What those of us in the logic-based community have known for years is finally common knowledge if not exactly front page news: in-person voter fraud is not a thing that exists. It is a boogeyman made up by Republicans as a Trojan Horse for voter ID laws intended to suppress turnout among the demographics least likely to have a state-issued photo ID. Pennsylvania, one of several states embroiled in VID-related legal battles at present, has admitted that the sole type of voter fraud preventable by VID laws – voter impersonation, etc. – is nonexistent not only in PA but in any other state as well. This meshes with a more recent, comprehensive national study that uncovered all of ten verified instances of in-person voter fraud. Certainly voter fraud exists (particularly with absentee ballots, which can be filled out by god-knows-who) but none of the laws passed in recent years will do anything to stop it.

So we can officially put to rest the whole "millions of illegal voters" myth. Now that the evidence is incontrovertible, I'm curious to hear how our friends on the right will address the fact that these laws they've supported, sometimes vociferously, are really laws to stop blacks and Latinos from voting. Even in conservative circles I doubt many people would stand behind that idea with pride, so some mental gymnastics are necessary in order to keep consciences clear. There are only a few options at this point for the Big Fan of Voter ID Laws:

1. Ignore the data. This might be easy given how little coverage is devoted to this issue.
2. The always popular "I don't have to believe your facts because they're from the liberal (academia, media, etc.) and therefore 'biased' and worthless."
3. Moving goalposts; "Well, voter impersonation might not be a real thing, but Voter ID laws were necessary and positive for several other reasons….
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4. Concede past results but point to a dangerous future, i.e. the "millions of amnestied immigrants are coming to vote for Obama" argument.
5. Admit that you were wrong.

It's likely that as more VID laws end up in court and more states debate similar legislation we are about to see a lot of moving goalposts. It will turn out that VID was never about fraud at all, but actually about some deeply principled affirmation of the responsibility of all citizens to bargle bargle blah blah etc. We're likely to see the high profile Republican candidates do their best to avoid the issue altogether or continue to speak about fraud in the hypothetical, with no concessions to reality.

Having created a voter registration and turnout machine in 2008 unlike anything seen before in American politics, I see no reason why the Obama campaign can't devote similar resources to acquiring valid ID for voters who currently lack it. It's legal to drive a voter to the polls; surely it is also legal to drive someone to the courthouse to get an ID. That seems like a relatively obvious way to address this problem, albeit not one that will have a 100% success rate. The perfect is the enemy of the good in politics, and what might be a good way to minimize the effects of newly-legislated voter suppression should not be cast aside because it won't help everyone.

A lot of relatively sane people with functional moral compasses continue to vote Republican for some reason, and it will be interesting to see how they come to grips with the fact that, oh, I guess these laws Our Guys have pushed for the last four years really are about keeping Undesirables away from the polls. That doesn't seem to be in line with freedom, justice, and the American Way. Then again if they are students of history they no doubt realize that engaging in legal chicanery to prevent black people from voting is very much the American Way. This is one instance in which an appeal to the words and thoughts of the Founders will actually support the Republican position on an issue.

42 thoughts on “CONSCIENCE BALM”

  • In reference to the mail in voter fraud possibilities, I was surprised to receive two notices of dispute from my adopted state of washington over the signatures on the ballot. It turns out that my wife and I had signed each other's returns and it didn't match the signature on file. This was quickly resolved by signing again (correctly this time) and returning the letter.

    I was quite impressed with that and have cleared my doubts in that area at least in the freedom loving (i.e. pinko) northwest.

  • Love that final paragraph.

    Some other Republican voter suppression cognitive dissonance coping mechanisms, some of which I have first-hand experience with in the wild:

    Claim that the three hundred instances of documented voter fraud in the last decade indicates that voter fraud is a loaded gun just waiting for some candidate black enough to use it.

    Act like this is just normal political skullduggery and not worth concern.

    Act like it's a big deal but that "both sides do it" and that the media is just blaming Republicans for something both parties do. Because the media is in the tank for the Democrat party, obviously.

    Just be unable to conceptualize or understand social science, and so have a large mistrust of the evidence. Independent of whatever librul ivory tower conspiracy theories are present. That's not really a knock on intelligence, just an unfamiliarity with the reasoning methods/standards involved.

    Try and offer alternative explanations for the evidence that can get pretty bad. "Poor people just don't want to vote enough." "Those unproductive welfare leaches are too lazy to do what it takes to vote."

    And I mean we are all a little crazy, thinking meat that we are, but it seems like there's a unique or uniquely intense bit of tribalism that infects conservatives when the Republican party does some balls-ass crazy. Is there any reason for a conservative (as opposed to partisan Republican) to froth at the mouth over the made-up Fast and Furious nonsense? Or to have all these elaborate justifications/denials for Republican voter suppression efforts? Or to deny how evil Ralph Reed and Tom DeLay's operations were? Or to obsess over all the insane things people obsessed over when Clinton was in office?

    Is there a liberal counterpart to this stuff, he asks knowing that probably only bb would be able to answer? Is there a counterpart in areas besides politics? It's not like people go "I don't root for a single team, I just like football in general" and then talk about how great Tavaris Jackson is and how Pete Carroll is a molder of men and complain constantly about the officiating bias against the Seahawks in their Super Bowl appearance.

  • There is another option for conservatives, one which they tend to use when you are a family member and they can't pretend you're a member of the librul media. Basically they tune out and finally pounce on some trivial part of your argument, thus changing the subject. Often times the statement they make is so devoid of sense and even syntax or grammar that it shocks you and stops you from talking.

  • I have never understood why this is even a problem. I don't want to be rude to all you Americans, but in other developed countries that is simply not an issue. In my home country, for example, everybody is required by law to have photo ID. When moving house, people are required to inform the town council of where they moved, and that council will inform the town they moved out of. Everybody who is eligible is always automatically on the voter register and gets send the invitation to vote. If thousands of people would be struck from voter rolls, head would roll. This is not rocket science.

    (I mean, how can you even tax people without knowing where they are and how old they are, which immediately tells you whether they are voters? How does that work in the Land of the Free?)

  • Well see, if they did everything that way then everyone would be registered and eligible to vote, and some people don't want that.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    In my recent experience, Conservatives with consciences are rarer than unicorns.

    "The ends justify the means," is their new motto.

    They also follow the old Al Davis motto, "Just WIN, baby!"

    It should disgust every sentient person in this country that we are still fighting over voter right's issues in the 21st Century – but then, that would discount Conservatives, as well.

    We are rapidly devolving into a Banana Republic – thanks to banana's Republicans.
    And too may spineless, gutless, compliant and complicit Democrats, too. Let me not leave those feckin' weasels out of this.

    Sa-weet Jayzoos, stand up and show some guts!
    NOW would be a good time!

    Republicans and Conservatives know the demographics are against them, and that THIS election is crucial for them to finish the job of turning this country into a the worlds best armed Fascist 3rd World nation – run by Plutocrats, for the benefit of themselves, their family members, their cronies, and the politicians who are the means to accomplishing their ends.

    EVERY vote will count in November!
    At least every one NOT cast on an electronic voting machine – or one that doesn't give you a receipt.

    There's more going on here than just voter suppression.
    But that's a tale for another time.

  • I'm not sure about your claim that "a lot of relatively sane people with functional moral compasses continue to vote Republican for some reason." Allow me to clarify before I am chased from the room under a hail of commemorative tchotchkes from the Franklin Mint.

    I believe that it is increasingly impossible for anyone–sane or otherwise–to "vote Republican"–at least, not in the way that they've "voted Republican" most of their lives.

    Back in the day, voting Republican was something that sane and moral people could do–and I'm not going back to Lincoln, or even Teddy Roosevelt. Republicanism contained a set of values–local over federal government–austerity over taxation–tradition over change–that were intelligently, even morally defensible. But we don't vote for those values anymore when we "vote Republican," because the candidates that the party keeps puking up do not believe in those values, nor do they intend to govern by them.

    The primary process has insured that only increasingly irrational and radical people, motivated solely by an agenda of disenfranchisement and a cruel form of Darwinism that often masks deep racism and deeper ignorance, get the nomination, because they will kiss Norquist's ring, or fellate the Koch brothers. Whatever "voting Republican" means anymore, it does not mean what–until rather recently–it used to, and I believe that the days of good and sane people being able to "vote Republican" without abandoning one or both of those qualities are numbered.

    Good and sane people may *want* to vote Republican, but their party won't let them. That's not irony, but it's what stupid newsreaders would call it.

    Please note: None of what I have said is intended as an endorsement of the contemporary state of "voting Democrat." That sucks too. Just for for different reasons.

  • This is the first blog in which Ed sounds naive. He seems to assume that we will have a national discussion about the new I.D. laws at some point, that it's inevitable. But why assume we ever will? Forty years ago Edward R. Murrow would have had an hour-long special on the subject (a la "Harvest of Shame"), everyone in the media would be talking about it the next day and it would be water cooler subject #1.

    We've seen these laws coming down the pike for months; I assume many are already in place (I haven't seen the figures). And STILL the national media treat it as a miscellaneous news item, Democrats whine only once in a while, nothing sticks in the public mind.

    Maybe if these laws cost Obama the election, and statistics are finally produced that reveal the extent of the exclusions for all to see, maybe THEN the matter will get more than 2 minutes in the media.

    The way we're finally, fully addressing global warming in view of the devastating heat wave. Oh, wait, I guess we haven't yet, have we?

  • J. Dryden did a much better job that I would have of getting across the point I was trying to argue in my head. I was just going to strikethrough "with fucntional moral compasses" and add "fixed that for ya." Although, despite being in public education, I do work with a number of people who seem relatively sane and moral, and yet do things like listen to Rush and call Obama "the antichrist" (right after he got elected, and we've been making fun of her for it since then, of course).

  • Acquiring a valid ID or drivers license takes some real effort. I moved to another state 8 years ago and needed to jump thru several hoops to get a new drivers license, NONE of which proved I can properly drive.There was a list of documents that I needed to have three of: my old drivers license,, my social security card and my marriage certificate were the three documents that I was able to scrounge up. The DL was from Illinois, and if you ever heard of George Ryan, you know that was not worth the paper it was print on. The SS card was signed when I was 14, thirty years prior, and the marriage certificate was from a county that no one ever heard of.

    It took three trips to the DMV, several hours of waiting and I had to dig through my safety deposit box at the bank to find this stuff.

    Anyway, that said I still believe that voting is a responsibility, not a right, and that voting needs to be mandatory, complete with fines and/or jail time for those that don't vote. If you don't like any of the candidate, write in a candidate, or leave the ballot blank. Not voting is on par with ditching jury duty, evading taxes, draft dodging and kicking your dog.

    The fact that Republicans actively suppress the vote is reprehensible.

  • The easiest option is probably going to be the same one that they took when it became clear that the right's messengers were flagrantly lying on behalf of the tobacco industry: deafening silence. If you ignore the flagrant wrong-doing, most other folks will ignore it as well.

  • @Peggy, a huge part of the problem is the vast mindless horde who listen to Rush and call Obama 'the antichrist' and drink in every bit of the kool-aid that Fox and other conservative news sources are pouring. It's disheartening that there's such an intractable horde that froth rabidly about whatever concocted "issue" (such as voter fraud) is being pushed.

  • Justice Stevens, in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008), said, “Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists."

    So the answer to your question is "ignorance," and Justice Stevens is not helping. It also doesn't help that most people don't know the legal requirements to vote, even if they've just registered (just as most new employees don't peruse the "List C" options when completing the I-9 form at hire.) If it doesn't affect them directly, they don't bother to learn.

    Willful / malicious ignorance is part of this, since the documentation required to obtain an ID would be easy to get for a lot of the folks who don't have it. (The hard part is getting time off work, getting a ride to the DMV, and making it to the window during the reduced open hours.) Voter fraud, even without a Diebold machine, could be absurdly easy. But that's not the point, or the voter ID mania would never have taken off.

    More willful ignorance is that it's not about discouraging poor people and people of color from voting. Fingers in ears, LA-LA-LA-I-CAN'T-HEAR-YOU! I'm not racist! So this manufactured problem I've started shouting about for some reason can't have been fed to me for racist reasons! LA-LA-LA!

    And some people assume that only BAD PEOPLE are unable to obtain ID. I've met a surprising number of people who believe that felony conviction loses you the right to vote. (Have we ever disenfranchised people here?)

    Too, phenomena such as sharing a valid SSN among "illegals" to obtain healthcare under false papers (what is this, wartime Vichy?) makes the right think they are trying to steal votes as well as healthcare, and that it would be just as easy. (That, or they are thinking of that kid in The Breakfast Club who got a fake ID so he could vote.)

    Either way, there is no army of felons and undocumented workers conspiring to voter fraud, but many of the Arizona Republicans I met believed there were — and that every single one of them would vote the straight Democrat ticket.

  • @Major Kong

    They do. Florida, I think, is one. Part of voter suppression.

    This is just part the of the hatefulness in this country against convicted felons. What part of 'they have paid their debt to society ' don't people understand?????

  • re: Felon disenfranchisement — okay, I showed my ignorance as a childhood transplant to the big square states out west. The ACLU has a brief and pertinent introduction here:

    The more I think about it, the more having a fit about this seems to be appropriate.

    And since I'm wishing and dreaming right now, I'd like to add "more and better education" to the list of improvements to the system. "One person, one vote" is my favorite, but we're not doing it very well.

  • @AlexSL
    In my home country, for example, everybody is required by law to have photo ID.
    Who pays for it? If the people do, it's a tax. If the government does it's socialism. Neither will fly in 'Merica(TM)

    When moving house, people are required to inform the town council of where they moved, and that council will inform the town they moved out of.
    You TELL the government about your movements??? This would definitely not happen over here. Over here we do everything in our power to hide from the government and then make up conspiracy theories about how they're following us and coming for us.

  • Re: "functional moral compass" and "sanity" when voting republican.
    I think it's simpler than this. The republican party of the last 32 years (yes, this is a hidden reagan rant…) has used fear as their primary weapon. And nostalgia. Their primary weapons are fear and nostalgia. And lies. Their primary weapons are…
    [/monty python sketch]

    My father bought his first car for $1200. He put $0.25 gas in that car. At the time he was making say 15k/year. I think it's far from insane for him to remember these things fondly. It also doesn't require a moral compass or sanity to see that the country & especially it's political system aren't doing well. The GOP has successfully taken these memories and convinced him (and many other voting seniors) that the reason their cars are 20k and gas is $4.25 is because of too much government. Again, this is hardly a radical concept. I'll throw in here that he's less racist than most but he's not in the habit of voting based on others needs. Again, this isn't a radical concept.

    The problem comes in the disconnect of wanting less government and voting GOP while taking house credits and living on social security that they will cut. The bigger problem, though, is that neither party actually stands for smaller government and there is no chance of going back to the 50's/60's short of a time machine (and really, why the hell would you waste a time machine going there). We of the tacos and gin know that 'both sides' have a lot more in common than anyone is willing to admit – especially their willingness to spend money and continue the business of maintaining their power and the status quo. The GOP has consistently taken the tract of fear whilst the blue guys have taken the tract of hope/change/peace/fairydust/whatever they come up with for that cycle. I'm not surprised at all that the consistent GOP message of fear has gotten through.

    GOP voters don't foster insanity/lack of moral character, the GOP does.

  • Yo, Dryden – hear, hear! From a fellow who used to belong to the GOP back when it actually sometimes acted upon principles that could be admired, if I may: you have set forth what oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed… Anyway, the whole idea of "cognitive dissonance" is really just a relabeling of the normal human skill known as 'rationalization'. It just boils down to "If you do it, it's bad; if I do it, it's good.", but with a lot of extra verbiage and mental or moral contortions to prove that what you do is for the best because it's well-intentioned. Smart Leaders have been using this and many other well-known human triggers for millennia to gain and keep power.

  • mel in oregon says:

    two disagreements with your article. 1. we have no friends on the right. you cannot be friends with shitheads. 2. your statement that people with a moral compass vote republican. they don't have a moral compass, because they have no morals, ethics or character. the beginning of knowledge grasshopper is to understand republicans or any conservative are always evil assholes, period. there can be no debate on this subject.

  • To answer your question of what position supporters will take, on Fresh Air right now PA state rep Daryl Metcalfe is being interviewed. He mentions incidents in '93and '98, talks about how the attorney for the state was incompetent for not being able to produce incidents of fraud, states that a single fraudulent vote is too many and can swing an election, and states that all liberal organizations, and Dems, are promoting fraud at the polls so they can win. Oh, and he just brought up ACORN.

    So kind of one from column A, one from column B.

  • Is your opening sentence: "What those of us in the logic-based community have known for years is finally common knowledge" meant to be of the same veracious quality as Reid's: "Word is out, Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years"? Or are you just pulling my leg? And I don't even want ask how you can say, "Now that the evidence is incontrovertible" when you don't present any proof?

    What is it you're fighting, anyway, or are you just some quirky Don Q (with your own claque – except AlexSL, of course) tilting at windmills?

    And what the hell is a logic-based community?

  • Why would I need a moral compass? I have my bible and my battered, sticky-paged copy of Atlas Shrugged right here!

  • Carrstone,

    Poe's law is a bitch, so if you were joking, apologies, but:

    "Logic-based community" is a riff on the term "reality-based community", which was originally a disparaging phrase coined by an anonymous Bush aide (who turned out to be the Pig of Darkness Karl Rove himself) in the weeks before the '04 election. The idea was that the Republicans would act bold and decisively, unconstrained by previous considerations, and create a new reality; then we who were not so bold and decisive would study and work within that reality for awhile, until Republicans created a new one.

    It was adopted as a term of pride by large swaths of Democratic/liberal activists and writers and such in the weeks that followed, because really, how great is it when your political opponent says all you care about is reality and facts. And in Ed's usage, logic, since these voter-ID laws do not freakin' stop the behavior they are claimed to stop. As a matter of logic.

    Which brings me back to Poe's law again, because Ed did link to evidence for his assertions in the post, and no one who isn't joking would claim he didn't. So again, apologies for taking your joke seriously.

  • lol. love the comments about sane Republicans. those few sane Republicans that once existed died out a long, long time ago. watching people defend the evils of Republicanism is quite an exercise.
    i do know you can't disagree with Republicans and their ideas. the Republican way is sacrosanct.

    but that is as old as Reagan. Remember how Reagan always dissed any disagreements by saying, "there you go again." that's how they keep their scam going. and until that changes, we are headed further down the rabbithole, deeper into our richly deserved 3rd world banana republic status.

    these people are really good at what they do.

  • Maybe y'all aren't surrounded by right-wing wackos like I am. There is popular support for these tough "voter registration" laws because there are rumors going around that say that Obama was elected because he rounded up millions of illegal immigrants and got them to vote for him. Seriously. This is the kind of shit these people believe.

  • Here in Tennessee, the Republicans have — surprise surprise! — made a gun carry permit a legal ID to vote (but not a student ID, of course!). So my solution is to round up as many browns and blacks and get 'em all gun carry permits!

    Racist TN GOP rethinks that idea in 5… 4… 3…

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    They also follow the old Al Davis motto, "Just WIN, baby!"

    In 2000 I had Republican co-workers argue that the fact that Bush essentially had the Court steal the election for him (and there will be eventual proof of ex-parte communications that fall between Rove and sitting justices, mark my words) just showed he deserved to be president, because he wanted it bad enough to cheat, and we need that kind of toughness in a President.

    It's hard to maintain a polity where that's a popular line of analysis.

  • You forgot the ever-popular rationalization,

    "If you're not doing anything wrong, then what are you worried about?"

    This can be used to rationalize lots of fun things – wiretapping without a warrant, random drug testing, cavity searches, the government reading your e-mail – and can easily be re-purposed for voter ID laws.

    (Funny thing, though…it never seems to apply to either one, gun licensing/background checks, or two, Mitt Romney's tax returns.)

  • The right to vote is a fundamental right. The right to speak and petition is a fundamental right. The right to do the latter in million dollar ad campaigns is also. So if the presentation of an id to vote is a petty inconvenience that does not burden voting rights, then requiring advertisements in politics to identify the true speaker is also no burden?

  • We have no "friends" on the Right. And they know full well that the i.d. laws are aimed at stealing the election for Americans for Prosperity. Look. They stole 2000 and got away with it. They probably stole 2004 and got away with it, just used more sophisticated methods in Ohio (such as making the lines so long people finally gave up, a tried and true ploy). Republicans do not believe in democracy, they don't believe "everyone" should vote. We have a big big problem here in the US–one of the two political parties that makes up the system of electing representatives does not believe in fair, democratic elections, nor do they believe "the people" can be allowed to decide anything of importance.

  • I'm not convinced that most of the GOP pushing for these laws *wouldn't* proudly support the deliberate disenfranchisement of people – after all, there's already been more than a few rightbloggers insisting that the poor shouldn't be able to vote. For most of them, I suspect "voter fraud" is actually a synonym for "poor / brown / not Republican people voting"; that substitution makes every "Voter ID" law announcement read much more smoothly.

  • Townsend Harris says:

    The third leg of *any* competent campaign: demobilize/turn off/suppress the people who'll vote against ya'.

  • My understanding of the proposition is

    “Voter ID laws suppress exercise of the franchise of poor people. Since ‘People of Color’ (POC) are over-represented by percentage of population in the poor category, they are affected disproportionately. And through this racist tactic Rs ride to victory.”

    If this statement of the proposition is incorrect, then go to the next post :-(

    Let’s crunch some numbers. I will identify all my assumptions (that I’m aware of)

    US Census Data from 2010

    Whites 72% ~224 E06 (non Hisp WH – 197E06, Hisp WH – 27E06)

    Blacks 13% ~39E06

    Hisp/Latino 8% ~24E06

    Other 7% ~23E06

    Total – 310 to 315E06 people

    The official poverty estimate is about 15% or around 45 – 48E06

    The poor are:

    9.9% of all non Hisp WH ~20E06

    26.6% of all Hisp (any race) ~14E06

    27.4% of All Blacks ~ 11E06

    There is some double counting here because there are Hisp Blacks. And let’s forget about Other for now knowing that if we applied the general 15% rate we would have another 3.5E06 poor people to account for.

    Assumption: Poor people vote in proportion to their representation in the population w/o regard to race. Another is that the voting age population proportion is roughly the same in all the demographics.

    So if we just break it down between WH and POC we would have 20E06 WH and 25E06 POC. The voter ID law would therefore suppress 1.25 POC votes for every WH vote suppressed. (Remember ‘vote’ here is a proxy)

    Another view of the data is to split the demographics by collecting all WH (WH and Hisp WH [George Zimmerman et al.] and the rest of the Hisp combined w/ Blacks.

    These results:

    9.9% of non Hisp WH ~20E06
    26.6% of Hisp WH ~7E06

    Total ~27E06

    26.6% of the rest of Hisp ~7E06
    27.4% of all Blacks ~11E06

    Total ~18E06 (again recognizing that there might be some double counting here)

    So now we would have it flipped where the voter ID laws are suppressing 1.5 WH votes for every POC vote.

    Remember that the Other category had about 3.5E06 poor as well. Lets include them all with the POC since many of them are (Asians, American Indians, etc.)

    POC Adjusted Total ~21.5E06

    So now we are looking at about 1.3 WH votes suppressed for every POC vote suppressed.

    How about some political assumptions:

    Lets assume that the split for the combined WH poor go 60/40 for the Rs so that would be about 16.2E06 Republican votes suppressed and ~10.8E06 D votes suppressed.

    In the POC category:

    Assume the ‘Rest of the Hisp split 70/30 for the Ds ~5.0E06 votes suppressed, ~2.0E06 R votes suppressed
    Assume the ‘All Blacks’ split 95/5 for the Ds ~10.5E06 votes suppressed, ~0.5E06 R votes suppressed
    Assume the ‘Other’ split 80/20 for the D’s ~2.8E06 votes suppressed, ~0.7E06 R votes suppressed

    Total votes R suppressed ~19.4E06 (realizing the ‘votes’ are proxies)
    Total votes D suppressed ~29.1E06

    So if voter ID laws truly suppress turnout about 1.5 DEMOCRAT votes are suppressed for every R vote suppressed. It is poor WH people who are leading the disenfranchised pack here. So the argument is less racial than it is economic.

    Assuming (for easy math) that 50E06 poor have 50% eligible voters and that 50% of those people actually vote produces 12.5E06 votes (probably a high ideal estimate) nationwide. I don’t how to estimate the difference the suppression would make. We would need to go deep into the weeds of how these votes are distributed in the US.


  • lol. another election day. another theft, another sunday. the Republican know what they are doing they have been doing it so long now, it's just part of their "way."

    to expect Republicans to act otherwise is stupidity and naivete. lol some things are very simple, and as such, are simply seen for what they are.

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