• 66°

It’s difficult to imagine…

It is difficult to imagine why Wisconsin’s Republicans would be willing to place the lives of their citizens at risk with the coronavirus in order to force an election this week.

Of course, there can be no rational reason, but the lives of voters became less important to Wisconsin Republicans than the re-election of conservative state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly. Kelly can be the deciding vote, should he win the 10-year term, in the Republican bid to purge the state’s voter rolls of 200,000 likely Democratic voters, thus keeping the Republican policy of a minority party holding a majority of power.

Wisconsin’s Republicans have been more ambitious than most (North Carolina and Texas earn dishonorable mention here) to use gerrymandering, polling place reductions and voter suppression to stay in power. For example, in the 2018 election, Democratic candidates won 190,000 more votes for State Assembly seats, but the GOP held a 64-35 advantage in the chamber.

Now, Wisconsin’s voters may think differently, but smart voters might consider booting the kind of folks that are willing to risk your life to cheat the system and hold on to power. And smart voters might consider that any party who seeks fewer voters may not have the best interest of all voters in mind. In Wisconsin, elections are made for Republicans to select their voters, not for voters to select their representatives.

It is also difficult to imagine the justification for President Trump to fire the newly appointed inspector general, Glenn Fine, for the $2 trillion economic recovery fund. Fine has experience and an honorable record of competency. His firing by Trump can only signal the president’s disdain for oversight. Of course, if you have nothing to hide, you would not be troubled by oversight.

Or, isn’t it difficult to imagine why Trump would fire Inspector General Michael Atkinson. who reported Trump’s attempted bribe to the Ukrainian President to create dirt on Joe Biden, Trump’s likely opponent in 2020? That the report ultimately resulted in Trump’s Impeachment was not the fault of Atkinson. In fact, Atkinson did his job. As several Republican Senators confessed at the conclusion of Trump’s Senate trial, Trump did the crime, he did try to create a lie about Joe Biden, an ethical lapse that would have likely convicted previous presidents. Firing Atkinson for reporting the abuse by Trump is simple, petty, childish retribution.

Smart voters might consider that a president who fires the guy who caught him cheating American voters maybe should not be the guy trusted in the future. And maybe, the president who fires the peoples’ oversight officer of a measly $2 trillion dollars of our money, is not the guy who should be trusted to distribute that money. This is, after all, the same guy who once had to pay $25 million to students cheated at Trump University, and who is forbidden from ever again operating a foundation, a foundation he used as his personal piggy bank. Yes, that is the guy who now, as president, thinks he needs no oversight.

And it is difficult to imagine how the long-term Republican strangling of the IRS by underfunding, could now result in anything less than chaos in the distribution of desperately needed relief monies for everyday Americans. We are told some taxpayers may not get their one-time checks until September. If you try to kill government for long enough you will get this result. Not happy about this incredible inefficiency? Vote in November, just not for the folks who hate government so much government is not there when you really need it.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.