Republican Governor Brian Kemp has signed off on what voting rights groups are calling the most draconian effort to suppress the black vote since the 1960s. The expansive measure makes it harder to register as a voter and exercise the last remaining Democratic right – part of a national effort by Republicans to influence future elections after Trump’s defeat in 2020.

Every election day there are scenes of long lines in front of polling stations, with people waiting patiently in line for hours to vote. These videos usually show the faces of African-Americans because access to polling places is limited in urban areas where minorities and the poor often live. That is why the ban on water bottles seems so important and useful.

The law also allows state officials to intervene in district elections and remove local officials, raising concerns about the possibility of Republican officials taking power in heavily Democratic districts – exactly what Trump tried to do after Joe Biden won in November. Voters now have less time and more restrictions when filling out absentee ballots. Although the bill expands early voting opportunities across the state, it limits some of the access opportunities granted during the pandemic in large-minority districts.

This is happening all over the country. In Texas, for example, Republicans argue that it is unfair that residents of a large, crowded (Democratic) city like Houston have more access to the ballot box than residents of a small, sparsely populated rural county.

Republicans reject claims that they are intentionally targeting black voters or trying to stem the tide of increasingly diverse Americans who reject their hard-line white cultural conservatism. They say voters no longer believe in the fairness of the system. But those doubts were inflated by Trump’s blatant lies about fraud not existing in 2020.

Most evidence suggests that the PLO, desperately clinging to power, is systematically trying to make the votes of its supporters more valuable than those of others. It is the antithesis of democracy. But it’s a familiar thing in American history.

Is that patriotic enough?.

An Ohio elected official, fed up with having his patriotism questioned, bared his chest as evidence at a public meeting last week. Lee Wong came to America at the age of 18 and retired after two decades of active service. There are ignorant people who come up to me and say I don’t look enough like an American or a patriot. Now my goat, said Wong, 69, at the West Chester Township board meeting. He noted that he had been an American citizen longer than most of his constituents, opened his shirt and showed the scars of his military service. Here’s my proof. Is that patriotic enough?

All others, in my opinion, can be mitigated or greatly reduced.

One of the leading doctors behind the Trump administration’s failed response to the pandemic has come to a chilling conclusion: Hundreds of thousands of Americans could have been saved.

In a major CNN documentary, Dr. Deborah Birx argues that the failure of the previous White House to slow the spread of Covid-19 has resulted in a huge loss of life. The way I see it. The first time, we have an excuse, Birks said. About a hundred thousand people died in this first wave. All others can be mitigated or significantly reduced in my opinion.

More than 550,000 Americans are expected to die from Covid-19 by the end of the week. The idea that most of the dead would still be alive if it weren’t for the White House, state and city leaders is horrifying.

Trump, who has aggressively pushed to keep the country open despite scientific advice, certainly deserves the blame for that. So did several Republican governors, who started a new wave by reopening in the summer. But Birks’ comments also raise deeper questions: Are the United States, with its natural distrust of centralized power, its respect for individual liberty, and its deep political divisions, simply built to make fighting a pandemic more difficult? And what is the right balance between saving lives by following the advice of health professionals and preserving livelihoods by protecting the economic health of the country?

President Joe Biden called on Americans to stay strong for a few more months until most people are vaccinated. But many governors are already lifting restrictions on shops, restaurants, bars and businesses – on the assumption that more than half a million deaths and more in the future is the price they are willing to pay.

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