Washington Watch: McConnell’s confession

There are more illegal immigrants working at Donald Trump’s resorts and other properties than there are those who voted in all the elections nationwide last year.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Donald Trump tweeted that “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote….All over the country…voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped.” His source for this startling news is not American intelligence agencies, which he considers “naïve” and uninformed, but “@foxandfriends.”
It comes from his favorite source, as he has shown consistently, a trio of schvitzers on a couch, whom he watches regularly as part of his unsupervised “executive time.”
Here’s the truth. There are more illegal immigrants working at Donald Trump’s resorts and other properties than there are those who voted in all the elections nationwide last year. When the spotlight was shone on this hypocrisy, his businesses, run by his sons, began summarily firing the people.
His Texas numbers are a Texas-sized myth, one he obviously and repeatedly has never bothered to verify. That earned him another four Pinocchios from The Washington Post fact checker.
Such charges are common for Trump. The day after his election, he said the only reason he lost the popular vote was that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton. He spent millions of taxpayer dollars on a bogus commission led by a charlatan to investigate illegal voting and disbanded it when it came up empty-handed.
The bogus charges are only a part of the GOP’s campaign to suppress voting by those who might be inclined to vote Democratic.
THE MOST blatant admission of this came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican declared any election reform legislation coming out of the House of Representatives would be dead on arrival in the Senate, where he controls what bills make it to the floor.
House Democrats introduced HR 1, the For the People Act, to revamp elections and make Election Day a federal holiday. A majority of the House signed on as cosponsors even before committee hearings begin. The whole idea is to make it easier for more people to cast legitimate ballots.
That’s what apparently frightens McConnell and Republicans.
Voter turnout in the United States is among the lowest among Western democracies. In Israel’s 2015 election, 71.8% of voters turned out, compared to only about 56% in the 2016 US presidential election. One big reason may be that voting day is a national holiday in Israel.
McConnell, in a floor speech, dismissed HR 1 as a “power grab” by Democrats, leading an election law and voting rights expert from the senator’s alma mater, the University of Kentucky College of Law, to ask: “Are you really afraid of more eligible people going to the polls?”
The answer is “Yes” if the voters aren’t white, Christian and Republican like McConnell.
There’s nothing new about GOP racism, but it has intensified since it was the centerpiece of the Nixon-Agnew appeal to the “silent majority.” That was a code for southern whites who fled the Democratic Party after Lyndon Johnson signed major civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. Trump and his troops have abandoned any semblance of subtlety.
HR 1 does more than establish a national holiday. It also calls for automatic voter registration, felon re-enfranchisement (which particularly benefits minorities), improved election security, expanded early voting, vote by mail, improved access to polling places and methods to make voting more convenient. Several states have already adopted some of these reforms, and the result has been improved voter turnout, according to Prof. Joshua Douglas of the University of Kentucky.
This legislation would benefit the elderly, the poor, the working class, immigrants, new citizens, minorities and others more likely to vote Democratic. Jews are an aging community and vote in higher percentages of their share of the population than most other groups, so restrictions on access could be particularly harmful for them.
One badly needed reform would be abolition of the electoral college and direct election of presidents. But it’s not in HR 1, since the chances of that happening are slim to none, because those who benefit the most from the present system – the small states – have the blocking votes.
McConnell takes pride in being the Senate’s leading and most effective opponent of campaign finance reform and greater disclosure. He is a proponent of secrecy in contributions, so voters cannot find out what special interests are clandestinely backing which candidates.
The Kentucky senator, who proudly engineered a trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy, denounced HR 1 as a Democratic “power grab.”
“Just what America needs, another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid to go out and work” to elect Democrats, McConnell said. He called it “the Democrat Politician Protection Act.”
McConnell’s attack on HR 1 is the clearest admission yet that the more voters who go to the polls, the more likely it is to benefit Democrats.
That’s why we’ve seen so many voter suppression measures enacted primarily by states with Republican governors or legislatures. Many of these have been struck down by state and federal courts; they may have been touted by sponsors as efforts to prevent voter fraud, an almost nonexistent crime, but they are the real fraud because they are intended to suppress voting by “undesirables,” in GOP eyes.
November’s elections showed the GOP has become more white, more male, more Christian and less educated, and instead of courting minority voters it is trying to keep them from voting.
When Trump says Democrats oppose his border wall because caravans of tens of thousands of Latinos are marching north to the United States so they can vote Democratic, as if there were polling stations along the borders, he knows that’s another of his four Pinocchio lies.
Just in case he wasn’t aware, the right to vote requires citizenship, and that can take years. If he doesn’t know, he can ask his wife and in-laws.
Former senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) tweeted: “What is Mitch afraid of? Answer: the people.”
Asked and answered.