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Rich Conservatives Storming State Capitols with Lies and Legislation to Curb Voting

“We are going to take the fierce fire that is in every single one of our bellies to right the wrongs of November,” said Heritage Action for America exec Jessica Anderson in April of her organization’s effort to craft and pass voter-suppression laws in multiple states.

The wrongs of November? There was no election fraud, no hacking of voting machines, no massive turnout of ineligible voters, no forgery or miscount or destruction ballots. The only people with guts on fire over “wrongs in November” are the crackpots and corporate tyrants who are mad their lies and liar-in-chief lost.

But when conservatives lose the game, they rewrite the rules so the people who beat them can’t play. They are doping that now in our legislatures, waging a quiet blitzkrieg with astroturfed legislation to take away our access to the ballot:

In a private meeting last month with big-money donors, the head of a top conservative group boasted that her outfit had crafted the new voter suppression law in Georgia and was doing the same with similar bills for Republican state legislators across the country. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”

The Georgia law had “eight key provisions that Heritage recommended,” Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, told the foundation’s donors at an April 22 gathering in Tucson, in a recording obtained by the watchdog group Documented and shared with Mother Jones. Those included policies severely restricting mail ballot drop boxes, preventing election officials from sending absentee ballot request forms to voters, making it easier for partisan workers to monitor the polls, preventing the collection of mail ballots, and restricting the ability of counties to accept donations from nonprofit groups seeking to aid in election administration.

All of these recommendations came straight from Heritage’s list of “best practices” drafted in February. With Heritage’s help, Anderson said, Georgia became “the example for the rest of the country” [Ari Berman and Nick Surgey, “Leaked Video: Dark Money Group Brags About Writing GOP Voter Suppression Bills Across the Country,” Mother Jones, 2021.05.13].

Anderson and her fellow plotters are quietly storming state capitols around the country with a campaign of lies rooted in the philosophy that Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich expressed in 1980:

Speaking in 1980 at a meeting of evangelical leaders in Dallas, Weyrich bluntly articulated his radical views on voting rights. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” he said. “Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down” [Berman and Surgey, 2021.05.13].

Conservatives are not fighting for election security. They are fighting to secure their grip on power by taking power away from you. You need to fight that, by (1) questioning every lie about election fraud (“What election fraud? When? Where? By whom?”), (2) questioning the sources of this anti-voter legislation, and (3) backing candidates (who will almost invariably be Democrats) who stand up for your right and all Americans’ right to vote.


  1. Bill Poppen 2021-05-15 08:13

    In Tennessee we have the Family Action Council that tracks every legislative bill and submits daily reports of which legislative members veer from FAC’s designated goals. I imagine SD has a similar set-up. To me they constantly cross-over the boundaries of church and state. They appear to be coordinating their efforts with Heritage Action for America

  2. Eve Fisher 2021-05-15 08:45

    It’s been a heck of a day for excellent articles rebutting the GOP push to wipe out voting rights (and other rights) for many people. From Heather Cox Richardson:

    “The Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional enabled opponents of the new government system to tie racism to their cause. They warned that the expanded government meant the expensive protection of Black rights, which cost tax dollars. They argued it was simply a redistribution of wealth, just as their counterparts had done in the Reconstruction South.

    “With the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, that argument increasingly fed the idea that Black and Brown people were lazy and wanted to receive government handouts rather than work. Businessmen and social traditionalists eager to get rid of the popular New Deal government told voters that government programs to help ordinary Americans were “socialism,” redistributing money from hardworking white people to lazy people of color. They talked of “makers” and “takers.”

    “To purge the nation of socialism, then, and return it to the pre–New Deal government, they set out to limit voting. In 1980, Paul Weyrich, the co-founder of the Heritage Foundation that has designed much of the legislation currently being passed in Republican-dominated states, said “I don’t want everybody to vote….our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    “By 1986, Republicans were talking about cutting down on Black voters through “ballot integrity” drives. As Democrats sought to expand voting, most notably with the 1993 Motor Voter Act, Republicans began to charge that they were losing elections only because of voter fraud, although experts agree that voter fraud is exceedingly rare and does not change election outcomes. Since then, arguing that they are simply protecting the vote, Republicans have become dependent on ID laws and other voter suppression measures.

    “But by 2020, it was clear that the Republicans’ drive to slash the government back to its 1920 form, along with the racism and sexism that had become central to the party to pull voters to their standard, had become so unpopular that it was unlikely they could continue to win elections. And so, Republicans began to say that the United States is “not a democracy,” as Utah Senator Mike Lee tweeted in October. “Democracy isn’t the objective,” he continued, “liberty, peace, and prospe[r]ity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”

    “With the election of Democrat Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with a Democratic Congress, the leadership of the Republican Party has taken the next step. They are rejecting the legitimacy of the election, doubling down on Trump’s Big Lie that he won. Claiming to want to combat “voter fraud,” they are backing bills across the country to suppress Democratic voting, making sure that no one but a Republican can win an election.
    “Just as white southerners argued after the Civil War, Republican leaders claim to be acting in the best interests of the nation. They are standing firm against “the radical Socialist Democrat agenda,” making sure that no wealthy person’s tax dollars go to schools or roads or social programs. They are “saving” America, just as white supremacists “saved” the Jim Crow South.”

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-05-15 10:00

    What can anyone say about the Lying Losers? Its better to laugh at their ignorance and it seems, their stupidity

  4. jerry 2021-05-15 10:11

    Joe Manchin says to fix it. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been an endless source of frustration for his fellow Democrats. He clings to dreams of bipartisanship that seem like fairy tales in a world where Republicans defrock their own leaders for the sin of acknowledging that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. And his loyalty to the filibuster may doom most of his party’s legislative agenda.

    Yet on Wednesday, Manchin proposed a solution to the congressional impasse over voting rights legislation that could be even more aggressive than a parallel proposal offered by Democratic leaders.”

    Let the rich eat cake and stuff it where the sun don’t shine. If this passes, or should I say, when it passes, all of this voter suppression will be history and it will not be killed off by the supreme court for any reason. Brilliant!

  5. cibvet 2021-05-15 11:22

    I suspect Manchins’ support of the John Lewis voting rights bill will diminish greatly when he is no longer invited to the repub “cigar and whiskey” evening bull session.

  6. bearcreekbat 2021-05-15 11:30

    It is interesting to consider the psychological characteristics of those that spread the voter fraud lie. Especially since the fact of the lie is quite obvious to all but the most delusional among us. This detail makes it clear that people who spread the lie likely have a bad faith belief that either:

    (1) their attempt to suppress voting is an evil act and feel they must lie to themselves and others about their actual goals to try to minimize their self-loathing; or

    (2) they cannot openly admit they fear democracy because such a position is simply unacceptable to a vast majority of potential voters.

    Anyone with a good faith belief that democracy is dangerous and ought to be avoided should not be afraid to publicly say so, rather than make up lies to conceal such a view. After all, some of the most respected and influential founding fathers, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, did not lie about such a viewpoint.

    The modern irony is that Madison feared a democracy because he believed “citizens [could be] swayed by crude and ambitious politicians who had played on their emotions.” Republicans, however, seem to fear democracy more because they assume they would lose the ability to sway voters “by crude and ambitious politicians who had played on their emotions” with blatant lies.

  7. Donald Pay 2021-05-15 14:57

    bear, I’ve been in groups of Republican men who will talk openly about going back to how government operated in the early days. We should all be scared by the elitism, racism and sexism behind Noem’s 1776 propaganda campaign because the folks behind it don’t want modern democracy. They want a small number of people to vote, and they prefer just white, male voters, and only those who own property. They don’t quite come around to saying that some of that property could be other human beings. Not yet anyway.

  8. jerry 2021-05-15 15:50

    These legislators expect kids to be as ignorant as they are. News flash for them, these kids are mostly social media savvy and can get the idea right quick like when they are being fed a load of bull puckey. I think the so called legislators should be scared of turning these kids more into the social media to find the truth with their buds. We will keep turning out smart kids that want to get the hell out of here to find a life as soon as they can. What kind of job can you expect from being ignorant except maybe a corrupt legislator.

  9. grudznick 2021-05-15 17:43

    Mr. Pay, grudznick recommends you stop hanging around with groups of those kind of fellows. I realize Wisconsin is full of many such clutches, but you need to be more selective about who your friends are.

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-05-15 18:32

    Psychologically speaking … The MAGA’s that claim voter fraud believe Obama was a bold faced liar and they are justified in doing the same, to save America.

    The Muslim faith, MAGA’s sworn foes, teach that lying is allowed “to gain the upper hand over an enemy”. i.e. taqiyya.

    In response MAGA’s feel justified in reciprocal lying, themselves.

  11. cibvet 2021-05-15 23:32

    What is more difficult than getting an assault rifle in the U.S.?

    Getting a bottle of water in a Georgia voting line.

  12. mike from iowa 2021-05-16 09:12

    In iowa there a number of new hoops to finagle one’s way through to be able to vote. In iowa you no longer need get a permit for concealed carry of a man killing device designed to kill men. I’d feel safer and more like a real American if the reverse was true.

  13. Mark Anderson 2021-05-19 16:19

    Civet, I will use that one the next time I shoot pool with my group. Very good, except its not a joke.

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