Missouri Republicans Have Had It With You Pesky Voters

The GOP’s new slogan.

Filed under our occasional “At Least They’re Not YOUR Legislator/Legislature” series–as readers know, in the aftermath of the 2020 elections, which as you may be aware did not go the way most Republicans would have preferred, there has been a nationwide push in GOP-controlled state legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting rights. Many of these new restrictions have nothing whatsoever to do with the false allegations of mail ballot fraud pushed by ex-President Donald Trump, instead being very straightforward crackdowns on such conveniences as early voting and voting on Sunday that make it clear the goal is to impede access to the vote–and not to prevent any kind of actual irregularity.

One could reasonably conclude from this that, having been defeated in 2020, Republicans simply don’t like participation in the democratic process when it doesn’t go their way. That’s how we got dozens of meritless lawsuits, months of delays in accepting the clear results of the 2020 elections by Republicans in Congress, and ultimately a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th intended to disrupt the final certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

Well folks, as the Kansas City Star reports from the Show Me State, Republican contempt for the results of the 2020 elections isn’t stopping with the presidential race:

Republican lawmakers blocked Medicaid expansion funding from reaching the Missouri House floor on Thursday, posing a setback for the voter-approved plan to increase eligibility for the state health care program.

The House Budget Committee voted along party lines not to pass a bill allowing Missouri to spend $130 million in state funds and $1.6 billion in federal money to pay for the program’s expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picks up 90% of the tab on expanding Medicaid…

Republicans, citing the cost, have long resisted expanding Medicaid in Missouri, one of about a dozen states that haven’t extended eligibility for the health plan.

That’s right–after the voters of Missouri passed Amendment 2 last November, which expands Medicaid eligibility to match what’s offered in Colorado and most other states, Republicans in the Missouri legislature are refusing to appropriate the funds to carry out the voters’ wishes. And the reasons some of these lawmakers are giving? We wouldn’t believe this if the Star hadn’t reported it:

Moberly Rep. Ed Lewis said despite that 53% of those who cast ballots in favor of expansion, the number did not amount to a majority of Missouri’s eligible voters or population. [Pols emphasis]

“Rural Missouri said no,” said Rep. Sara Walsh, of Ashland. “I don’t believe it is the will of the people to bankrupt our state.”

And there we have the new standard for passing laws in Missouri that Republicans might actually feel obliged to honor: not a majority, but a majority of “eligible voters”–or even the state’s entire population! And if “rural Missouri” says no that’s a hard veto, because everybody knows rural votes are worth more than “urban” votes.

This is the stuff you say because it’s impolite to say what you obviously mean: to hell with the voters.

In the end, it’s hard to look in aggregate at these recent acts of contempt for American democracy from Republicans at every level across America, and not conclude that Republicans simply don’t have much interest in playing by the rules of democracy unless they win. Trump himself was very matter-of-fact about this, but for most Republicans it’s is not something they should want to admit.

If you want to convince the world that American politics are hopelessly broken, this is exactly how you do it.

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19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MartinMark says:

    I'll admit that I haven't studied this too hard, but I don't see what's the angle on this Medicaid expansion tantrum?  I understand it as partisan grandstanding, for a while, but we usually don't see that sort of thing sustained this long without an actual (campaign funding) costituency behind it.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Standard for expansion would be the Federal government paying 90% and the state paying 10%.  And the ratio can go up in the coming years.  That would mean finding the money to pay somehow.  Which would mean increasing state taxes (of some sort), as Missouri, like most states, already has a tight budget.  Republican spin — "my constituents" (often rural voters) would have to pay more for "them" (all of the eligible Medicaid population) to get care.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      The angle of the tantrum is directly proportional to the racist hatred and fear of Obama(care) . . . 

      • MattC says:

        That and the general fear and loathing of poor people.

        Without a strong work requirement, Medicaid expansion feels like just more free stuff. If they cannot pay for health insurance and medical services, they should not get them.

        Even if someone somewhere says 53% of the voters approved. Democracy isnot about majority rule (see Sirota in the Guardian today). 

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Yep.  But, let’s not forget that whenever someone’s speaking Missouri GOPer, “poor people” is clearly intended to mean, well, you know which people are being loathed, not just in general but very specifically . . .

  2. MartinMark says:

    Frankly I think it is refreshing that the GOP no longer even pretends to care about democracy, intellectual consistency, etc.

    Maybe the Dems can stop pretending that they are negotiating with a counterpart in mutual good faith, and finally start acting like they are in an existential struggle with a fascist death cult that will say or do anything, and would be perfectly willing to literally kill their opponents en masse.

    • unnamed says:

      I think for the most part, Dems have stopped acting as if Repugs are capable of acting in good faith.  I feel better about the current approach than I felt about the approach Dems took 12 years ago.

      • MartinMark says:

        Good. Because Greg Palast was writing about these GOP efforts to steal elections back before 2000, and the mainline Dems were weirdly passive the entire time.

        The passivity after Bush v Gore has hopefully run out, ending perhaps when Obama let McConnell steal a SCOTUS appointment without much more than a whimper.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Seems reminiscent of the Florida election to allow offenders to vote after they completed their sentence, which passed by something like 65%-35%.   Then, Republicans in the legislature and the Republican governor defined "completed" to include paying all costs.  There was no enabling legislation to mandate how the costs were to be calculated, how a freed person could find out what costs applied, and (if I remember correctly) having some Republicans point out there were no provisions to ensure "public servants" actually implemented the citizen's initiative. And keeping laws in place to say those who voted and then found out they were ineligible were guilty of a felony.  And that for many offenders, if they were guilty of another felony, they could fall afoul of the "three strikes" sentencing provisions of Florida law. 

    Daytona Beach newspaper wrote

    Nearly 900,000. According to a new report, that’s how many Floridians who have completed all terms of incarceration and supervision but couldn't vote this year because an undemocratic poll tax crafted by Gov. Ron DeSantis’and the Legislature’s GOP majority.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    If you want to convince the world that American politics are hopelessly broken, this is exactly how you do it.

    It would seem that American “politics” has reached it’s zenith? . . .

    . . . It’s American democracy that’s in the shitter.

  5. Early Worm says:

    Missouri does seem to be a scaled-down version of what we are dealing with as a country. Nationally, with the Senate, the Electoral College, and gerrymandering, rural voters' (mostly white) votes count more than votes from urban centers (more likely to be POC). 

    Missouri went 57% Trump, 41% Biden. The state legislature is 71% R, in the state Senate, and 70% R in the statehouse. For comparison, Colorado went 55/42 Biden over Trump, and our legislature is 57% D/ 43% R in the Senate and  63% D/ 37% R in the statehouse. 

    If all votes count, Dems win. For Repubs to win, they have to make sure the system only counts their (white) votes. 

  6. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    Really hard to swallow what happened in Georgia this week, and the purely blatant nature of it is so damn frustrating. As the Boss once so aptly sang, one step forward, two steps back…

    I believe there is a 10 minute moment of silence for each of the ten victims of the King Soopers shootings tomorrow night at 8, and our fam is definitely going to participate just to reflect.

    Purely a shit week, but hope springs eternal. Good weekend fellow polsters. 

     

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