Progressives are accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump of pulling out all the stops to suppress the vote in November after new details of the Republican coronavirus stimulus plan revealed it does not propose a single dollar in election assistance funding.
“It seems Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to suppress the vote by putting voters in danger.”
—Sean Eldridge, Stand Up America
A summary (pdf) of the Republican plan obtained by the New York Times Thursday doesn’t mention election funding directly, but it does note that the GOP relief package will propose “no additional money for state/local governments.”
The draft adds in a parenthetical, “Certainly expect to get some [funding] added in negotiations with the Dems.”
“It is outrageous that this proposal contains not one penny to help states conduct safe elections during a global pandemic,” Sean Eldridge, founder and president of Stand Up America, said in a statement. “Policymakers should be doing everything they can to ensure voters are not forced to risk their health to cast their ballot.”
“Instead,” Eldridge said, “it seems Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to suppress the vote by putting voters in danger.”
Stand Up America and other voting rights groups are demanding that Congress approve $3.6 billion in election assistance funding—a fraction of the $21.3 billion the GOP plan proposes handing to the Pentagon on top of the agency’s likely $740.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2021.
The Republican plan, which is being crafted in McConnell’s office in partnership with the Trump White House, has not yet been finalized and the details could still change.
BREAKING: The new GOP coronavirus bill includes ANOTHER $21,300,000,000 for the Pentagon.
The Pentagon already got $10,500,000,000 in the CARES Act.
This is all on top of an existing $740,000,000,000 military budget.
Meanwhile, struggling Americans get next to nothing. pic.twitter.com/2oD55w2jTc
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 23, 2020
Voting rights advocates say the election assistance money is necessary to help states expand vote-by-mail and ensure that in-person polling places are adequately equipped and prepared to safely hold a general election amid a pandemic.
Failing to approve election funding, progressives warn, could drive down turnout in November by limiting voters’ ballot options in an environment where it is potentially dangerous to vote in person.
Want to feel your health is being prioritized when you vote this November?
Call your senator.
The Senate is coming up with a coronavirus response bill & reports are saying McConnell wants to allocate $0 in election funding for the states.
Text MAIL to 21333 to be connected.
— Stand Up America (@StandUpAmerica) July 23, 2020
Trump’s repeated and baseless attacks on mail-in voting as well as his refusal to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election have added urgency to progressive efforts to ensure a safe and fair contest. On Thursday, Stand Up America and Indivisible announced that 30 new advocacy groups have joined the grassroots campaign preparing to mobilize should Trump refuse to leave office.
“Together, we will ensure that every vote is counted and that we protect our democracy,” said Cristina Jimenez, executive director and co-founder of United We Dream Action, an immigrant rights group.
In May, House Democrats passed legislation that would provide more than $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments—including billions in election assistance money—as they face pandemic-induced budgetary crises.
Eldridge said Democratic lawmakers must do everything in their power to ensure that adequate election assistance funding is included in the stimulus package that eventually makes its way through Congress.
“Democrats in both chambers cannot allow Republicans to threaten the foundation of our democracy—and they must use every piece of available leverage to ensure election funding is included in a final brokered deal,” said Eldridge. “Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.”
Here’s how Trump intends to create ‘chaos and deadlock’ to steal the election from voters
The author of a new piece outlining how President Donald Trump could steal the election from voters explained just how that might happen.
The Atlantic's Barton Gellman revealed the Trump campaign is exploring a strategy to pressure Republican-led state legislatures to appoint electors, instead of letting voters choose, and he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" how that would work in practice.
"The only other time in history we had a debacle like this with possibility of the multiple competing slates of electors where two groups of people said, 'I'm the state elector for the state of Pennsylvania,' for example, it's supposed to go to Congress," Gellman said. "Congress is supposed to decide who are the legitimate electors, if any, from the state, and the problem is the electorate count act is one of the most garbled statutes ever passed by Congress, which is saying a lot."
‘I have to leave for an emergency phone call’: Trump splits from his own press conference for a ‘big call’
President Donald Trump was late for his 6:00 PM press conference and literally left in the middle for an "emergency" phone call.
"I have to leave for an emergency phone call," Trump told reporters in the White House press briefing room. As he tried to leave one reporter peppered him with spot-on questions about this afternoon's decision by a grand jury to not charge any of the three Louisville police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Asked what the call was about, Trump replied, "I have a big call."
Wow. Trump says he has to take "an emergency phone call" and walks away while ignoring a reporter's shouted question about what his message is to people who are upset over Breonna Taylor's killing pic.twitter.com/EWsjJOGwsg
‘Five-alarm fire’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains why Trump is rushing to smash democracy
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough sounded the alarm that President Donald Trump had no intention of giving up the White House.
The president has admitted that he wants to ram through a new Supreme Court justice to help decide the election in his favor, and the "Morning Joe" host was shocked -- yet not surprised -- that Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
"Some remarkable things that, actually, could be both shocking and not surprising at the same time considering that they come from Donald Trump," Scarborough said.
"For the first time in the history of this republic, you have a president of the United States, who will not commit to a peaceful transfer of power," he added. "At the same time he's asking Republicans to lie to their constituents and go back on what they said four years ago and ram through a Supreme Court justice. Why? Because he needs that Supreme Court justice to vote for him on any election disputes that he stirs up. That is pretty much a five-alarm fire."