S1: Not only was everyone being asked to go out and vote in the middle of a pandemic, but they were also being asked to stand in line very close to other people for hours and hours and hours to vote. They were given the choice and God bless those voters who wanted to exercise their right. They were given the choice. Either lose your vote, stay home or go outside and vote in a pandemic.
S2: And you just ask again why I laid out the five things I thought he should be doing now. He should fully implement the Defense Production Act.
S3: You know, I don’t know what the world is going to look like in November, but nobody does. But I will tell you that I and many of my colleagues are working as hard as we tend to come up with the money and Bill more to make sure that enable them.
S4: But if it is necessary that the American people can vote by paper about.
S5: Hello and welcome to tramcars time, Virginia Heffernan. So I can’t think of a time on this show or really any sustained period in political reporting or analysis of any kind that we’ve been able to hold on to a vision of humans as simply animals. I mean, hairless orangutans made of cells and microbes rather than politics, ideology, poetry or memes. Every time I remember, I try to get my brain to remember when I’m reading you’ve all Harare’s say try to remember that we’re primates who’ve managed to organize ourselves uncannily well and run this damn planet with a system of sophisticated grunts like all men are created equal, or Jesus came to save us from sin. And those may organize us very well. I can see, yes, for almost just a split second as naked apes grunting and I sit quietly in awe and try to recognize those grunts are just organisational fictions and let the truth of my own status as a chimp sink in. But here’s my confession. It never sinks in, even while I’m imagining that seeing myself as a lump of cells, part of a species hive mind bent on survival. I have other floating thoughts, more so flattering thoughts about how my mind is uniquely capable of imagining such a thing. And how romantic it is to be able to think lots of ways. And really, what’s serious intellectual work is required to make life go and run. And really how important it is that I believe this and not that truth and not lies. And all the while I’m doing nothing for a month but sit in a chair. Yes, freshly scrubbed and fumigated, committed really to giving up some vast number of things that I used to believe made me be freedom of assembly, freedom to participate wholly in the in the agora and the marketplace and the economy. And the republic. The race. Publica, the public thing. And why am I doing all this? Because I’m a Democrat. Why are you doing this? I mean, sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I forget. And then I remember just this ton of bricks that I’m doing this entirely. So the bugs in me don’t jump on you and your bugs don’t jump on me. Now, that is my sole reason for being and for living the way I do. I’m not living to be a good person, not to defeat Trump, not to prove something to my parents or the haters, not to contribute something to the world or support my kids or help the needy or have adventures or celebrate religious holidays. All I had you exist to do right now is to keep the bugs at bay because our bodies have over tens of thousands of years adapted to live and not die when the microbes are swarming yapping from our plague bunkers. We like to be good and mad at the organisms among us, the people, the individuals who seem to be behaving in a counter adaptive way, waving their guns wildly when they plan a thousand person canoodle fest at Easter, where they’re going to praise the Lord and baptize each other in sneezed saliva chocked with corona virus particles. People who find themselves choosing to do this may have minds and bodies that evolve to further their and our survival in other ways. But this time it looks like they’re swerving the wrong way. Maybe these types are spontaneous mutations that are unlikely to be selected for. But as much attention as we pay to the breaches of stay at home protocol to the deniers that declares the liars, can we spend a second on how our supposedly fractured nation is now? Three hundred and sixty million of us under stay at home orders, and the vast, vast, vast majority of those people are heeding those orders and giving up the work, education, socializing, worship, getting and spending the typically make life worth living. And we’re doing this to save the species. I mean, this is so weird. Red hats, libertarians, family values types, antifa artists, runaways, city dwellers, those suburban farmer reps with their special haircuts. Hundreds of millions of us have started thinking like microbes like the prey of microbes and the effects of our collective action can now be seen from space. I recommend you look at pictures of the Roman Coliseum now to see how it has changed since we quarantined. So from my primate microbiome to yours. Welcome once more to Trump Cast. My guest today is Ari Berman. Ari is a senior reporter at Mother Jones covering voting rights. He’s the author of Give US the BALLOT The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Ari, welcome back to Trump Cast a Virginia.
S6: Thanks for having me back.
S7: I am glad to get to talk to you about some. Thing Corona virus adjacent, even though that subject is bleak. So when I first heard about the lockdowns, I don’t know if this happened around you, but people began to worry that there’d be runs on supplies and there might be crime that came out of that. And it’s sort of the thing where once the lights are out with the pandemic, there would be other kinds of crime, city crime that didn’t materialize. But as you point out in this Mother Jones article, Republicans have exploited this opportunity to advance their agenda of voter suppression. And it happened before our very eyes. Tell us about Wisconsin, about Supreme Court and about what this augurs for November.
S6: Yeah, we didn’t get city crime. Virginia. We just got crimes against the ballot box instead, actually. And, you know, as someone who covers voting rights. My thought pretty quickly when this started happening was how are people going to be able to vote? But I don’t think anyone necessarily foresaw this situation becoming as bad as it did in Wisconsin, where it was so obvious that people shouldn’t vote. I’m a public health perspective. What every other state had moved back. Their primary in Wisconsin, Republicans said, no, you have to vote in person. And there were really important elections at stake. It wasn’t just a presidential primary that was effectively over. There was also a really important state Supreme Court race that’s going to have major implications for November. So it was just like a perfect storm of stuff. If you felt like the Republicans are going to see the light, they are going to have to delay this. Say they didn’t. The courts are going to see the light. They’re gonna have to understand this is a public health issue. That didn’t happen. You had the Wisconsin Supreme Court and then the U.S. Supreme Court in very short order, essentially siding with Republicans. The Wisconsin Supreme Court refusing to postpone the election and the US Supreme Court refusing to give people more time to return their absentee ballots, which was just totally out of touch with reality because there was all of these stories about people in Wisconsin who hadn’t received their absentee ballots. There were so many absentee ballot requests. Election officials were so overwhelmed with the requests. There was a huge backlog, right. Like, think about it, you go to Trader Joe’s now. It’s for a lot longer than they ordinarily were. That’s like what was happening in court. And so the courts, the lower courts in Wisconsin said let’s give people more time to return their absentee ballots who are going to get them by election day. The US Supreme Court is totally out of touch with reality, said no. You have to postmark it by election day, even if your ballot wasn’t there. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissent, this is going to lead to massive disenfranchisement, tens of thousands of people not being able to vote. And that’s exactly what happened on Election Day. First off, thousandfold just didn’t go to the polls to begin with because it’s there’s literally a stay at home order and was hot. So going out is illegal essentially other than the exception of voting. And not only that, but a lot of people didn’t get their absentee ballots in time and were disenfranchised. So it was a really scary situation in Wisconsin. And my worry is that there could be now dozens of many Wisconsin’s come November.
S7: There used to be even as recently as 2016, there was talk among Republicans that there was voter fraud, that people were too many people were voting or people were voting illegally. And the president had all kinds of his usual kind of psychotic theories about that. And that somehow it seemed like Republicans could tell themselves that this kind of suppression even did out. I don’t even know. But now it seems like everyone’s masks are off. And even John Roberts on the Supreme Court knows that Republicans are not going to win elections if people are actually enfranchised to vote. You know, we’ve heard the president make sounds in that direction. And somehow this all just now seems like the GOP ambitions are just laid bare. There’s something just gruesome about what happened in Wisconsin, did just the absolute commitment to voter suppression. It’s kind of shocking.
S8: One of the things that we’ve seen in in recent weeks is that Republicans have just been saying the quiet part out loud. Yeah, for that. Oh, right. Yes. Trump said that if if Democrats had adopted voting reforms, that there would be levels of voting, that you’d never elect a Republican again. Basically saying if there’s high levels of voting, you would never elect a Republican.
S9: I’m not even sure that’s true. There have been very high turnout elections where Republicans have what? But nonetheless, that seems to be the organizing principle of the Republican Party right now. You had the House speaker in Georgia who was reacting to the Republican secretary of state mailing absentee ballot requests to every voter. The Republican secretary of state says we’re in a pandemic. We are going to mail an absentee ballot request to every voter, so they want to get an absentee ballot, they can at least do their request over mail easily. Then you had the Georgia House speaker basically saying that this would lead to unprecedented turnout among Democrats and that Georgia Republicans had to fight it. So, again, I mean, the quiet part out loud and then you saw it was happening in what happened in Wisconsin. And this this started emerging very early on was that the conservative parts of the state were returning absentee ballots at high rates and the Democratic parts of the state in particular, Milwaukee, which were the hardest hit by Corona virus, dense urban areas with a lot of poor people and high black populations, they were not returning ballots at a high rate because the conditions there were so much worse. It was literally a life or death situation in Milwaukee, whereas in suburban or rural Wisconsin, it was not safe. And Republicans saw that and said this is working for us. Low Democratic turnout is going to help us. So even in the midst of a massive pandemic, let’s keep the rules the same. Let’s not do anything differently to make it easy for people to vote. And that’s the problem here, is that you don’t even have to do suppression right now. You just have to not make it easy for people to vote. You just have to maintain the status quo because people can literally can’t leave their house.
S7: You have to demand that they want defy public health rags and and in some cases, the law risk fines to leave their houses to vote. I mean, it really you know, there were pictures circulating, I’m sure you saw them, of voters lining up in Wisconsin and just incredibly moving to see that people had kind of roughly internalized the idea that we stand at some distance from each other now, many of them wearing masks. Many of them people of color. And they were you know, they were risking disease and death to vote. I’ve never seen that so graphically in old pictures sometimes. But, you know, this was really, really astounding. And the fact that they did not have the protections of the federal government, you’d almost think that they should get hazmat suits or something. If you can’t do your foundational civic duty without risking your life, something is wrong.
S8: It was incredibly moving, but it never should have come to that. People shouldn’t have to put their life on the line to vote. And we’ve been through this before. The thing that reminded me the most was the images of Jim Crow. Yes. Where people would be forced to stand in lines for hours to register to vote. And they were never able to register because, oh, white registrars wouldn’t allow African-Americans to vote. And our images from places like Selma, Alabama, where people were brutally beaten, simply trying to advocate for the right to vote is obviously a different situation between now and then. But the whole idea of putting your life on the line to vote, that dates back to a very ugly history in American politics.
S7: It seems like I mean, in the case of Jim Crow, ultimately the National Guard came out and forced desegregation. And voters were registered with the support of the federal government. And, you know, the usual American myth that there are these kind of bigoted municipalities that insist on literacy tests or taxes or poll taxes, and that that is then corrected for by a more benevolent or more enlightened higher courts. Right. That’s the thing that is missing here, that just to see the highest court in the land, see the Supreme Court come out in favor of this. I don’t know. I tried to talk to Dahlia Lithwick the day it happened. And it just sometimes things are just getting too sad. You know, that this virus that we wouldn’t protect people with the vote, that we wouldn’t do this simple thing. The court could not do the simple thing of extending the deadline for mail in ballots. I mean, what does it take?
S10: Yeah. You know, it’s not like you’re asking them for a radical shift. You’re out.
S7: You know, they do not need to send in the National Guard and has Matt and this and that. Not at all. Just simply. I mean, it’s this kind of technical thing about having the postmark be later on the mail in ballots. I mean, what we probably can’t even guess fathom the shallows of the brains of Cavenagh and Thomas. But what about Roberts? What happened?
S11: Well, I so I don’t. The thing about Roberts is I really don’t see him as a swing vote on these issues. OK. I know there was a decision to strike down the census citizenship question, which which Roberts wrote last summer based on overwhelming evidence.
S12: The Trump administration wanted to add this for racist reasons. But if you look at Roberts historically, this is the guy who wrote the opinion gutting the Voting Rights Act. This is a guy who, ever since his days working in the Reagan Justice Department has been trying to weaken the voting rights. This was this is an integral part of who he is. He has not only voted to gut the Voting Rights Act, but he started with the Conservatives to allow extreme voter purging to say that the federal courts can’t review gerrymandering over and over and over.
S6: He has been a reliable vote on these issues. So really, I mean, I it’s depressing to say this. But when it comes to voting rights, there really is no swing vote anymore. I mean, the closest we had was Justice Kennedy and even he most of the time voted with the conservatives. So that’s the real worry here. The real worry here is that Republicans are going to do whatever they can to oppose making it easier to vote even independent. And they’re going to bet that the courts, the state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court are going to let them off the hook. And you’d like to believe it’s not the case. But if Wisconsin is a precedent, it’s a very scary precedent.
S7: So what is the thinking about it, about try to put the best possible gloss or at least some cogency, if not, you know, kind of moral heroism on the case against voting rights or the case for making it more difficult. Roberts is not a Republican operative. He is not Brad Cavenagh. There must be. And you’ve studied this so much, the struggle for voting rights. Is it just villainy that makes people want voting to be more difficult, enfranchisement to be more restricted?
S12: That’s it. I mean, I think, yes, Roberts is not a political operative, but I think he likes having a 5 4 conservative majority on the court. Yeah, compared to a 5 4 liberal majority on the court. I think he likes being able to be the deciding factor. So, I mean, I think he would rather have Donald Trump be president and making judicial nominations than Joe Biden is doing or Hillary Clinton doing it. So I think there is some level of self-interest in all of this. And I think he has to know on some level that his decisions are helping the Republican Party. Then there’s there’s also just a belief among Republicans of states’ rights that dates back a long ways. When Roberts was making the argument against the Voting Rights Rights Act back in the 80s, he said it would lead to unprecedented intrusions into the rights of state local governments. There’s also a belief that racial minorities should not be given preferential treatment by the government and that laws like the Voting Rights Act, in the words and Scalia, have led to a perpetuation of racial entitlement, have protected the rights of voters of color at the expense of white voters. Now I’m just making the argument that they are make. Yeah, but I think I think it’s probably a combination of self-interest, a real view of race that’s totally out of touch with reality and history and also a belief about states rights that’s been historically used to undermine civil rights laws. And I think with someone like Robert is probably a combination of all of those things.
S7: I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a member of a party that on some in its bones knows that it can only win if turnout is suppressed or believes that it can only win if turnout is suppressed. As you say, that may not be correct belief. It seems like being on a cheating team, you know, like just the team that wants to be sure that doping is still a valid point.
S9: That’s exactly right. I mean, the Wisconsin Republicans are there, the Russian Olympic team.
S13: Yeah, there’s Sochi team. Yeah.
S14: And the thing is, if you’re getting the medals right, then you don’t care about the methods that got you the medal. All you care about the medal. The thing is, it’s worked so well for risk cause the Republicans got you. And you have to go back all the way. You have to go back to earlier that decade to understand what they did here. When, Rick, when Wisconsin Republicans and Scott Walker took over the state.
S15: The first thing they did was strip unions of collective bargaining rights to take away the Democratic Party’s most loyal organizing ally, unions. So they crush unions in Wisconsin. That weren’t they passed a voter I.D. law that suppressed over twenty thousand votes in in twenty sixteen disproportionately from black voters in Milwaukee that helped Donald Trump win that election. They passed a gerrymandering law that said that even when in 2018, Wisconsin Republicans got 46 percent of the vote for the state legislature. They still got 64 percent of seats. So they know regardless of what they do, even in a blue wave, where they get substantially less votes than Democrats, they will remain in control. And if they have the courts, the courts will allow them to do all of these things.
S14: The courts will uphold the union busting. The culture of the court, threw up, uphold the German, and a couple of courts will uphold the voter suppression. And that’s why the Supreme Court election is so important when people say, oh, it’s just a state Supreme Court race, you don’t understand how important it was.
S16: Court and Supreme Court is.
S6: It might be one of the ten most important races in the country this year because it gives them the power to control the voting laws they’re going to. Turbin, who is in control of the state and are going to determine potentially who the next president is. That’s their goal here is can Donald Trump win Wisconsin in 2020? And they know they have to do more stuff to allow him to win. Right now, they’re trying to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the voting rolls. They’re only gonna be able to do that if there was hot. Supreme Court says it’s OK or the federal courts say it’s OK. And so they’re thinking about November and they are using what happened in April as a test run.
S13: My sense is that Wisconsin politicians, Democratic politicians, recognize that that state, which was one of three states that are widely seen to have given the the election to Trump and was hit hard with disinformation and there was kinds of manipulation. And Cambridge Analytica boasted of having flipped whenever it is 20000, 30000 voters just in Wisconsin and given it to Trump. It doesn’t feel good to believe that you’ve been hacked and used. And my sense is that Wisconsin and Michigan also do realize that they owe their country something that they need to rally. I expect there to be enormous turnout in those states. And with Rachel better off on this, that that that that negative partisanship will influence voters in Wisconsin and Michigan who want to correct one to amend what happened last time. What do you think?
S14: Yeah, well, I mean, I think that’s all all of that is predicated on people being able to vote. And the thing you have to realize is both sides are mobilized here. Wisconsin Republicans are mobilized, too. So every election in Wisconsin has been close. The presidential race in 2016 was twenty three thousand votes. Tony Iver’s in twenty eighteen won the governor’s race by thirty thousand votes. Republicans won a race on the state Supreme Court in twenty nineteen by 6000 votes. So both sides are mobilized here. And the question is, who has the turnout edge? Democrats cannot win in Wisconsin.
S6: If college students don’t vote in Madison and other places and African-Americans don’t vote in Milwaukee right now, college students are dispersed all across the state or wherever they are because their schools are in session. And black people in the Waukee are just trying to stay alive because that that Milwaukee has basically 50 percent of Wisconsin’s population and half the credit by virus cases.
S16: So it is by far the epicenter and African-Americans are overwhelmingly die of it in Wisconsin.
S15: Same thing in Michigan. Detroit is the epicenter. Of coronavirus in Michigan. If African-Americans in Detroit don’t vote in large numbers, there’s no way Joe Biden carries Michigan.
S6: So I agree with you. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm is predicated on people being able to get out and vote and that that means two things. Either the situation gets a lot better by November, which hopefully it does, or those states take real affirmative action right now to make sure every registered voter gets mailed a ballot. I think that’s what we have a demand right now is every voter in this country needs to be mailed a ballot, not mailed a ballot request form, not told they can go online and request one. They need to physically get a ballot in their home like they do in Oregon, Washington State, other places. That’s to me, that’s the only way we are going to ensure there’s not mass disenfranchisement in this country come November.
S13: So that would be up to the states. The states would organize that as they have in Washington state. Right. There’s no census style. This would be more like jury summons style.
S14: I mean, the federal government could say to the states, you have to mail every voter a ballot for federal elections. Congress has the power to set the rules for federal elections. And presumably if they did it for federal elections, they would have to do it for four state elections. And they would give they would they would say states have to do this and they would give them the funding to do so. Now, Congress has done neither of those things. I talked to Elizabeth Warren this week and she said that’s exactly what needs to happen, that there needs to be universal vote by mail, pass in the next recovery package and Congress needs to allocate 4 billion dollars to do this.
S16: Now, people say it’s unrealistic follow. But look at how much unrealistic stuff was in the last package. Yeah, I mean, Republicans would have never given every American a six hundred dollar unemployment check. I mean, ordinarily that would never sell me tons of stuff that never seemed politically possible has happened recently.
S15: And so in ensuring that every American should be able to vote during a pandemic seems like something that’s very practical and should have very broad support.
S7: But all these things that have happened and I I continue to find it extraordinary. And we are saying for the show, three hundred and sixty million people now understand how mourner’s. And yes, we know some people are defying it with crazy Easter celebrations or whatever. But the vast majority of those people have radically changed all their habits to keep the species alive. And that’s astounding that we could do that. I mean, you couldn’t agree on, you know, the color of a daisy. And now we’ve agreed that it’s time to quit school, quit work, stay home, wash your hands all the time. I mean, that is pretty astounding.
S17: I mean, doesn’t it seem like if we can if we can get through or 60 million Americans to stay at home, that we can figure out a way to send them all about it?
S7: I mean, it would seem, except that the stay in home waters, it took our catastrophic federal government way too long to get religion on this fight. Clearly, keeping casualties down helps Trump’s re-election chances. Right. So but but yet mailing everyone a ballot hurts his re-election chances.
S10: But I don’t even think that’s true. OK.
S14: Because I think trumping a lot of other people, what they’re saying about voting that it benefits Democrats is totally out of touch with what the Republican position on male voting has bet, which is that we want all of our people to vote by mail when when North Carolina and Texas passed the voter I.D. laws saying you needed ID to vote at the polls. They exempted absentee ballots from that I.D. requirement because they wanted a white Republicans, elderly white Republicans to be able to vote absentee. And so Republicans have been the ones pushing for vote by mail. I know it seems like a Democratic idea. Because Oregon and Washington, other places do it. In Florida, in North Carolina and Texas, Republicans have aggressively pushed vote by mail. I think the message has to be that a lot of elderly Republicans are going to be disenfranchised, too, if they get their ballots.
S7: Well, didn’t the elderly Republican Donald Trump also vote by mail and influence?
S9: Actually, yeah. And all the all the elderly people at Donald Trump’s cabinet, Trump, Wilbur Ross, all these guys voted by mail. Basically, what Republicans are saying here is that vote by mail is OK unless Democrats use it. So I’ve had a real I’ve had a real issue with a lot of the coverage saying Trump opposes all by mail.
S6: No, Trump supports vote by mail. He supports vote by mail for Republicans. He opposes vote by mail for Democrats. Right.
S13: Early and often if you’re Republicans, actually.
S14: And that’s that’s a situation that’s playing out here. And I think it’s unfortunate because you would hope during a pandemic that public health would be the overriding goal. And the CDC says that number one recommendation for them for voting, that people should be able to vote by mail because you can’t leave your house if you’re being told don’t leave your house. The only safe way to vote is to vote by.
S13: If I remember right, too, I don’t know. Did you study these figures in the very beginning of the of the virus, but that their current virus particle lives less long on, say, paper than it on our letters, than it does on metals and other surfaces? So let’s see, it takes a couple weeks, a couple days to get it to get to the ballot. And maybe by then the virus is dead. I mean, it is just thinking about about mailing and sent the census sent census results in and taxing the the the post office. You know, the the USPS and then also and now mailing in ballots. It is interesting that you can’t just at first blush decide who that favors because you know, Rachel better, Coffer says. The question about whether you’ll turn out is about comfort. So you the thing the thing has to be worth doing. Getting to the polls or driving through or are mailing in a ballot has to be worth a forfeiture of comfort. And, you know, looking around for a. I assume these will become pre stamped. But, you know, getting I haven’t sent off my census stuff yet and making that calculation, it’s not clear which brains make the calculation, which way about whether it’s worth doing to me. Actually that makes it more interesting legislation, more useful legislation, because it doesn’t instantly say, well, now we’re we’re sure to get fewer people of color, fewer and fewer low income families voting. If we do mail, as you say, it’s not totally clear which way it cuts. It’s just fair.
S9: Yeah. I mean, I think I think the point is, is that this is the right thing to do.
S17: If anything, I would say vote by mail hurts Democratic constituencies because younger people are a lot less familiar with voting by mail. They like to vote in person. They’re also more transients that they’re certainly going to be at the same address where you might mail the letter. Communities of color are less likely to vote by mail because of historic suspicions, historic disenfranchisement. They like voting at cent to know that their ballot was counted. There’s also data from states like Florida that for a lot of different reasons. Vote by mail ballots or what? We’re likely to be thrown out if they’re cast by blacks or Hispanics, then by whites. So vote by mail is not a panacea.
S6: I’ve said this all along that if the only option is that you can’t leave your home, then vote by mail is obviously the best option. In an ideal world, I still want people to vote in person. I still want there to be lots of polling places. I still wanted to be. Early voting. I still wanted to be election day registration and all of those states. Ideally in November, we will have all of that plus in-person voting. Right now, if you look at who votes type mail most regularly, it’s old white Republicans. So if you were to mail a ballot to every voter, I don’t necessarily think that you could say there’ll be this surge in Democratic turnout, but not a surge in Republican. I would say, if anything, that Republicans might be best equipped to be able to handle an all male election. So that’s why it’s too ridiculous to me that that now suddenly Democrats are the one forced to defend male voting and not Republicans. The Republicans are the ones who for years have been encouraging people to vote by mail, while Democrats have been encouraging people to vote by person. With the exception of some states, the West, like Oregon and Washington, they’ve been doing vote by mail for a long time.
S13: What about postponement of voting? Now, no one wants to think about what would happen if there can’t be a presidential election in November. It seems it’s very hard to imagine everything lining up to create that disaster. But, you know, we’re obviously postponing voting here and they’re postponing virtually everything. I keep remembering, by the way, how grateful I am that the first thought of American official government officials at the news that there was a virus coming this way was to make sure that March Madness was settles just like I did. I don’t know in my flashbacks to the early days. Do you have these memories?
S11: I still haven’t gotten over that, though. As a big college basketball fan last Monday, I was thinking, man, this would’ve been the national title game.
S5: Okay, good. Okay. You’re right. I should respect people for whom that was like that was very difficult. Thoughts and prayers.
S17: Honestly, it was a March madness. And then Rudy go bare from the Utah Jazz to the Corona virus that I think forced Donald Trump. Yeah. And everybody else to take this thing seriously, including probably build applause.
S13: I guess what? Whatever it takes. It just was. So in the early discussions of are there any tests? I just thought it is interesting that every single member of the NBA has been tested and no one else.
S11: But anyway, back to your question about postponing the election. Yeah, so Trump can’t postpone the election. The president can’t postpone the election. Only Congress can postpone the election.
S15: Nancy Pelosi in a Democratic House would have to go along with a possible. That would lead me to believe that we would only postpone the elections if there is wide bipartisan agreement to postpone it and to delay it to a safe date, not to unilaterally postpone it so that Donald Trump can rig a second term. I don’t want to predict anything right now. I’m given what we saw in Wisconsin. I’m far more worried about the vote. The voting process being manipulated like we saw in Wisconsin than I am about Trump unilaterally changing the election. I’m also very concerned that if we move to a significant male election, Trump is laying the groundwork to say it’s illegitimate because remember what you saw, for example, in 2010 in Arizona, like in where a person’s cinema won the Senate race, she was declared the winner for like a week or two after because missing ballots take a lot longer to take the count. Right. So if if you’re in a situation where, let’s say Donald Trump is leading on election night, but it’s a lot to a vote by mail and the ballots take longer to count. Imagine if Joe Biden wins a week later, Donald Trump will lose it. He will. He will never agree to leave office. And that’s another scenario I’m really worried about.
S13: Yeah, I mean, I try the same. Same as in 2016 when people said he wouldn’t accept the results of the election. We would just have to say that doesn’t matter. You know, Trump didn’t X didn’t think that that’s lack, you know, that the election that put him in office in 2016 was fair because he thought so many people voted illegally. He still thinks he should have.
S10: Why not? That’s the point, right? Yeah. So but I mean, that’s the point though. If he if he willingly. But if he wouldn’t leave office. Go ahead. Go ahead.
S5: I’ll just he’ll always say, you know, this is a thousand year Reich and I’m not leaving.
S7: And we’ve had Ali misdialed on the show talking about, you know, there are there’s an app for that. And that’s called you know, that’s called the Capitol Police. That’s called people that just take the guy out of office. I mean, if, you know, you and I can’t just run into the Oval Office, chain ourselves to the desk and call ourselves president. And neither can Donald Trump. One hopes.
S6: Sure. Yeah, I get that. But I mean, I think if Trump didn’t accept the results in elections, he won. You can imagine how I react if he loses. But I’m saying that that the landscape is likely to be very different because no matter what happens in November, a lot more people are likely to vote by mail than they would otherwise. And mail ballots take longer to count. So there’s a very possible situation in which Trump or Republican Senate candidates, whoever are winning on election night but lose on, they’ll validate in. That’s going to be sort of a hypothetical that we have to start preparing for.
S13: What do you see as some measures in your discussion with Elizabeth Warren and others, some measures that we might take to try to get this election as fair as possible, given the circumstances and guard against more vigilance, against cheating and suppression than we’ve ever shown? Because that’s how Trump is going to take it, as you’ve said.
S6: So what what Elizabeth Warren and I think broadly speaking, the voting rights community have advocated for is universal vote by mail. Everyone being sent a ballot with a pre-paid return all below. So that’s not a poll tax when people try to get postage. The second thing that’s been advocated for is extended early voting so that if you have to vote in person, there’s a lot of time to do so that there’s so there’s not long lines on election day. You can social distance a lot easier at the polls.
S17: The third thing is waving with crazy requirements for absentee ballots like in Wisconsin, where they said you had to upload your voter I.D. with your absentee ballot, even though you couldn’t get an idea at the DMV at the time or they said you needed a witness signature.
S15: So they literally wait, as you said, on your ballot, even though you’re supposed to social distance and ask was to be around other people. So get rid of get rid of those kind of requirements. Thirty nine days of online registration, which is great, but 11 states still don’t have a registration. So that’s really problematic if you can’t register in person right now in places like Texas.
S17: So those kind of things are basically common sense ideas for how to prevent millions of people from being disenfranchised.
S9: What I will say is, despite Trump’s rhetoric, we are seeing Republicans at the state level start to do some practice things. The Iowa Republican state has said he wants the primary to be. All of the Georgia secretary of state is Veli absentee ballot. All. So we’ll see how they react in November or what Trump is up for re-election.
S15: But I do think this issue has been a little less politicized at some places than it has been by Trump or that it has been by Republicans in Wisconsin. So I am somewhat hopeful that some some proactive steps will come out of this. And I think that, you know, if we are having a discussion right now about how to improve our electoral system, that opens up space for solutions that may not have been considered before this pandemic.
S7: I wonder. What? Get out the vote efforts will look like when things have moved to mail. You’ve probably seen this, but some of the ways that volunteers for various campaigns are working are sending handwritten letters to people.
S13: There might be a way that paper, because it defies Internet communication, which we’re suspicious of now, because it has this materiality to it. It might be that there are interesting ways to enfranchise people who haven’t who are afraid of the machines or anxious about the Internet to kind of take that back or sort of stand up and be counted with a piece of paper. It’s kind of satisfying to the mind when we’ve had so many years of talking about how our information space is hacked and perverted and how private companies own the voting machines. This may be a way to get some trust back into the system.
S14: Yeah. I mean, that is a good point. When you vote by mail, you vote on paper. So theoretically, that would be a good thing. I worry about right now is that voter registration drives are essentially shut down. So the electorate is basically frozen. Which you would think would benefit Trump overbite it. And that traditionally there’s a lot of outreach is based on getting people to the polls and all of that has stopped now, too. We don’t know what things are going to look like in November, but I never really worried about all the people that are that are not going to register all the people that would need some sort of push to be able to get out and vote. That won’t do it. And I think that’s why it’s so important to mail ballots people that, yes, the electorate might be frozen. At least you can ensure that the existing electorate will be able to turn out in large numbers, because in states that do this, they have consistently very high turnout and people are very happy with a system. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a puppet said to you, fill it out and mail it back and not have to wait and not have to wait in the long line and not have to deal with broken polling machines.
S10: Not having to figure out where your polling places are getting a babysitter. Exactly. Yeah.
S6: I personally like voting in person, but in my 5 year old likes to come with me because I voted stickers, which I’m sure you know your kids at one point like too. Yes. But I do think going forward we have to think about kind of what is the most convenient for people. And I do think that vote by mail is going to be an increasing option just because it’s so much more convenient than going to vote in person.
S18: One last reminder tip here, postal workers. Ari Berman is a senior reporter at Mother Jones covering voting rights. Thanks very much for being here, Ari. V Well, Virginia, thank you. So that’s it for today’s show. What do you think? Send transmissions from your bunker to ours. I’m page 88. The show is at Real Trump Cast. Our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan with engineering help from Richard Stanislaw. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump Cast.