Butterflies So Far

Duskywing. Horace’s, I think. Erynnis horatius. Spotted in Doodletown.American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis, NYBG. Have also seen: Mourning Cloak (harbinger of the thaw); lots of Cabbage Whites; and, just Friday, my first Tiger Swallowtail of the year.

In the President’s commission to investigate nonexistent voter fraud, packed with professional vote suppressors, the essentially strategy of the Republican Party is made frighteningly visible. This is where a traditional Southern strategy meets the grotesque novelty of Trump’s authoritarianism and goes national, following hard on the heels of GOP efforts over the last generation. With only a minority appeal, Republicans must prevent others from voting; it’s the only way to maintain power as long as there is fig leaf of democracy to hide behind. We’ll note in passing that Democrats did little to stop it and in fact helped it by subscribing to the right’s tough on crime policies. For the imprisoned have been stripped of their citizenship: this is what lies behind Confederate Jeff Sessions’s motivation for reviving harsh drug laws, a moral disaster but a political bonanza. Other strategies include purging voting lists through Crosscheck, reducing voting opportunities, etc. etc. Remember, there’s a vocal GOP faction that wants to return to the era of suffrage for the propertied-class only. You don’t have to dig too deeply in that shitpile to find those who believe women shouldn’t have voting rights either.

It was so many of his lies ago, but Trump’s claim that there were millions of fraudulent voters who voted for his opponent over him continues to have profound consequences for this process of choking democracy off at the throat. Of equal danger is control of the 2020 census, which will apportion congressional districts, already skewed towards rural reaction. The head of the agency has just resigned.

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