Two things happened in the U.S. Senate Thursday:
Its Intelligence Committee released a report concluding that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states.
Its majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blocked votes on two bills to make elections secure.
What gives? The bills McConnell blocked included a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and included money for the Election Assistance Commission and a bill by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to require candidates and election officials to notify the FBI of offers of assistance from foreign governments.
McConnell called the first bill “partisan.” According to the National Review, he objected to the second bill because states, not the federal government, should control elections.
The only conclusion to be reached is that McConnell would rather risk Soviet influence than pass legislation that might help Democrats. Here’s what Paul Waldman of the Washington Post writes:
Guess what: McConnell is right! Legislation to secure our elections is partisan. And the fact that it’s partisan shows just how pathological the Republican Party has become in its determination to hold on to power.
So here are some things that, in our system today, are “partisan” in the sense that if we were to do them they would advantage the Democratic Party over the Republican Party:
- Securing our voting systems from foreign hacking
- Allowing every American to vote
- Making it as easy as possible for Americans to vote
- Ensuring that all votes count equally …
Republicans have quite plainly looked at our current state of electoral dysfunction and concluded that it’s working pretty darn well for them. Donald Trump is president, isn’t he? Why would we want to mess with a system that’s producing such wonderful outcomes?
Only yesterday, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller warned a House committee that Russia was moving to interfere in the 2020 elections “as we sit here.”