting practices and procedures, even for national . In this ambiance of neglect, voting in each of the 50 states has been blighted to some degree by gerrymandering, voter suppression measures and dubious procedures that have thrived to undermine the equity of the US process.
The nation does not have the luxury of over 55% of the voting-age population actually bothered to vote. Think about that and how easily chaos thrives when so many don’t care enough to resist. Many will argue that there are lots of reasons for low voter turnout, from ignorance of process to impediments to voter registration and actual voting. Whatever the reason, we are back again to 50 states, 50 voting systems, 50 different sets of impediments to voting and a relatively mobile population.neglect this time around. In the 2016 , only a little
Thus, any attempt to undermine the voting process has a lot of entry points and almost no up-front vigilance. It seems that counting the votes of those who do vote is much more important than ensuring that most eligible voters can actually vote.
The Trumpplaybook is clear: incite division and chaos, divert responsibility to the states and localities, undermine the credibility and capacity of the US , repeatedly and falsely disparage the integrity of -in ballots, and most importantly, provide daily conflicting messages that will be gobbled up by the press. And this doesn’t even get to Trump’s open-door policy to foreign influence in the process.
If somehowseems to have won the , he will heroically claim victory after having vanquished all the impediments to such an unlikely event and quickly forget that he rigged the . If seems to have lost the , he will angrily announce that he cannot honor the results of a rigged and quickly forget that he was the one who tried to rig it in the first place. The surest path to avoiding either of these outcomes is a forceful institutional response, quickly setting forth a national plan for ensuring a free and fair . That will have to come from Congress and be reinforced by the media.
America cannot allow the 50-state “solution” to overwhelm what is left of the country’s democratic foundation. That is the same “solution” that now has over 170,000 corpses crying out for something better.
*[A version of this article was cross-posted on the author’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]
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