Big Lie, Small Future

Frantic though improbable efforts continue to seek to decertify the election of 2020. The less said about this counter-factual dementia the better. But serious issues are embodied in legislation in several states that would permit partisan legislatures to disallow the expressed will of the people. We seem headed into a series of truly fascinating election cycles. 2022, besides being a widely-advertised referendum on the current president will be a case study in dynamics of voter enthusiasm. After Covid, after Ukraine, after 45, it’s challenging for anyone to gin up something close to “enthusiasm.” There are reports of despair on left and right. That’s not our wheelhouse. This organization is concerned with the conduct of fair elections not impacted by hacking, voter rejection or peremptory challenges by partisan hacks in random state houses. The upstate returns on those challenges are awaited. ’24 could include a surfeit of drama, wherever some of the candidates stand. There are a few people who imagine that at least one will be in custody by that time. Election workers — professionals trained and vital to a complex process — are threatening to quit in large numbers in the face of intimidation. This will put more kinks into a system being assaulted from all sides. Vigilance and redoubled commitment to the plebiscite is vital for the coming decade. New tools for protecting our votes are advancing. Likely there will be legislation to protect the most vulnerable parts of the process. But America’s creaking democracy is groaning loudly in this crucial domain. We are left to ask: Should voting be obligatory? Are parties (as constructed and operated) the best vehicles to express the vox populi? Is our system irretrievably corrupted? Can money be scrubbed out of politics? And will democracy survive the assault that seems to be gaining in ferocity on a daily basis? Stay tuned.

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