Op/Ed

Editorial: Thanking our lucky stars

Vermont voters should thank their lucky stars they live here and not in Florida, Texas, Arizona and a host of other states where Republican-dominated Legislatures have passed and are passing laws to restrict their citizens’ right to vote. Most of those restrictions come in the form of reducing the time allotted to cast absentee ballots, the availability of voting by mail and identification requirements.
The actions are meant to restrict the voting rights of people who traditionally support Democrats and favor those who vote Republican. It has been an awful display by Republicans of using political power at the state level to work against the nation’s democratic norms, all of it promulgated by the Trump-based lie that the election was “stolen” from him because of “fraudulent” votes in the past election.
That Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has rejected Trump’s manufactured lie about the election results, and that he has championed an expansion of voting access to all Vermonters, are no small things for which to be grateful.
American voters must remember that of the 60 cases of alleged voter fraud in federal and state courts following November’s General Election, only one was found to have any merit and that was of a very isolated event. In all cases, including rulings overseen by Republican-appoint judges, no election results were overturned and the elections in every contested state were verified by Republican legislators and often by Republican secretaries of state, who vehemently defended the integrity of those elections.
Can Republican voters truly discount the three-months of legal contests that verified, beyond a doubt, the election results that led to Trump’s overwhelming defeat in the Electoral College (306 for Biden vs. 232 for Trump), and by the biggest popular vote margin defeat in the past couple of decades that gave President Joe Biden a 7 million vote victory?
That the national Republican leadership, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, has seized on what Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, has called “the Big Lie,” as a test of GOP loyalty to Trump and the party has led many Americans, including a fair number of moderate Republicans and many Independents, to see this as another step in the party’s abandonment of its sanity and any former values.
Rep. Cheney, who was ousted Wednesday as the party’s No. 3 leader, in a previous commentary lamented the direction the party was headed: “Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law,” she wrote. “No other American president has ever done this. The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.
“I am a conservative Republican,” she continued, “and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The Electoral College has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud. The question before us now is whether we will join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have.”
Former Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and in the U.S. Senate from 2013 to 2019 until he was defeated in a primary by taking a stand against Trump’s lies, commended Rep. Cheney’s stance and issued this critique of today’s GOP: “The party’s steady embrace of dishonesty as a central premise has brought us to this low and dangerous place…. It is elementary to have to say this, but we did not become a great nation by believing or espousing nonsense, or by embracing lunacy. And if my party continues down this path, we will not be fit to govern.”
Angelo Lynn

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