‘Moscow Mitch’ sells out to the Kremlin: Same old voter access debate with Russian dressing
Those following the mainstream news in recent days would be forgiven for thinking that Mitch McConnell had donned his ushanka and laid out a caviar reception for Vladimir Putin on Capitol Hill. Last week, the Republican leader blocked three election security bills which, he claimed, were “partisan” and would do little to actually bolster election security.
Two bills brought before the Senate on Wednesday promised a few crowd-pleasing anti-meddling overtures, like a requirement to report offers of foreign assistance to the FBI and a crackdown on foreign donations. Perhaps hoping to rush the bills through Congress in the wake of Mueller’s testimony earlier that day, Senate Democrats met a brick wall in the form of McConnell, who once described himself as a “Grim Reaper,” mercilessly slaying Democratic legislation.
When the Kentucky Republican killed another bill on Friday – this time aimed at providing federal grants to standardize voting machines and procedures in certain states – the media turned on McConnell. “Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset,” read a Washington Post headline. Accusing McConnell of “aiding and abetting” Vladimir Putin, liberal MSNBC host Joe Scarborough christened the Senate leader “Moscow Mitch.”
"He is aiding & abetting Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert U.S. democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI…All Republicans are saying Russia is trying to subvert U.S. democracy & Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.--@JoeNBCpic.twitter.com/vV1TekFgHF— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) July 26, 2019
By Tuesday, #MoscowMitchMcTreason was trending on Twitter, complete with memes depicting the ruddy-faced senator standing in Red Square in Soviet military dress, because of course.
It feels good to wake up and see #MoscowMitchMcTreason number one trending. These guys are blatantly openly working with the Russians to keep power and until I saw that trending I thought nobody cared. AMERICA your illegitimate president is a Russian agent. #FightTheFascists— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) July 30, 2019
I've never seen such a DESERVING title for a man that is so un-American and un-Patriotic. He has never given a damn about anything other than consolidating power. Can we begin to up donations to @AmyMcGrathKY so she can kick his ass out of the Senate? #MoscowMitchMcTreason— DanielleMoodie-Mills (@DeeTwoCents) July 30, 2019
McConnell had already fired back at his critics in the media on Monday, calling them “hyperventilating hacks,” and defending his party’s work to beef up election security.
“I’m not going to let Democrats and their water carriers in the media use Russia’s attack on our democracy as a Trojan horse for partisan wish list items that would not actually make our elections any safer,” McConnell said.
McConnell’s opposition was likely based more on old partisan arguments with Democrats and on concern about his party’s election prospects than a desire to further the supposed interests of the Kremlin.Also on rt.com ‘Clinton Body Count’ trends on Twitter, establishment blames Russia
Friday’s bill contained provisions that Republicans had long opposed, and drew extensively from HR 1, or the For the People Act of 2019, a sweeping anti-corruption bill passed by House Democrats in January that tacked on some anti-Trump and politically divisive provisions for good measure.
These included a requirement for presidential candidates to submit ten years’ worth of tax returns and turn their financial interests over to a blind trust upon taking office.
Other measures were bundled in, aimed at keeping felons on the voter rolls, and shielding non-citizens from prosecution should they be caught voting. The bill also proposed redrawing Congressional districts –described by McConnell as a Democratic “power grab”– and granting statehood to Washington DC, a move that would have almost certainly created another Democratic stronghold.Also on rt.com Old O’Donnell had a yarn… MSNBC host claims Putin helped BoJo become PM
While HR 1 was obviously disregarded by Republicans, Friday’s bill met a similar fate, both due to what it included and to what it left out. The text required states to use federally-approved and audited voting machines, and keep paper ballots as a backup, something Republicans consider federal overreach into individual states’ voting systems.
McConnell had already vowed earlier this year to "defend" against any federalization of the electoral process, unless that legislation included a provision clamping down on illegal ballot harvesting – the collection and returning of other people’s mail-in votes by campaign staff. Ballot harvesting is legal in 19 states, and the GOP has repeatedly called for its abolition, along with the imposition of stricter voter ID laws.
We should immediately pass Voter ID @Voteridplease to insure the safety and sanctity of our voting system. Also, Paper Ballots as backup (old fashioned but true!). Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2019
Democrats, on the other hand, argue that any moves towards abolishing the practice or passing voter ID legislation are GOP efforts to disenfranchise voters.
However, election maneuvering doesn’t grab headlines like “Moscow Mitch” does. With the media busy drumming up new nicknames and insults, the same homegrown efforts to influence elections continue unimpeded behind the scenes.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!