What happens when special interests dominate a party?

Republicans are trying to discourage and confuse voters

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

American democracy has grown and developed since the Constitution was adopted in Philadelphia more than two centuries ago.

Voting was originally limited to white men, and oftentimes only men from wealthier families could participate in the political process.

However, after the Civil War, Black men gained the constitutional right to vote, though they were often unable to vote, especially in the South, because many states imposed punitive poll taxes and other barriers to suppress Black voting rights.

Just 100 years ago, women gained the right to vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In this January 2019 file photo from the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), right, speaks to members of the media as, left to right, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) listen. (Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Just 55 years ago, Black women and men alike finally received full privileges of citizenship as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 swept away the illegal and immoral barriers that prevented all Americans from participating in our democratic society.

In recent years, voting has become increasingly accessible as more states adopt early voting and voting by mail. These secure and convenient voting options have increased voter participation rates and have succeeded in strengthening our democratic process.

As more Americans vote, the more responsive our elected leaders become. This is the essence of America’s democratic system of government and is why our country was called a “beacon of democracy.”

As more Americans vote, the more responsive our elected leaders become.
Now, some deep-pocketed special interest groups are not happy that Americans have gained the power to demand a say in governance. What have these wealthy special interest groups done to slow down and reverse the power of the American people?

They hijacked a political party — my party, the Republican Party. As a member of Republicans for Integrity, I am not happy to report this development.

These wealthy special interests do not put the “public interest” first, but rather prioritize tax cuts for the rich and Senate confirmation of unqualified judicial nominees who will further promote the goals of these special interest groups.

What happens when special interests dominate the Republican party? Here are a few national priorities that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has ignored:

  • Common-sense gun safety measures

  • Climate change, which enables more-frequent extreme weather events, with record wildfires in the West this year along with a record hurricane season on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts

  • The federal government’s poor response to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to 200,000 American lives lost in six months with a per-capita death rate among the highest in the world

Now, what else are McConnell and other Republican senators doing as we approach a pivotal election in the middle of a national debate over the direction of the Supreme Court?

McConnell, in collaboration with other Republicans and the Donald Trump campaign, are trying to discourage and confuse voters — especially voters who may be considering voting for non-Republican candidates, by engaging in questionable tactics such as:

  • Attacking voting by mail, though this is the safest and most secure way to vote this year

  • Attempting to implement burdensome voter ID requirements in the belief that this might discourage many non-Republican voters

  • Encouraging third-party candidates in order to dilute support for Republican opponents

  • Purging voter rolls, removing a higher percentage of non-Republicans

  • Failing to provide election security funding to cities and states, hoping that foreign interference in our elections on behalf of Republicans might go unnoticed

Despite these Republican hijinks, there is a straightforward solution: vote. Do not let talk of “voter suppression” scare you or your family members from exercising your constitutional right to vote this fall.

Many generations of Americans worked, protested and sacrificed so that all American citizens would have the right to vote. This year, let’s honor their successful struggle and have a record turnout. Do not let the Republican Party reverse our democratic rule of law.

Your vote really does matter … still.