Another day, and another head-smacking exercise of “WTF” is he doing? He signed some more of those “unconstitutional executive orders” Republicans claim they were under President Obama. Sean Spicer stood up in front of the press room and basically whined about “getting some respect” and then said that the administration “can argue about the facts”.
They believe that if you don’t like the facts, you simply state something different as “facts” and everyone will fall over themselves and say they at right. That is how they plan to sell their tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. Everyone knows that math says if you reduce income, you will balance the budget. Trump claims there will be middle-class tax cuts, but I am a getting the feeling he considers the middle-class as anyone who makes over $1 million per year.
But these are just the tips of the many icebergs that lie in the way of progress. We also need to understand how he and the Republican Party are trying to dismantle our democracy.
The latest attack on democracy comes from that wonderful red state of South Dakota. In order to understand everything, remember that the Republicans keep wanting us to believe “we are only doing what the American People want”.
So, here is what is going on in South Dakota. During the election there was an initiative on the ballot called IM 22. This initiative tried to limit political contributions and close the loophole that says you can hide your identity when giving to a politician.
It put limits on personal contributions. It put limits on party and PAC contributions. It even said that donors must be identified. It said that if a politician received an anonymous donation they had to direct it to a non-profit charity. It even set up a system to publicly finance elections. Then, to top it off, it created an independent commission to oversee investigations into ethical misconduct by elected officials.
Here is the good news. The measure won with 52 percent of the vote even though the Koch Brothers’ group “Americans for Prosperity” spent millions of dollars to defeat the measure. Needless to say, Republican pacemakers all over South Dakota stopped.
Real panic set in among the so-called “conservatives” in the state. See, even if the State Legislature were to repeal the law under normal conditions, the voters could override that repeal and make the measure law. So, in order to stop the voters from actually winning an election that Republicans hate, they are using extreme measures to override the measure.
What they are doing is basically declaring a state of emergency. They have something there called “emergency rules” which they voted to implement in order to keep the voters from overriding their repeal with another ballot initiative.
Now they just need to have a floor vote and the measure will disappear, never to be heard from again. Isn’t that a nice way to handle democracy? I guess trump’s administration would call this alternative facts.
Naturally the Governor Dennis Daugaard and the rest of the Republicans were opposed to the measure. Daugaard even said the measure was a mess and “a constitutional crisis in our state” because, he said, it makes “de-facto criminals out of every elected office holder” and gives those officials “only two choices: resign the office and abandon the voters or remain and commit a crime.”
Steve Hildebrand, an advocate for the ethics initiative said: “Republicans simply want nobody policing their business when they dominate the legislature and the governor’s office,”
Of course this mirrors the national attempt by Congressional Republicans to defang the Office of Congressional Ethics and slam the head of the Office of Government Ethics because he disagrees with trump’s claim to have divested from his businesses which he hasn’t.
Doug Kronaizl, head of Represent South Dakota said: “A total repeal of a law passed by the voters is a completely unprecedented move in South Dakota’s political history.”
The publicly financed part includes something I thought Republican would love. The publicly funded campaign system would provide each citizen with two $50 vouchers to be used as contributions to participating candidates. To receive the vouchers, candidates would have to agree to lower contribution limits and spending caps. The program would be funded from the state’s general fund at a cost of $9 per registered voter.
There is that magic word that Republicans love when it comes to Medicare, VA Benefits, and a host of other issues “vouchers”. But the Koch Brothers didn’t agree with this and in one mailer even said the measure would allow politicians to pocket “our hard earned money.”
Is Americans for Prosperity claiming that our politicians are all crooks? Are they admitting that it is better for these crooks to pocket their group’s money instead? It is all bullshit!
There was a reason for this measure and why it won. South Dakota has recently been rocked by multiple scandals, including the corrupt administration of the state’s privatized EB-5 program and the embezzlement of funds by state employees from an education cooperative.
Geeze, why would South Dakota need a commission to oversee ethics in the state? Even some Republicans who want to overrule the voters say that the commission part might be better left in tact.
To make matters worse, a Judge in South Dakota has already put a stay on the measure when Republicans sued to stop the measure. So, the question is why do they feel it is necessary to have this emergency rules action?
The Judge’s ruling found that some elements of the measure were unconstitutional, but others were not. While supporters want to salvage the latter parts as the case goes through the courts, the legislature now looks set to repeal the whole law.
State Sen. Billie Sutton (D) doesn’t understand why Republicans want this repeal done in just four days. Then he answered his own question when he said: “They don’t want to hear from the voters through emails and personal conversations and forums over the weekend.”
So, while trump is giving coverage with his childish behavior in Washington, states like South Dakota are fighting back against the voters of their own state. They are saying that the people of their state are not as smart as they are, and therefore they can repeal a voter initiative just because they don’t agree with it.
I have been warning you about the chipping away of our democracy at the state level for some time now. Here is another example of that fact, and what trump would call “alternative facts”.
The groundwork to establish our authoritarian government is being laid in states like South Dakota. It won’t be long until we start seeing such actions being taken at the federal level as well.
It is my belief that trump still wants to be dictator and the Republican Party with its actions are enabling him to achieve that goal. I guess Republicans really believe that is what the American People want since they keep claiming to “only be doing what the American People want”. Even if the polls show a total opposite belief.
Maybe it is appropriate that the Republican Party loves that whole “red state” thing they keep pushing. Actions like this are the real “alternative facts” being pushed down our throats. And the shirts keep marching along.