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Lexington Herald-Leader: McConnell is preaching states’ rights, sounds as if he’s scared of voters

February 7, 2019

Legislation that would make it both easier to vote and harder for states to suppress the vote has thrown Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into a tizzy.

Flushed out by Democrats who newly control the House, McConnell increasingly sounds like one of those segregationist lions of yore who roamed the Senate, cloaking their political self-interest in pious bluster about states’ rights and an oppressive federal government.

McConnell has the power to kill the Democrats’ bill by keeping it from ever coming to a vote in the Senate.

Perhaps he thinks he also can transform the measure into a weapon to use against Democrats, which would explain why he’s been deriding it every day on the Senate floor and in a Washington Post op-ed.

You’d think he’d be more subtle, though. McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, has all but declared that he’s against removing barriers to voting and making elections cleaner and more fair because he thinks it would help Democrats win.

The House bill that has McConnell so worked up is, indeed, a sweeping piece of legislation, and that makes sense. The multiplying threats of voter suppression, a government closed to all but big-money donors and the corrupting effects on our democracy demand a sweeping response.

Most repugnant is McConnell’s opposition to restoring the voting rights of people who have been convicted of a felony and served their time. McConnell casts himself as a defender of the constitutional right of state legislatures to prescribe “quote — the time, places and manner of holding elections.”

McConnell has added “transparency intimidates” and “states’ rights over citizens’ rights” to his “money is speech” gospel. No doubt, his sermons will be rewarded by those who think government should belong to those who have the most money.

— Lexington Herald-Leader

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