Crenshaw: “No, the GOP isn’t against election security, as the media suggests. We simply don’t agree with the Dems’ extreme, ill-conceived, knee-jerk reaction policy.”
Election security is no joke, and it should not be politicized and used as a weapon against political opponents. And yet. House Democrats on Thursday sent two “election security” bills to the Senate that they knew Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would not take up and then screamed that McConnell doesn’t care about election security.
The cynical gambit worked, and the internet soon lit up with “Moscow Mitch” and a clearly coordinated effort by leftstream media to cast McConnell as “a Russian asset.” The accusation is catchy and makes a nice follow-up to “Cocaine Mitch,” but it’s also absolutely off-the-rails insane.
The bills were both attempts to do what DC Democrats (and some Republicans) do best: spot a problem and then toss truckloads of American taxpayer dollars at it with no regard for whether or not the idea is a good one or will even address the given problem.
The “look, we tossed a high dollar amount at [insert whatever problem]!” claim is intended to show that they are busy busy busy solving problems and getting things done. Most normal Americans quit buying that sham decades ago, but it’s still a thing, particularly on the left where voters seem very impressed by politicians tossing millions, billions, and trillions at any—and, too often, no—problem.
The House Democrats’ SAFE Act passed the House with little fanfare or notice back in June. It was and is a typical “throw money at the problem” with some untenable provisions that ensured Republican refusal to engage. It passed the House 225-184 with only one Republican vote—from Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL).
The Hill reported at the time:
The House passed a Democrat-backed bill that would require election systems to use voter-verified paper ballots as an attempt to avoid election interference by a party-line vote of 225-184 on Tuesday, with only one Republican voting in favor.
The Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act — spearheaded by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) — would authorize $600 million for the Election Assistance Commission, which would be allocated to states to enhance their security ahead of 2020 and includes language that would ban voting machines from being connected to the internet and being produced in foreign countries.
In addition to the $600 million, the bill would provide $175 million biannually for “sustainment” funds aimed at maintaining election infrastructure.
It would also create a $5 million grant program administered by the National Science Foundation to research accessible paper ballot verification methods to address the needs of voters with disabilities and voters who speak English as their second language.
Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Republicans.
The Hill continued:
Republicans blasted the bill, arguing Democrats politicized legislation they feel could have passed the chamber without certain polarizing provisions.
“Mandating the exclusive use of paper ballots will create longer lines at polling places and can be lost, destroyed or manipulated far easier than electronic voting machines with a paper trail backup,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said earlier this week on the floor.
“I want to highlight the fact that there’s no evidence of voting machines being hacked in 2016, 2018 or ever,” Davis added. “So why are we forcing states to get rid of what they deem the safe technology? We should work together to safeguard technology, not abandon it.”
Davis is the ranking Republican of the House Administration Committee, which approved the bill along party lines late last week. During the committee markup, Davis repeatedly tried to introduce amendments, with the Democratic majority voting down all of them.
McConnell has rejected such measures by Democrats, according to the Hill, “citing concerns around federalizing elections.” Democrats, of course, dream of (and even pretend we already have) one national election rather than the 50 state elections we have under our Constitution.
So it was no surprise at all that McConnell did not permit Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to submit the bill under “unanimous consent”
C-SPAN has a transcript of the floor exchange; here is McConnell’s response:
THE MAJORITY LEADER. MR. McCONNELL: RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT. WHAT MY FRIEND THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IS ASKING UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO PASS IS PARTISAN LEGISLATION FROM THE DEMOCRATIC HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RELATING TO AMERICAN ELECTIONS. THIS IS THE SAME DEMOCRATIC HOUSE THAT MADE ITS FIRST BIG PRIORITY FOR THIS CONGRESS, A SWEEPING PARTISAN EFFORT TO REWRITE ALL KINDS OF THE RULES OF AMERICAN POLITICS, NOT TO ACHIEVE GREATER FAIRNESS BUT TO GIVE THEMSELVES A ONE SIZE POLITICAL BENEFIT.
THE PARTICULAR BILL THAT THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IS ASKING TO MOVE BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT IS SO PARTISAN THAT IT RECEIVED ONE, JUST ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE OVER IN THE HOUSE. SO CLEARLY THIS REQUEST IS NOT A SERIOUS EFFORT TO MAKE A LAW. CLEARLY SOMETHING SO PARTISAN THAT IT ONLY RECEIVED ONE SINGLE SOLITARY REPUBLICAN VOTE IN THE HOUSE IS NOT GOING TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE SENATE BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT.
IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY AND THE SECURITY OF OUR ELECTIONS IN OUR COUNTRY. ANY WASHINGTON INVOLVEMENT IN THAT TASK NEEDS TO BE UNDERTAKEN WITH EXTREME CARE, EXTREME CARE AND ON A THOROUGHLY BIPARTISAN BASIS. OBVIOUSLY THIS LEGISLATION IS NOT THAT. IT’S JUST A HIGHLY PARTISAN BILL FROM THE SAME FOLKS WHO SPENT TWO YEARS HYPING UP A CONSPIRACY THEORY ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND RUSSIA AND WHO CONTINUE TO IGNORE THIS ADMINISTRATION’S PROGRESS AT CORRECTING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S FAILURES ON THIS SUBJECT IN THE 2018 ELECTION. THEREFORE I OBJECT. [all caps in original]
The second bill that McConnell did not take up concerned a Democrat bill to require political campaigns to report to the FBI any offers of foreign assistance. This bill, too, is “old news” in that it had already been blocked in the Senate by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) back in June.
It is already illegal for political campaigns to accept foreign assistance, so this falls under the bells and whistles category of expanding government bureaucracy for its own sake and for the shimmering illusion of “solving a problem.” Layers of nonviable “protections” against an already illegal activity are, Republicans argue, onerous and unnecessary. The bill, of course, is an implicit attack on President Trump, so it’s a non-starter on those grounds, as well.
So, you might be wondering, why the bizarre, sleazy surfacing of “Moscow Mitch”? Given that there is no there there regarding the bills themselves, at least from the Republican standpoint, it appears that it’s another concerted Democrat and leftstream media effort to isolate, demonize, and polarize their target.
The idea is to keep their base ginned up and deluded, and it’s been pretty effective so far.
Consider the headlines:
And of course, #MoscowMitch quickly trended on Twitter, as did pathetic and wild mischaracterizations of the bills McConnell blocked and why he did so.
"He is aiding & abetting Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert U.S. democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI…All Republicans are saying Russia is trying to subvert U.S. democracy & Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.–@JoeNBC pic.twitter.com/vV1TekFgHF
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) July 26, 2019
#MoscowMitch Trends on Twitter as Mitch McConnell Blocks Election Security Bills Despite 'Unprecedented Level' of Russian Interference .WHAT DO YOU CALL MEMBER OF UNITED STATES SENATE WHO
REFUSES TO PROTECT??FROM RUSSIA,THEN DOES BUSINESS WITH RUSSIA https://t.co/oj0qpCW4Uz
— Cher (@cher) July 28, 2019
It just doesn't get any better than this! First two are up right now, second two will be erected this week! Hey #MoscowMitch! We're just getting started!https://t.co/inGNJ3iM46 pic.twitter.com/UPNPos5BWL
— MadDogPAC (@maddogpac) July 28, 2019
Why would a patriot refuse to pass legislation to protect our elections from foreign interference? Ask @senatemajldr. He obstructed the vote on legislation passed by the democratic house to protect our elections. He is not a patriot!!! #MoscowMitch https://t.co/HtjXHOB1Gj
— Christian's Grandma (@SullivanSkaja) July 28, 2019
Team Mitch, literally @Team_Mitch on Twitter, is pushing back, as are many others.
The Democrats’ Russian conspiracy theories against President Trump hit a dead end during the Mueller hearing. No collusion. Case closed.
So now, like a failed doomsday cult that predicted the end of the world, the liberal grifters need a fresh target: Mitch.
— Team Mitch (Text MITCH to 47360) (@Team_Mitch) July 27, 2019
A major newspaper printed appalling allegations that the Majority Leader of the United States Senate has committed treason.
Even if many are simply tuning out these media hysterics because they’ve been programmed to 11 for so long.. this is unacceptable.https://t.co/bHGEXWa5Hl
— Retired Orrin G. Hatch (@RetiredOrrin) July 27, 2019
The media boldly spins narratives to fit the Dems’ talking points. NRO explains the latest example.
No, the GOP isn’t against election security, as the media suggests. We simply don’t agree with the Dems’ extreme, ill-conceived, knee-jerk reaction policy.https://t.co/Kh7tplpfUt
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) July 27, 2019
This is pathetic.
The Washington Post should be ashamed for allowing this to print. https://t.co/SnRFu9I1X6
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 27, 2019
After eight disastrous years of the Obama-Biden-Clinton Russian “reset,” it is refreshing to see the left finally recognize Russia as the global threat that it has been for well over half a century.
What will be fun to watch when Democrats win the White House—and they will, at some point—is how they attempt to undo the damage to Russia that they’ve done with their rabid base. It won’t be so easy to scoff at the idea of a Russian threat after they’ve spent over three years (to date) trumpeting how dangerous Russia’s agenda is when it comes to America.DONATE
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