This Week in Statehouse Action: Still Screwed edition

This Week in Statehouse Action: Still Screwed edition

We have a new president!

But Republicans still run the show in most statehouses, and they’re not going to be shy about using their power to stymie the Biden agenda at every opportunity.

And then there’s the next round of redistricting, where GOP gerrymandering is likely to return the U.S. House to an artificial GOP majority after 2022.

Sorry, sunshine was for Inauguration Day. The business of governing continues this week in 33 states, and in capitols where Republicans run the show, it was dirty business, indeed.

It was somehow barely more than two weeks ago that Donald Trump incited a domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol, and even though the joint is under (mostly) new management, those who participated both in the violence and in the larger attempt to undermine our democracy by overturning the presidential election results must be held accountable.

Campaign Action

The list of Republicans who make laws who were on-site for the attack on the Capitol has expanded from 13 to 14 (including the one guy who somehow had enough shame to resign):

  • Alaska Rep. David Eastman
  • Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem
  • Colorado Rep. Ron Hanks
  • Illinois Rep. Chris Miller
  • Maryland Del. Dan Cox
  • Michigan Rep. Matt Maddock
  • Missouri Rep. Justin Hill
  • Nevada Assemblywoman Annie Black
  • Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano
  • Rhode Island Rep. Justin Price
  • Tennessee Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver
  • Virginia Del. Dave LaRock
  • Virginia Sen. (and gubernatorial candidate) Amanda Chase
  • West Virginia Del. Derrick Evans*
  • West Virginia Sen. Mike Azinger

*Derrick Evans faces criminal charges and has since resigned from the West Virginia House.

… plus various former state legislators, which is bad, but at least they don’t make laws any more.

The good folks at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee have pulled together a list of Republican lawmakers who signed on to letters and resolutions calling for the results of the presidential election to be overturned.

These people actively sought to disenfranchise millions of voters and undermine the foundation of our democracy.

More than 430 lawmakers across 15 states put their names on these documents.

Some are facing consequences!

In Virginia, the three Republican delegates (Ronnie Campbell, Mark Cole, Dave LaRock) who signed a letter asking Vice President Mike Pence to effectively disenfranchise millions of Virginia voters by rejecting the state’s electors were booted from one committee each.

Two of the three demanded that the Democratic House speaker reinstate them and whined that their “free speech” is being violated.

The third apparently has a better grasp of the law and accepts the speaker’s very real authority to place or remove House members on/from committees.

Democratic Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn is ignoring the two Republicans as they persist in failing to comprehend that actions have consequences.

The two delegates—Campbell and LaRock—say that they’re considering legal action, which, well, good luck with that.

Fun fact! None of these three Republicans has a law degree but apparently one at least Googled “freedom of speech.”

Most of the other Republican lawmakers on that list of hundreds are in legislatures controlled by the GOP, so don’t hold your breath for more consequences on that front.

Last week in this space, we journeyed together down memory lane to create some context for the current push from Republicans in some states to start divvying their electoral votes up by congressional district—a move that, because congressional districts in those state are so skewed in favor of the GOP, would effectively gerrymander the Electoral College.

  • Back in the mid-2010s, it was something of a fad among GOP-controlled legislatures to attempt to gerrymander the Electoral College.
    • That is, Republican lawmakers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, who were still sore about Obama winning their (mostly) historically blue states, wanted to figure out a way to give some of their electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate for a change.
    • How? By allocating them by (conveniently GOP-gerrymandered) congressional districts.
  • But Republicans in some states are suddenly reconsidering this scheme to effectively disenfranchise voters who live in densely populated areas.
  • Now New Hampshire joins the list of states considering formal proposals to allocate electoral votes by congressional district.
    • And remember, the Granite State is currently under GOP trifecta control—Republican governor, Republican majorities in the legislature.

And while Wisconsin and Michigan both currently have Democratic governors who aren’t shy about using their veto pens, both of them are up for reelection in 2022.

  • If a Republican wins either race, these proposals have an actual chance to become law before the 2024 presidential election.

Meanwhile, an ostensibly nonpartisan but actually Republican state senator in Nebraska has introduced a bill that would move Nebraska in the opposite direction by abolishing the allocation of electoral votes by congressional district.

These proposals are obviously have nothing to do with any good-faith concerns about the fairness of the Electoral College; rather, they’re extremely obviously motivated by Republican partisan interests.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that these schemes may actually backfire on Republicans in the longer term, especially if Wisconsin and Michigan one day turn reliably red.

Still, though, the only thing more undemocratic than the Electoral College is a gerrymandered Electoral College.

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