Democratic governors worry about the threat to democracy but don’t see it as a victory message for 2022

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who chaired the Association of Democratic Governors during the 2018 Democratic campaign, had another horseman in mind.

“We have to be Paul Revere every chance we get to let people know what’s at risk and why it’s at risk. We live it. Every time we eat breakfast, we think about these things,” he said. speak. “I don’t think you can be too worried about this. The American mentality didn’t recognize us as a vice president after a coup.”

Inslee won’t run for re-election in 2022 – he won a third term last year – but other governors focused on next year’s races say they are struggling with how to converse with voters.

They think their commitment to fair elections should be a plus in the minds of voters. “Democratic governors believe that every vote should count and the outcome should be a result,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who became the new chair of the group of governors. “And I don’t need to say it as an attribute, but you do, because there are people who are starting to take positions that don’t believe in it and almost want autocracy, as long as the people of They’re still in power.”

For more than a decade, North Carolina has been a Republican laboratory for suffrage cutting and protesting voting rights. Cooper won in 2016 and again, by a wider margin, in 2020 without spending much of his campaign talking about any of it. But that was before Trump started questioning the election results, and before his supporters stormed the US Capitol in January to try to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. Even so, in his new role of campaign adviser, his advice to other governors has remained unchanged.

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“Most people worry about their kids getting a good education, worry about getting paid, making sure their paths are fixed, maybe connecting with them,” says Cooper. High speed internet. “Political process issues – I’ve never really enjoyed making them a central part of the message.”

A Democratic incumbent governor who hasn’t lost since 2014, Cooper optimistically points out, he never explicitly said he knew that without a change in Biden’s popularity. and public perception of the economy, that statistic may not hold.

‘That scares people’

Several Democratic governors taking office in 2020 have played key roles in thwarting efforts to stir up challenges around Electoral College certification. The fear is that GOP governors in states with GOP-controlled legislatures will work together to change election rules, potentially adding to chaos and confusion about reporting. the electoral votes out of their capitals, regardless of who wins the next presidential election. In backing candidates who question the results of the 2020 election, Trump and his allies appear to be trying lay the groundwork for an electoral infrastructure that could be more conducive to future overturning efforts.
Tony Evers, governor of Wisconsin – home of several strong efforts of the Republican party to gain control of the election regulator is currently underway – said he doesn’t know how to avoid it, as much as he can try.

“It’s probably a national issue that affects every state and our state in particular, because I’m going to be doing an active campaign on the things that we’ve accomplished – and we’ve done it.” a little bit done. But you can’t avoid the fact that I vetoed six bills that would make it harder for people to vote. Maybe before the next election it’ll be 40 more.”

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Evers said that, if nothing else, he hopes the Democratic base can be invigorated by hearing about threats to democracy and that might encourage them to show up. ways that Democrats rarely have for terms beyond 2018, when Democrats were promoted by Trump and ran for re-election to the US House.

“Voters will be clear that (in) this 2022 election, the 2024 election is also on the ballot,” added Evers, noting that Republicans in the state legislature have pledged bring all the vetos of the bills to the next governor, if they can defeat the Democrats in November. “That scares people and it scares me too. So we’ll be. talk about it, but personally I don’t want it to be what defines this campaign.”

As attorney general for Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro remains in court to battle challenges to the 2020 outcome. As a candidate for governor is not currently running for the party’s nomination. Democrat, he said he did not see a separation between democratic issues and “kitchen table” issues.

“They are closely linked,” says Shapiro. “If you’re trying to strip them of their vote or get their vote uncounted, you’re essentially saying they can’t participate in the conversation.”

“If you’re saying, ‘Are voters talking to me about voting rights bills?” Probably not. But do they understand the link? ” After I explained how voter participation and progress on the issues that make up election integrity affect all other issues, I believe they do like that.”

Shapiro doesn’t know who his Republican opponent will be, but in a field of 14 candidates, all speak to some variation of feelings that Biden didn’t legitimately win. That group includes Doug Mastriano, the state senator who held a mock “hearing” on alleged election fraud in Pennsylvania last December that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani testified, and then tried to tried to organize what he called an “audit” of the vote. Now he has shown by a state report is one of three major Pennsylvania players accused of trying to help Trump topple the election. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, also running for a second term in another closely divided state in 2020, said he looks forward to actively communicating about electoral integrity and voting rights, taking for example, he restored the right to vote to more than 70,000 offenders’ who had served their time and expanded voting by mail. All of that, he said, is part of a record he wants to remind voters of next year.

“This is an achievement that I’m proud of. We’ve increased access, we’ve made voting more secure. I think people want to know that,” Sisolak said. “They need to know that who’s at the helm in all the individual states will have an impact on the 2024 election. … It has a definite impact. The next president will need to do states of color. This purple. That’s where it happens to be decided.”

Whatever happens, says Inslee, the voter debate is likely not going to be won when Democrats talk about high-concern principles about democracy, however popular it may be among followers. liberalism on Twitter.

“The way to shape it is: There are people in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals who want to take something away from you, which is your vote. You talk about it in a personal sense: ‘ They’re trying to take away your ability to express yourself.’ That’s the point. Don’t talk about it from a systemic point of view of ‘democracy.’ “

But what’s really happening, Cooper said, is that Democrats are figuring out how to win their races.

“If you succeed in your election,” he said, “those who want to skip the votes and do something else won’t get into office.”


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