Editorial: Democratic House bill is a naked power grab

With Democrats firmly ensconced in power in the House of Representatives, the first order of business is, of course, to hold onto that power in perpetuity.

The 600-page H.R. 1, dubiously dubbed “For the People Act,” wrests voting law decisions from the states and shreds the First Amendment right of free speech. It is co-sponsored by all three of Nevada’s Democratic representatives — Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford.

The bill would require automatic voter registration, online voter registration and registration on Election Day, allow felons to vote, require 15 days of early voting, end the automatic purging of voters from registration lists when they don’t vote or fail to respond to mailed inquiries, dole out a 600 percent government match for certain “small” political donations and make Election Day a holiday — all of which erode the integrity of the ballot.

H.R. 1 also seeks to curb the free speech protections for corporations, unions and other groups upheld by the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC by requiring increased disclosure of donors and online advertisers. 

In what is an embarrassing ignorance of history the bill declares, “The Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the Constitution to empower monied interests at the expense of the American people in elections has seriously eroded over 100 years of congressional action to promote fairness and protect elections from the toxic influence of money.”

The very first such congressional action mentioned is the Tillman Act of 1907 that prohibited corporations from making contributions in connection with federal elections.

Lest we forget, the sponsor of the legislation was none other than Democratic Sen. Benjamin “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina — the leader of a Ku Klux Klan-style lynch mob known as the “Red Shirts,” a man who declared, “The Negro must remain subordinated or be exterminated” in order to “keep the white race at the top of the heap.”

The sole purpose of Tillman’s bill was to gag northern corporations who hired blacks and tended to favor Republicans.

Also, as Justice Clarence Thomas noted in his dissent in Citizens United, disclosure requirements have spawned a cottage industry that uses donor information to intimidate, retaliate, threaten and boycott individuals and businesses with whom they disagree. 

Thomas wrote, “The disclosure, disclaimer, and reporting requirements in (the law) are also unconstitutional. … Congress may not abridge the ‘right to anonymous speech’ based on the ‘simple interest in providing voters with additional relevant information …’”

The Founders frequently engaged in anonymous speech and protected it with the First Amendment. The Federalist Papers were penned under pseudonyms.

In addition to Nevada’s Democratic House delegates, the state’s two Democratic senators — Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen — have both railed against the free speech funded by what they pejoratively call “unaccountable dark money.”

Nevada Rep. Lee called H.R. 1 “a sweeping package of pro-democracy, and anti-corruption reforms that will put electoral power back in the hands of the American people. H.R. 1 will curb the influence of big money in politics, make it easier, not harder for Americans to practice their fundamental right to vote, and ensure that politicians actually serve the public — not special interest groups.” Special interest groups like the Democratic Party?

While the House is likely to pass this legislative and constitutional abomination, its chances in the Republican-controlled Senate are slim. 

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky rightly stated in an op-ed in The Washington Post, “They’re trying to clothe this power grab with cliches about ‘restoring democracy’ and doing it ‘For the People,’ but their proposal is simply a naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party. It should be called the Democrat Politician Protection Act.” 

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

26 comments on “Editorial: Democratic House bill is a naked power grab

  1. Anonymous says:

    Exactly how does allowing voters to register on Election Day, or making Election Day a holiday, or preventing states from purging voter rolls, or even allowing felons to vote, affect the integrity of elections?

    And on what basis can an effort to increase the absolute numbers of voters, without any regard to anything other than the absolute numbers, be classified as a “power grab” by democrats?

    Why is it that republicans are so afraid of efforts to increase the numbers of people voting? What does this say about their mindset as relates to the American public I wonder. (But not really)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and anonymous is me.

  3. Rincon says:

    I echo your questions, Anonymous. No answers so far, I see.

    “Three-fourths of survey respondents — including 66 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats — back a constitutional amendment outlawing Citizens United.” https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-05-10/study-most-americans-want-kill-citizens-united-constitutional-amendment And yet, not a peep about addressing the will of this overwhelming majority.

    Also remember that nearly 90% of us support universal background checks for gun purchases, but the party in power, the same ones that rail about these proposed voting measures, ignore the clear will of the American people by refusing to address this issue. Is this behavior consistent with people who are highly concerned about carrying out the will of the people? Not in the least.

    If a very large majority want to enact something that Conservatives think undermines the democratic process, and if Conservatives try to thwart such efforts by procedural means, are they undermining the democratic process as well? And of course, does anyone think that gerrymandering does not undermine the democratic process as well? Why are we so quiet about obvious efforts to deny the will of large majorities by underhanded means, but rail against some common sense measures to remove or minimize barriers to voting that exist today?

  4. Rincon says:

    Again, ignoring an overwhelming majority: “A growing percentage of Americans see climate change as an “imminent” threat driven mainly by human activity, and more than two-thirds want Washington to work with other nations to combat it, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-usa-poll/more-americans-view-climate-change-as-imminent-threat-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKBN1OC1FX

    Why do the Republicans feel so free to ignore the clear wishes of the people? Simple. Our nation is now a semi-plutocracy. Money produces votes.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You know Rincon one poster once suggested that it wasn’t voters that republicans were against, it was “illegals” who were allegedly voting that the right had problems with.

    Then you read pieces like the one Thomas wrote here and realize, or should I say better, you’re reminded, that it just isn’t so. The right just objects to losing and democracy or our beloved constitutional republic, or mom Chevrolet and Apple pie be damned.

    They go on trying to block people from voting because they know that the people who currently don’t vote in elections are more likely to vote for democrats if they do vote. We know this. So, it’s not democracy,mor our constitutional republic or the rights of all citizens to vote that they care about, its winning elections.

    I mean can you imagine if democrats did what republicans seem to have no shame doing in this country when it comes to voting? Imagine democrats identifying a particular constituency of the right, like say Evangelical Christians, then finding the patterns those folks follow when registering to vote (like say, at Sunday services) then change the rules making it against the rules to register people to vote on Sundays? The right would freak the hell out…so to speak. Now their actions are no less dispicable and definitely are intended to stop likely democratic voters from voting but those actions are actually DEFENDED here.


  6. That’s why the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, so that an overwhelming majority could not take away the fundamental rights of the minority — rights such as free speech, even anonymously, and the right to keep and bear arms.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What’s why?

    I asked the question originally and got no answer (and still haven’t) but how do the actions described take away anyone’s rights?

    What do you have against people voting, I mean other than that they aren’t likely to vote for the things you’re supporting?

    Athos said here once that he had no problem with “legal” voters, that it was those pretend bad ole “illegal” voters he was trying to head off at the pass.

    Well, the actions you describe the democrats wanting to take don’t make it easier for illegals to vote, they make it easier for legal voters to vote. Mao what’s the problem?

  8. They make it easier to cheat. Vote early and often.

  9. Rincon says:

    What an interesting theory. At least it appears to be theory since no one has shown any substantial voter fraud in recent times, and it’s a very shaky one at that. So for example, making election day a holiday, makes it easy to cheat? Is there a mechanism to this or is this merely a baseless assertion?

  10. HighflyinBrien says:

    Apparently there were 44% more folks voting than were registered to vote in 11 California counties. There were also groups soliciting signatures from homeless folks in exchange for cigarettes, beer, and money for provisional and absentee ballots. “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the ballots,” just refer to LBJ in Texas and Joe Kennedy in Illinois.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Apparently” according to whom?

  12. Steve says:

    That’s the kinda rumor and hype failing to purge registration rolls of people who haven’t voted for a few cycles.
    Which leads to a question, how does purging non voters from the roll hurt elections?

    And, why would we need early voting if we have a national holiday for voting?

  13. Rincon says:

    Nonvoters can instantly become voters unless the government actively tries to obstruct this essential right, so yes, purging nonvoters can change elections and deny the will of the people. Otherwise, Republicans wouldn’t be trying so hard to remove them. The failure to vote should not handicap a citizen’s right to vote in the future.

    The only real need for early voting if voting day becomes a holiday would be for people who travel out of their district, and so, cannot vote there. Absentee voting might be adequate, but in what way could early voting bring on voter fraud?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think this whole thing is the left’s “photo ID” at the polls hype.
    A non problem in search of a reason to exist.

  15. Steve says:

    And, I think there is really nothing wrong with our election system as it stands now.
    But, never let a good hype go without a fight, eh?

  16. Rincon says:

    You mean except for the fact that it has fostered and maintains a permanent duopoly of two parties? Or do you think permanent duopolies are a good thing?

  17. Steve says:

    How we regulate and maintain voter registration has nothing to with “fostering” anything.
    The left is making up shit to counter the rights shitty claims.

  18. Rincon says:

    Sorry Steve. I took the words, “election system” literally. It seems that you were only referring to our present system of voter registration, which I agree is pretty decent. Two pertinent questions about kicking nonvoters off the rolls: How many elections does one have to miss to be eliminated and once someone is removed, are they notified, or is it sprung upon them the next time they go to the polls?

  19. Anonymous says:

    We get registration cards in the mail every year. They tell us to do nothing if everything is correct, or contact the registrar to make corrections.
    We also receive sample ballots every election. (We mark them up as we go along to election day and take them to the ballot box. This makes our time at the polls very quick. It’s a snap to transfer our selections from the sample ballot to the voting device.)

    These 2 methods are how Nevada verifies we are still at this address, still want to be registered as we are and yes, still alive. Moreover, we go vote. This keeps us on the rolls.
    Nevada is a very transitory state. People come here hoping to strike it rich all the time. Most run fast with the IRS not far behind.
    It makes complete sense to remove people who don’t vote and don’t respond to the mailings because there are very good odds these people have moved out of state.

    California does a poor job differentiating from those they have removed from the rolls and those who are still registered to vote in the state. This has lead to the situation “Judicial Watch” hypes all too vociferously. If they did some real checking they would see California purges people from the rolls too.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Not sure, but I think it is three election cycles before a Nevada voter is removed from the rolls.

  21. Steve says:

    Damn this new “feature”, the last 2 posts are me.

  22. HighflyinBrien says:

    The hype from the left about so-called suppression of voting rights by requiring an official state ID is total balderdash. Same day registration which is an invitation to vote harvesting schemes is insanity…and both the left and the right are complicit in shenanigans with provisional and absentee ballots. And it’s essential to update the voter rolls to deter the dead (Chicago), those who’ve moved out of state, or are registered in more than one state, & those who are NOT US citizens from voting or having there ballots pilfered by the “harvesters.” The Carter – Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform addressed and put forth solutions to all of these situations. It was a bi-partisan committee and the Smart ID needed to board a plane now, as well as State Pictured ID’s at no cost to low income citizens were just a couple of their recommended remedies. Both sides need to stop crying wolf and begin to embrace common sense solutions.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree that a voter ID requirement is reasonable, and it would eliminate the need to take anyone off the rolls. But tell me, considering the problems we have today such as our abysmally high murder, crime, drug related death, infant mortality, and suicide rates, does it really make sense to divert major attention from these to address a problem that doesn’t seem to exist in any substantial way? Show me evidence that we have a problem with voter fraud, and I’ll take this seriously. Otherwise, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    And as a reminder, I still haven’t heard from those who claim that making voting day a holiday would ruin our representative republic. By what means? What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

  24. Rincon says:

    Sorry, I’m Anonymous

  25. Anonymous says:

    That’s a good one Rincon!

    “Sorry, I’m anonymous”
    -signed Rincon

    I laughed

  26. Rincon says:

    I just hope I won’t be accused of assuming a false identity 🙂

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