From November 2020 to January 2021, Georgia State’s history was pro-democratic: Democratic candidates for president and the U.S. Senate all won. But more importantly, it was pro-democratic. Joe Biden, Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock won in part because of aggressive efforts by grassroots groups in the state too Increase the number of voters compared to the previous Georgia elections. Two of the best Republican elected officials in the state, Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad RaffenspergerRejected a major push by then-President Trump and other Republicans to effectively reverse the state’s presidential election results because Biden won. The Georgia events, along with a similar denial of Trump’s false fraud claims in Arizona Republican Governor Doug Duceywere perhaps the clearest examples of how America’s democratic systems had held in place and prevented Trump from cheating his way to a second term.
A lot has changed since then.
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Now Georgia’s democratic position in 2020 looks more like a temporary victory in a broader struggle for American democracy that remains highly controversial. On Thursday, Kemp signed an important electoral law that was enforced by Republicans in Georgia. Among other things, the law removes part of the power of the Foreign Minister and local districts to hold elections in Georgia and transfers it to a state board likely to be dominated by conservative Republicans. It contains a ban on providing food and water to people standing in line to vote. And Kemp justified the new law by saying that there were unresolved questions as to whether the elections in Georgia were conducted fairly.
In short, Trump lost Georgia in 2020. But his narrative of that election – which was stolen from him – won among Republicans and is now effectively codified in state law.
Republicans are trying to legislate make it harder to vote across the country and it is not clear that Georgia will be among the most aggressive when all are concluded. But considering what happened in Georgia from November to January is the passing of this law in this state is a particularly alarming sign that the Republican Party’s attacks on democratic norms and values are ongoing and, in some ways, accelerating.
Democrats flipped a swing state, and the Republican Party in that state passed legislation to make it difficult for democratically-minded voters to cast ballots and have them counted. A state from the former confederation changed its electoral laws after a heavily black coalition of voters played a large role in choosing their preferred candidates for the president and the U.S. Senate, including the historic election of an African-American senator in the state. A Republican official (Raffensperger) put the country above the party and was then stripped of his authority.
There has a lawsuit has already been filed to prevent this Georgian provision from entering into force. And even if the law goes into effect, it is difficult to say exactly how it would affect the electoral prospects of Republicans and Democrats in Georgia – it clearly appears to be designed to make it difficult for democratically-minded voters to exercise this right. but Democrats might still be able to win. So we don’t know exactly what this law will mean in terms of the elections. But in a democratic sense there is already a clear result: America is a country with declining democracy because there is a big party that increasingly disregards the results of elections it loses or the right to vote of people who oppose it .
Put another way, Georgia Republicans did not close the 2020 election with the aim of finding new messages or strategies to appeal to Georgia’s growing population of colored people. Instead, they chose to imply that these voters were inappropriately participating in the elections in Georgia, which should be prevented in the future. The Washington Post’s motto suggests that “Democracy dies in the dark. “But based on the actions of much of today’s Republican Party, it might be more accurate to say that it dies right on the open day.