A head-spinning saga out of North Carolina spins faster as revelations of a voter fraud scam prompted a new election to be called this week. Mark Harris, the Republican candidate for Congress in NC-09, was willing to take the seat despite public distrust of his operation of collecting unmarked absentee ballots, until his own son gave devastating testimony that he had tried to stop his dad from cheating in elections.
Fighting voter fraud has led to voter ID laws across the country and regular purges of the voter rolls. That this was never a real problem has no bearing on Republicans, who continually try to make voting harder for those demographics likely to vote against Republicans. You’d think that the Republicans who regularly feared that non-citizens were voting would be outraged that a Republican operative has been paying people to pick up unmarked absentee ballots and filling them in, which is totally illegal and anti-democracy. Right?
Trump has made continual claims of millions of illegal voters, Florida Gov. Rick Scott blamed “unethical liberals” for wanting to count all the votes in Florida, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s voter ID law was reprimanded in court after his own expert witness admitted there was no evidence of voter fraud. ThinkProgress contacted these electeds and others about NC-09—no one responded.
To be clear, this Republican was caught cheating using absentee ballots that were not cast by voters. Other Republicans advancing the idea that there is in-person voting fraud are using a different form of cheating to the same end.
This comes down to the prevailing difference between both parties: one wants people to vote, the other doesn't. My brother pointed out that Republicans are like the coaches in professional wrestling: if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t tryin’.
Mark Harris today announced that he will not run in the rescheduled election, citing his health. This may make it easier for the local Republican Party, but check out who Harris has already endorsed to run in his place:
Stony Rushing, posing with a rifle and a cigar dressed like Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard. In case the connection is lost on you, the picture helpfully adds, “Supporting the 2nd Amendment like a boss.”
It’s worth remembering that Boss Hogg, who wore a white suit and cowboy hat chomping on a cigar, was a cartoonishly corrupt local politician, a crooked county commissioner who regularly cooked up schemes to enrich himself at the expense of the public. Boss Hogg was so farcically dishonest, even little kids who couldn’t read or write yet grasped that this was a caricature of what not to be. And this is not even getting into the whole Confederate flag thing (more on that in my book).
But as the Trump era has inspired villains to wear their true colors, it makes it that much easier to consider ourselves the Good Guys. These are people who rally around the cause of “Cheat To Win!” It isn’t hard to see yourself as not this type of person—but it’s up to you to make the contrast. It’s not enough to shake your head, you need to speak out and identify that you are not the type to need to dress up in corrupt politician cosplay and run for Congress in a race that is being held again (at considerable taxpayer expense) because your party cheated. Fuck it, we’re not just good guys, we’re superheroes. What are you going to dress up as?