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Trump's 'big lie' has become the GOP's newest voter suppression weapon

by By Dean Obeidallah, MSNBC Opinion Columnist | Story Source    Tuesday February 23, 2021 - 10:51 PM
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* Karma For Trump *
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Trump's 'big lie' has become the GOP's newest voter suppression weapon
If there's one thing the GOP hates, it's "cancel culture." Republicans have cited their opposition to cancel culture to justify their defense of just about everything, from refusing to rename military bases and monuments that bear the names of Confederate generals to defending former President Donald Trump during his recent impeachment trial, which they dubbed "constitutional cancel culture." Their distaste for the phenomenon is the theme of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

At one point, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, called cancel culture the "most dangerous thing happening in the country today."

And yet, there's one thing that Republicans have long loved to "cancel": voting by non-Republicans. Since Trump's loss in the 2020 election, the GOP has taken this love to new heights — or lows, if we're to be accurate.

The Brennan Center, a nonpartisan policy institute, says in a report that 33 states have "introduced, prefiled, or carried over 165 bills to restrict voting access." That is more than four times the number of bills introduced this same time last year, the center says, calling it "an unmistakable response to the unfounded and dangerous lies about fraud that followed the 2020 election."

That means that despite Trump's loss, his "big lie" is now being weaponized by the GOP as justification to suppress voting in key battleground states that Trump lost, such as Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. These efforts range from making it harder to register voters to ending early voting days to limiting mail-in voting and beyond.

For an overview of the GOP's cancel-palooza, let's start with Georgia, which President Joe Biden won by a little over 11,000 votes. Despite the state's GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger declaring after the 2020 election that "Georgia's voting system has never been more secure or trustworthy," the state has introduced 11 bills that restrict voting under the guise of "voter integrity."

On Feb. 18, new legislation was introduced by a leading GOP member of the Georgia Legislature, which voting rights activists say was designed to make it harder for people in "larger, minority-heavy Democratic strongholds of the state" to cast their ballots.

One proposal would end early voting on Sundays, which, as local activists noted, is intended to undermine the "souls to the polls" get-out-the-vote effort organized by Black churches across the country that takes place on Sunday mornings during election season and serves a demographic that overwhelmingly votes Democratic. Nancy Flake Johnson, president of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "By seeking to eliminate Sunday voting, you are targeting people of faith whose jobs and economic circumstances make it hard for them to get to a polling place."

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