It’s not exactly surprising that the Supreme Court and the Wisconsin GOP are pioneering new and exciting innovations in election theft. What’s more surprising is that the probable Democratic presidential nominee seems to be ambivalent at best about the whole thing.
Here’s Joe Biden telling people it’s safe to vote in-person in Wisconsin — where Republicans forced state and primary elections to go forward today— because you can make people stand “six to ten feet apart” and the machines will be “scrubbed down” afterwards:
This is after the Biden campaign actively encouraged people to go out and vote on March 17, in Michigan, Arizona, and Florida. (Ohio, which was supposed to also hold its presidential primary that day, rescheduled it.)
At least three Florida poll workers have since tested positive for coronavirus. Michigan now has four times as many confirmed coronavirus cases (17.2k) as Ohio (4.4k), according to STAT’s COVID-19 tracker, even though Ohio has done more testing and the states’ governors issued stay at home orders just one day apart. In an interview with cleveland.com (solidarity with Plain Dealer workers!), Dr. Robert Salata of the University Hospitals Roe Green Medical Center in Cleveland speculated that the primary had something to do with it.
So we have some evidence of at least a correlation between in-person voting and coronavirus spread, and yet Biden is still telling people that it’s not exactly dangerous to vote right now. This is not a claim he can back up with anything resembling evidence, and it’s a notion that Wisconsin Democrats ardently oppose. One person who doesn’t oppose it is Donald Trump:
One person who does is Bernie Sanders:
A Sanders skeptic might say that Sanders is just trying to stop Biden’s momentum, but it’s hard to envision a world in which Biden would win Wisconsin by 30 in April but lose it in a few months, given that the coronavirus has so far not moved the polling an inch. (Part of the reason seems to be that the media is enamored with Democratic governors who are actually dealing with the crisis right now, and not the two remaining presidential candidates.)
But then you have this from Biden today, in which he shows himself to be skeptical of mail-in voting, which most Democrats are pushing to be a part of any future coronavirus relief package. It’s something that has the potential to save countless lives, considering the potential for the coronavirus to come back in a second wave by the fall.
We already have voting by mail in many states, including the largest, California. They’ve managed to figure it out. With proper federal funding for implementation, why can’t every other state?
Even beyond the coronavirus pandemic, Biden showing his uneasiness towards voting by mail flies in the face of a decades-long progressive push to make it as easy to vote as humanly possible. The very first bill the Democrats passed after taking back the House in 2019 was one expanding voter access. The concept is so central to the Democrats’ success that Trump recently said that the GOP would never win another election if the Democrats’ demands for voter access were to be included in coronavirus relief packages.
Maybe Biden doesn’t understand mail voting. Maybe he thinks the coronavirus will be solved by then. Maybe he’s bought the GOP line that making it easier to vote is injecting partisanship into politics or whatever. None of these reasons, however, excuse an approach to voting that’s marginally better than Donald Trump’s at best.