Matt Vasilogambros, Stateline News Service - The Republican war against free and fair elections

Matt Vasilogambros, Stateline News Service
The Republican war against free and fair elections


One thing you can count on from the Devil, he will always do his worst.

What’s the worst lie in American political history?  The Big Lie of course. The lie that the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged, that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, and that the Presidency of Joe Biden is illegitimate and forever tainted by the so-called “Steal.”

Look, lying has frequently played a big role in American politics. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy lied about a fictional missile gap to win election. Lyndon Johnson lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident to win support for a major escalation of the war in Vietnam. The George W. Bush administration lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify war in Iraq. But those were lies whose real target was a foreign enemy.

What makes Trump’s Big Lie the biggest is that it is aimed at the heart of American democracy, the credibility of clean, fair elections. Although the Big Trumpublican Lie is about the last election — the one Joe Biden won, cleanly and fairly by more than seven million votes and 74 members of the Electoral College — the real focus is on the next one, especially the 2022 Congressional elections and then, every vote thereafter.

The Republicans’ next Big Enough Lie is that they are out to save the electoral process, while, in fact, they are systematically undermining not just the credibility but the cleanness and fairness of the vote. The Republican attack is epic, targeting specifically the beginning, middle and end of elections.

In the beginning, there are the voters; at the end, the winners selected by the most votes. In the middle, the people who process the votes, who set up the polls, count the ballots and certify the results.

In 19 states, Republican legislators have dreamed up new ways to eliminate voters, especially voters likely to vote Democratic. It’s become a national scandal.

In every state, the 2020 census has made this a year of Congressional redistricting, a year of Gerrymandering. Nothing new there. But what is new is the aggression and precision of Republicans deciding who gets to vote for whom — reshaping districts for nothing but partisan advantage.  But maps of twisted shapes also are hard to hide, and Gerrymandering by both parties — in my home state of New Mexico — it’s the Democrats winning that game is well-known by anyone paying attention.

Then there’s that mid-ground between voters and winners … the system that determines where and how votes are cast and counted, checked and ratified, an areas much less closely observed by voters.



Matt Vasilogambros covers voting rights, gun laws and policing for Stateline, reporting from California. Before joining Stateline, he was a writer and editor at The Atlantic, where he covered national politics and demographic shifts. Previously, he was a staff correspondent at National Journal covering the White House and elections, and has written for Outside and Backpacker magazines. In 2017, he completed the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. He is a graduate of Drake University.




Subscribe to insider notes from Dave Marash along with previews and cartoons of upcoming podcasts. You’ll be richer, taller, and if you don’t eat, thinner.


Here & There is kept afloat by wonderful sponsors and curious listeners like you. Your support is appreciated!