Bob Stannard: Get rid of Mitch

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By now it is eminently clear that not only did Russia interfere with our 2016 presidential elections to assist the campaign of Donald Trump; they are working hard right now to ensure Trump's re-election.

U.S. intelligence agencies have all declared that Russia has been, and will continue to spread likes and perhaps physically hack our voting machines.

During his testimony before Congress this week, special prosecutor Robert Mueller said, without any hesitation, that Russia is currently working to undermine our electoral process. This should be viewed as a direct attack upon our nation like that of 9/11. America is under assault by a foreign adversary who is working diligently to expand his influence around the world. Vladimir Putin lied to the world about his attack on Ukraine. He has since annexed this country to Russia; the first aggressive land grab by another country in decades.

In Vladimir Putin we have a man who is drunk with power. He kills his foes and those who speak out against him. He reconfigured his country so that he can be president seemingly forever. Putin is a threat to the world in which we live and he is a direct threat to the United States of America.

What are our leaders doing to protect America; its people and our long-standing democracy? Not one thing. The Democrats have passed legislation designed to enhance our security only to have it die in the hands of the President Pro 9 of the United States Senate Mitch McConnell along with his Republican colleagues.

Immediately after the warnings laid out by Mueller the Democratic House passed legislation, that would help to protect our democracy. From CNN and other reporting: "Two of those bills would require campaigns to report to federal authorities any attempts by foreign entities to interfere in United States elections, and the third is aimed at protecting from hackers the personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers."

All but one House Republican adamantly opposed these protections.

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So what gives here? Wouldn't you think that the GOP would be the first party in line to scream loudly that we must protect our democracy and free elections? The GOP is supposed to be the party of freedom and family values. In a bizarre turn of events they have morphed into the party of helping Russia.

In an even more bizarre turn of events since 2014 Republican support for Russia has doubled from 22 percent to 44 percent. Nearly half of all Republicans now seem to like Putin. Why? Because their leader likes him.

Republicans are in a tough spot. If they acknowledge to fact that Russia is undermining our democracy they will be forced to acknowledge that our current president resides in the Oval Office thanks to Russia. The president's frail ego, and perhaps demented mind, will not allow him to say that he had, and needed, help to win in 2016. So the GOP logic now is that since Russia's involvement didn't matter in 2016 then it won't matter in 2020. Therefore there's no need to protect the sanctity of our electoral process.

Now let's be clear. There is little doubt that the Democrats are giddy about passing legislation for political purposes that would knowingly put the Republicans in an awkward position. That's what politics is about, but in this case we're not talking about political one-upmanship. We're talking about our free and fair elections and this process being under attack by our number one adversary. Why is this not a bipartisan effort?

The Republican Party of today is not the Republican Party of yesterday. It is now the party of Trump; a president who has never had more than 44 percent of support from voters. He won the electoral college, but lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. Lately we've learned that he could, once again, win the electoral college and still lose the popular vote by a larger margin.

This political party has come to the realization that if every eligible American voter voted that they would never win an election again. To combat this they have gerrymandered districts to guarantee their success. Thanks to their very rich donors who just got a $2 trillion tax cut they have orchestrated a well-funded voter suppression campaign to discourage Americans from voting. And now, thanks to the donor's golden boy, Mitch McConnell, we can rest assured that America cannot be assured of having its elections be free of suspect in 2020. McConnell is about power at all costs. If that means destroying the greatest democracy on earth and handing it over to Vladimir Putin, then so be it. Ronald Reagan be damned. If you're like me and don't particularly want to see our democracy, and way of life come to an end, then it's clear that the U.S. Senate must rid itself of Mitch McConnell. "Get Rid of Moscow Mitch" is a nice campaign slogan, don't you think?

Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.


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