This is what happens in a dictatorship, not a democracy

Ari Berman makes clear what an outrage the North Carolina coup is.

What began as a special legislative session to help victims of Hurricane Matthew quickly turned into something very different when the GOP-controlled legislature hastily passed a series of bills stripping incoming Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of his constitutional powers. Most noteworthy, Cooper will no longer get to appoint a majority of members to the state board of elections or 100 county boards of elections, and the state board will be chaired by a Republican in all even-numbered years—i.e., any time there’s a major congressional, statewide, or presidential election. With Republicans holding a super-majority in the legislature, this is a guaranteed prelude to future voter-suppression efforts. The bill also makes it harder for the state Supreme Court, which has a 4-3 Democratic majority, to review future challenges to election-law changes. Outgoing Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill 48 hours after it was first introduced.

They’re hell-bent on suppressing the black vote in North Carolina, and the Shelby ruling will make it impossible to use the Voting Rights Act to stop them. We’re going fucking backwards.

Ari says they’re turning what was one of the most progressive states in the South into a laboratory for voter suppression.

The legislative coup is merely the latest in a series of outrageous and illegal actions by the North Carolina GOP to undermine democracy in the state.

First, after taking power after the 2010 election for the first time since 1870, North Carolina Republicans gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts by resegregating the state politically in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Federal courts have already struck down two congressional districts for racial gerrymandering and ordered new elections for 28 General Assembly districts next year. In other words, the legislature that stripped power from the next Democratic governor was elected by illegal means.

Second, a month after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, the North Carolina legislature passed the country’s worst voter-suppression law. The “monster” bill required strict voter ID, cut early voting, and eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

They made voting as difficult as possible, and guess who is targeted when legislatures do that.

The pattern in North Carolina is clear: When Republicans win, they suppress the Democratic vote to solidify power in future elections. And when they lose, they rig the rules to prevent their opponents from being able to fairly exercise and maintain power. This is what happens in a dictatorship, not a democracy. And it’s a preview of what’s to come in Trump’s America.

I’ve written that Trump is the greatest threat to American democracy in our lifetime because, unlike his Democratic or Republican predecessors, he has little respect for basic democratic institutions like a free press or a fair election. But Trump is also such a threat because his party, as we’re seeing in North Carolina, has displayed the same brazen disregard for the will of the people. And now it will control the White House, the Congress, the courts, and two-thirds of state legislatures.

It’s terrifying.

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