MAGA Redeemers

What I feared would be in place for the 2020 elections may be ready to go in 2022, armed citizens enforcing the “Election Integrity” measures enacted in response to a sore loser’s repeated lies about election fraud.  The sore loser had Bagpiper Bill Barr, in the lead up to 2020, making repeated claims about the “obvious” potential for massive voter fraud, from mail-in and drop-box voting, before Barr told the sore loser, privately, amid dozens of voting fraud cases dismissed for lack of evidence, that DOJ investigations found no fraud anywhere on a scale that would have changed any election.  

The thing I worried about tin 2020 was intimidation of voters by armed goons at polling places and everywhere else.  It didn’t happen on a wide scale, thankfully, but these assholes have had two years to work out the kink in that plan of organizing an army of MAGA “poll watchers,” the army of armed loyalists MAGA man had called for before the 2020 election.   Here’s Heather Cox Richardson from last night’s Letter to an American:

Over the weekend, the Maricopa County Elections Department announced that two people, both armed and dressed in tactical gear, stationed themselves near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona. They left when law enforcement officers arrived. At least two voters later filed complaints of voter intimidation, both complaining that they were filmed dropping off ballots. One complained of being accused of “being a mule,” a reference to people who are allegedly paid to gather ballots and stuff drop boxes for Democratic candidates.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Recorder Stephen Richer issued a statement: “We are deeply concerned about the safety of individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to vote and who are lawfully taking their early ballot to a drop box…. [V]igilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints.”

She then goes on to describe the Redeemers, violent racist motherfuckers in the former Confederacy who employed terrorism to rescue endangered White Women from the ravages of “Negro Rule”.   It started with the Ku Klux Klan, who killed an estimated 1,000 southerners before the 1868 election to ensure their cherished way of life would not be changed by voters, or based on the victors’ dictates after an unfairly won war.   The terrorism of the Klan was not enough to ensure the prewar status quo, rich whites organized to make sure to preach loudly, so that any changes would be rejected by the populace. They’d win if all their folks were riled up to go vote and they made it hard for the wrong people to vote.  They used now familiar MAGA arguments and displays to motivate their aggrieved base to vote their little hearts out.  Heather:

Black voting, they insisted, was “Socialism in South Carolina.”

In 1876, “Redeemers” set out to put an end to the southern governments that were elected in systems that allowed Black men to vote. “Rifle clubs” held contests outside Republican political rallies, “Red Shirts” marched with their guns in parades.

Their intimidation worked. Democrats took over the South and created a one-party system that lasted virtually unbroken until 1965. Without the oversight that a healthy multiparty system provides, southern governments became the corrupt tools of a few wealthy men, and the rest of the population fell into a poverty from which it could not escape until the federal government began to invest in the region in the 1930s.

The great triumph of Movement Conservatives in the 1980s was to convince Republican voters to ditch the ideology of their founding and instead embrace the ideology of the old Confederacy.

After World War II, the vast majority of Americans in both parties agreed that the government should protect equality before the law and promote equal access to resources. That system gave us highways, business regulation, world-class universities, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air and water, labor protections, and a narrowing gap between rich and poor.

The former Confederacy, in many ways, and certainly in every way for Blacks, was run like a fascist state, in many cases also like a feudal state, ruled by a few wealthy white employers who made the law for everyone.  Heather then describes the effort, accelerated by the actor Ronald Reagan’s administration (1980), but starting right after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ruled segregation in public schools illegal (and started the rise of private white schools, school vouchers, Betsey DeVos, etc), to return America to the good old days of the former Confederacy in the south, where one party ruled unmolested, making laws to ensure its one-party rule in perpetuity.   Making the Confederacy Great Again.

To paraphrase a giant, stinking, organge pile of scats:  We have to fight like hell, because if we don’t fight like hell, we’re not going to have a sometimes successful experiment in democracy anymore.

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