RIGGING THE GAME IS EASIER THAN EARNING VOTES…. In Florida, Republicans dominate in a way that offers them a great opportunity. The GOP not only has the governor’s office, but has majorities so large in the legislature, Republicans outnumber Democrats in both the state House and state Senate by better than two-to-one majorities.
In light of such power, if the party that enjoys power wants to ensure it stays in charge, this is surely the GOP’s chance — Republicans can do a great job, serve the people well, and prove that they deserve voters’ trust. Indeed, they can even claim all the credit since they run the show.
Or, Republicans can stay in office by using their power to rig the game and hurt those who help Democrats. Guess which approach the GOP prefers?
With an eye toward the 2012 elections, Florida Republicans are mounting the broadest assault on their Democratic counterparts since taking control of the Legislature 15 years ago.
Bills barreling through the House and Senate attempt to starve Democrats of their primary sources of cash and halt partisan gains of the last two election cycles. With Republican supermajorities in both chambers, Democrats can’t stop them.
On Thursday, the House passed a bill to block the kind of voter registration drives that helped sweep President Barack Obama into the White House and gave Democrats an edge of more than 600,000 votes.
Republicans are also moving bills on litigation overhaul that make it more difficult for trial lawyers — big contributors to Florida Democrats — to mount or profit from lawsuits against hospitals, HMOs, nursing homes, insurers and others. Another large Democratic donor — unions — would be starved of campaign cash through legislation that would sever payroll deductions, a key union fundraising tool. Republicans are also effectively cutting worker salaries, making it harder for public employees to contribute to unions.
They have also passed measures that could add to their nearly absolute power in the Capitol: new campaign finance laws that would increase fundraising power, coupled with deregulation of private business, insurers and developers that would lift burdens from traditional GOP contributors.
The Miami Herald characterized this as “bare-knuckle politics at its purest.”
Digby added, “Now let’s assume they will eventually be punished by the people for ‘overreach’ because they are just that crazy. Will it have been worth it to put in place myriad laws and regulations that favor their own sources of money and make it much more difficult for their opponents to democratically win office? I’d say so.”
And they may not even be punished. Either way, Republicans just don’t seem to care.
So long as they’re using government to suppress Democratic allies and make it harder for Dems to compete in elections, the GOP gets what it wants.