Florida Republicans are so intent on reinforcing Trump's jokes that they might have screwed up their very own base
Yes that's right. Someone on the red team finally realized that passing new laws based on Donald CheatsAtGolf's continued insistence that he actually be the real president will have ramifications not just for the working poor – the group's Republicans are trying to target the most – but also for the senior and military voters Republicans have relied on to keep them relevant even as they kneel down with other constituencies. They speak to a wall when it comes to explaining to Republican lawmakers, but they noticed.
To reiterate, Republicans originally supported (and drafted) laws to encourage mail-in voting for selfish reasons. The most loyal Republican voters tend to be older, and older voters tend to have more difficulty voting in elections than their younger counterparts. Transportation can be more difficult. Even leaving the house can be more difficult. Standing in line can be unbearable. To ensure that senior loyalists can continue to vote for straight-ticket Republicanism even after their ability to vote has waned, Republicans are advocating wider use of mail-in voting. It worked, and very well – until a deadly global pandemic made mail-in voting a popular means of avoiding death – postal votes swung predictably strong to the right, which benefited Republican candidates.
Republican campaigns have consistently increased the ease of use of postal ballot papers for their base, and Republican lawmakers have rewritten laws to make the process even easier and have such ballots sent out automatically. There was no particular nobility in the matter, no higher visions of a more inclusive democracy. It was just a nod to Republican reality. The republican base has grown older and older. (Oh, and the likelihood of a member of the Armed Forces being stuck in a tent a full hemisphere from their U.S. district on any given election day swelled significantly soon after the election of George W. Bush. For reasons.)
Two things have conspired to dampen the excitement of Republicans in recent years: Progressive-minded states began to introduce mail-in voting to increase general voter turnout and better ensure equal opportunities for voting, which the predictable ( Indeed the inevitable) Republican reflex of today to see conspiracy generated in the use of the thing they were campaigning for because now the wrong people were using it. There is no better way to convince a white conservative that a government program is corrupt or unnecessary than to inform them that a non-white non-conservative will benefit from it, and this is such a universal truth that Fox News was able to to build a whole network around it.
But it was Donald Trump who turned Republican lawmakers upside down on the matter overnight in some cases. Trump, a narcissistic conspiracy artist and an ignorant sucker in all subjects, began to view the promotion of postal voting as an insult to him personally, with calls for postal voting emphasizing the dangers of the deadly pandemic, which he also believed was just inflated, to make him look bad. Since Trump is Trump, this led to the claim almost immediately that mail-in-voting itself was a conspiracy against him. As Trump slipped in the polls and it became less likely that he could kick over half a million bodies to win a second term, Trump's team began to openly say that if they lose, they will accuse rather than acknowledge "fraud" would be loss.
A coping mechanism for a decompensating malignant narcissist in crisis thus became a new core belief of the Republican Party. No, no, it could not be possible that the dear leader's incompetence over four years culminated in economic collapse and nationwide chaos. It must be a conspiracy of "urban" voters, globalists, immigrants, atheists and every other enemy of white nationalist chaos. It turns out that if you get hundreds of Republican lawmakers repeating the same white nationalist claims, enough of the Republican grassroots will believe the claims to raise a real, if incompetent, insurrection.
So back to Florida and the Post report. Post's Greg Sargent highlights a particularly damaging detail in which a State party official confirmed that while the Republicans were amalgamating the new election restrictions, "briefly discussed" whether lawmakers could write exemptions for military and senior voters, the two Republicans Groups most likely to run contrary to the new plans. It was dismissed as likely illegal, but its consideration shows that Republicans pushing for the new laws (ahem) weren't as concerned with electoral integrity as they were with the partisan makeup of those involved – and whether or not they were Partisan composition this could be further tweaked to exclude Republican voters who would otherwise be trapped in it.
What the Republican legislature put in place was a list of restrictions, primarily intended to add a number of new "taxes" to the voting process. Reducing the amount of time that ballots can be requested, adding new photo ID requirements for postal ballots, and requiring mail-in voters to reclaim mail-in status each election cycle are intended to impose low time and attention taxes on voters. and be an easier means of weeding out those who are not ready to jump through the new hoops. A new limit on when ballot boxes can be opened will make it difficult for working class voters to access them. New limits to the supply of food and water to voters will be most important in areas where the state already has (deliberately) underfunded and understaffed polling stations, leading to these long lines. In places where enough polling stations have been provided to meet demand, this does not matter at all.
The bet made by Republican lawmakers here and elsewhere is that new electoral restrictions will surely affect voters of both parties, but actual disenfranchisement affects primarily the working poor – people who oppose the goals of the Republicans, their jobs However, income, and travel difficulties all conspire to create new ID restrictions, restrictions on returning ballots, or even additional forms to submit obstacles that impose disproportionately on them compared to voters with more time and resources. It is certain that older voters will face many of these new obstacles, but Republican lawmakers seem to believe the culling will be less severe. That's … not necessarily the case.
It's a gamble, but one with enough complexity to be willingly overlooked by Trump-backing lawmakers, feverishly trying to stay in Trump's good hands, rather than facing the wrath of his now-utterly fascist base.