The Republicans have shown their cards. They are, without a doubt, enemies of democracy.
What can we say about a party that stays silent in the face of growing authoritarianism? Or one that actively subverts democracy to get their way?
I’ve used this quote from David Frum’s book Trumpocracy a lot, but it continues to horrify me how accurate it is:
“If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. The will reject democracy.”
For our most recent and shocking example, we look at what the North Carolina Republicans did in their state House last night. The Republican-led state legislature passed a budget a couple of months ago, which the Democratic governor then vetoed. The Republicans wanted to override the veto, but you need a three-fifths majority to accomplish that, a majority the Republicans don’t have.
The Republicans saw their chance — and even with all we’ve seen over the last several years, I still can’t quite believe this — by taking advantage of 9/11. Yes, they used 9/11. The Republicans in the state House told the Democrats there would be no votes the morning of September 11 out of respect for the solemn occasion. So, most of the Democrats were out of the chamber to attend to various events. With them physically out of the chamber, the Republicans went back into the chamber and took a vote, getting all of the Republicans to vote Yes and only a small handful of Democrats still present voting No, to get them the three-fifths votes they needed to override the veto. The full House is made up of 120 members; the vote yesterday was 55-9.
One of the very few Democrats in the chamber at this time was Rep. Deb Butler, who voiced her outrage at the deception to the speaker of the House, and really, captured all of our collective outrage at how the Republicans have run roughshod over democracy. Watch:
The Republicans could not find a way to override the governor’s veto through the regular, democratic process of working with their fellow House members to come to some kind of compromise. Nope, instead they devised a strategy based on deception and that didn’t allow for just shy of HALF of the House Reps to vote–essentially screwing over half of the North Carolina citizens out of their constitutional right to be represented in the state legislature.
Can anything be done?
Yes. First of all, the override vote also has to pass in the state Senate. If you know anyone in North Carolina, make sure they are aware of this story so they can press their state Senator to be sure not to be caught off guard by Republican shenanigans. Calling their office would be the quickest way to reach them, but Moms Rising has an online form with a pre-written letter they can send to their state Senator in less than 2 minutes HERE.
Second, we can all get to work on registering voters and talking to voters to get them ramped up to vote, and in big numbers, for the 2020 election. I worked with some local activists in the state to pull together a list of organizations working in North Carolina to register voters; get involved with one of them right now, and pass this info to others who care about saving our democracy from the Republicans.
Thank you for taking action.
News & Observer: NC House overrides budget veto in surprise vote with almost half of lawmakers absent
Washington Post: North Carolina Republicans vote to override a budget veto in half-empty Assembly during 9/11 remembrance
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