According to polling data, many people want to move on from the endless legal fallout of January 6th. That’s both understandable and unavoidable. It’s unavoidable because there has to be accountability for those who violate American democracy — if we want to keep it. No doubt many voters have simply tuned out from the coverage of the legal deliberations and decisions. But that doesn’t mean Democrats shouldn’t occasionally remind voters of the tally of legal consequences leading up to the election. After all it’s a Republican mess, which really speaks to the moral decay of their party. Zachary B. Wolf rolls it out in his post, “How 2020 election accountability could hit a 2024 roadblock” at CNN Politics. As Wolf notes, “I asked CNN’s Marshall Cohen what we know about the universe of people charged and convicted for involvement in January 6. Combining data from the Justice Department and CNN, he offered this:
- 1,020-plus rioters have been charged (this includes around 339 charged with assaulting police).
- 590-plus rioters have been convicted.
- 235-plus have been sentenced to jail or prison.
- Around 55 have been charged with conspiracy of some kind.”
Of course these numbers will be updated until the last sentence is meted out. Democratic campaigns should keep the running tab and share it briefly from time to time. It’s harder to argue with numbers than long lectures. And it’s harder to argue with multiple jury decisions than high-horse pundit rants.
At the state and local level, Republicans have another gift for Democrats — GOP campaigns to defund libraries. It works like this, according to “The rising Republican movement to defund public libraries: Libraries bolster democracy. Republicans want to get rid of them” by Fabiola Cineas at Vox: “And as fights over banning books or removing them from shelves continue, libraries could be an increasing target of lawmakers’ displeasure. Experts monitoring Republican efforts to shut down public libraries told Vox that the threat is often the last step in a series of escalations. Usually, lawmakers start with book bans. If the bans aren’t as effective as they’d hope, they escalate to threatening to defund local libraries. The threats tend to occur in states where lawmakers want to restrict health care for trans people, limit drag performances and curb how teachers discuss gender, sexuality, race, and history at school.” The thing is, libraries are popular. Not just with liberals, but even conservatives who value individual initiative love libraries as places where anyone can educate themselves and lift up their prospects. Cineas reviews the Republican war against libraries in Missouri, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Michigan, Montana and Idaho. But it’s happening all across the country and the list of cities, counties and states facing Republican-lead assaults grows daily. ““Having free access to information is important in a democracy, so it has frightened a lot of people that our state would want to make that more difficult,” said Otter Bowman, the president of the Missouri Library Association and a staffer at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri. “It’s disturbing that the House’s decision to defund our libraries has become this political message. It discounts the needs of library patrons all over the state. It’s a real concern that they took so lightly.”
It turns out the GOP also has a war on voting rights for college kids. As Rotime Adeoye writes in “The GOP Can’t Beat Gen Z, But It Can Stifle Its Vote” at The Daily Beast: “Republicans in state legislatures are working around the clock to make it harder for students to vote….Earlier this month, Florida politicians rushed a bill through committeethat would stop people from voting by mail if they don’t have a verified Social Security number, a valid state-issued driver’s license, or a FloridaID card. These new rules could deter thousands of college students who attend school in Florida from voting by mail….This February, a bill in the Texas legislature was introduced by a Republican member that would forbid polling locations on college campuses throughout the state. Then in March, Idaho lawmakers used their power to ban voting with student IDs….And in Georgia since 2006, the state has only accepted student IDs from public colleges and universities, meaning students at several historically black universities in the state must use another form of identification….Earlier this month at a Republican retreat, conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell—who advised former President Donald Trump on his plans to overturn the 2020 election—shared her strategy to suppress the youth vote. Mitchell launched into an extensive diatribe, complete with a 50-slide Powerpoint presentation, telling conference attendees that they needed greater scrutiny of “these college campus locations and polling. They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm,” said Mitchell. “And we need to build strong election integrity task forces in these counties.”….
Adeoye continues, “Take a look at the last midterm election, where exit polling showedstrong youth support for Democrats, typically on issues like climate change, reproductive rights, and gun control. Voters aged 18-24 voted 61 percent for Democrats, while the 25-29 age group voted 65 percent blue….In the wake of the recent state Supreme Court election in his home state, where Republicans lost, even former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledged the GOP’s disconnect with Gen Z voters in an interview with Fox News. “To me the larger issue here—we’ve seen it particularly in Wisconsin but across the country—is younger voters. In Wisconsin, last fall, we saw about a 40-point margin that younger voters gave to the Democrats running for Senate and governor. We saw similar margins in Pennsylvania,” said Walker….With a presidential election on the horizon, Republicans are hyper-aware of Gen Z’s voting power. Although young voters in past elections have been inconsistent, Gen Z in the last midterm election put Republicans on notice. And since the GOP can’t win young voters on the issues they care about, so voter suppression strategies used for decades to suppress minority voters are now being copied and pasted to suppress Gen Z voting….But this can’t last forever. Republicans are well aware that their archaic policy ideas alone won’t bring in new voters. That’s why they’re scrambling to enforce these oppressive voting laws. They know that this new breed of Americans could boot them out of their cushy seats of power in a heartbeat….And if members of Gen Z continue to exercise their democratic rights with the same zeal they demonstrated in 2020 and 2022, those politicians who support voter suppression laws will soon be kicked to the curb. The future belongs to Gen Z, sooner than later.”