As Pre-Election Pause Comes to an End, Look First to Arizona (and Nevada and Georgia)
Three times — with the Russian investigation, the Ukraine impeachment, and the January 6 insurrection — the GOP had a ready-made opportunity to distance the party from Donald Trump’s corruption. Each time, they not only declined to take that opportunity, but instead consolidated as a party behind Trump.
Given the swirl of investigations around Trump, Republicans will likely will have a fourth opportunity, this time at a moment when Ron DeSantis’ fortunes look more promising than Trump’s own.
That doesn’t mean Republicans will take it. Indeed, there are some Republicans — people like Jim Jordan — whose electoral future remains yoked to Trump’s. There are a even few members of Congress — Scott Perry, above all — whose legal future may lie with Trump.
But the possibility that yesterday’s results will change the Republican commitment to defending Trump at all cost will be an important dynamic in the face of any prosecutorial steps that DOJ takes now that the pre-election pause on such steps is over.
An indictment of Trump is not going to happen today. In the stolen document case, that’s likely true because DOJ will first want to ensure access to the unclassified documents seized in August, something that won’t happen until either the 11th Circuit decision reverses Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to appoint a Special Master (that will be ripe for a hearing after November 17) or after a judgement from Special Master Raymond Dearie on December 16 that Cannon chooses to affirm. It’s not impossible, however, that DOJ will take significant actions before then — perhaps by arresting one or more of Trump’s suspected co-conspirators in hoarding the documents, or by executing warrants at other Trump properties to find the documents still believed to be missing.
In the January 6 case, DOJ’s unlikely to take action against Trump himself anytime soon because — by my read at least — there’s still a layer of charges DOJ would have to solidify before charging Trump, both in the prong working up from the crime scene (Roger Stone’s name continues to come up regularly in both the Oath Keeper and Proud Boys cases), and in the fake elector plot. With the testimony of Pence’s key aides secured before the election, Trump’s targeting of his Vice President may be the part of the investigation closest to fruition. There are probably phones — like those of Boris Epshteyn and John Eastman — that DOJ has not finished exploiting, which would have to happen before any charges.
Remember that the phone of Scott Perry — one member of that closely divided House — is among those being exploited right now.
In fact, particularly given the outstanding vote, a more interesting step DOJ might soon take would affect Arizona, even as the close election is settling out. There were several states where DOJ subpoenaed the bulk of those involved in the fake elector plot (here are two summary posts — one, two — of the most recent overt investigative steps). There’s one state, and I think it is Arizona (I’m still looking for the report), where everyone blew off these subpoenas. Mark Finchem is one of the people named on the subpoenas (though he appears to have clearly lost his bid to become Secretary of State).
In other words, in several states (NV, GA, and PA are others), DOJ was preparing the work to unpack the role of key Republicans in both states. Unpacking that role almost necessarily precedes a Trump indictment. But it will also significantly affect the electoral aftermath of these close states.
And all that’s before you consider that Fani Willis’ own pre-election pause will also end. Indeed, Newt Gingrich lost a bid to kill a subpoena in that investigation today.
As noted, the GOP calculus on how to respond to these investigations could change now that Trump has proven a loser once again (or maybe not!). But it’s worth remembering that top Republicans in at least four swing states — swing states that are still counting votes — are implicated in that investigation.
There are several strings to pull between Putin follies, abetting J6 sedition and good old corruption for many members of Congress. RoJo, Tuberville and Mike Lee all squirmed over J6 questions so while Scott Perry is in the crosshairs, he’s nowhere close to alone. For example, how does a WI Senate vacancy get filled, special election or appointment by Governor Evers?
As for a change in direction by the GOP, that will not happen as long as MAGA remains the primary voter litmus test. While the GOP may do away with the Presidential primaries at the insistence of Individual-1, the downballot primaries will still be held and MAGA cultists are a motivated bloc and IIRC the largest piece in the GOP.
Still, there are small signs of change, such as the Miami GOP official admitting that the Rubio canvasser wasn’t attacked for his political beliefs.
Looks like WI would require a special election: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/vacancies-in-the-united-states-senate637302453.aspx
Yes indeed Rugger….. given the continuing big money shadow efforts and corrupt Nazi SoS election deniers this is a hole card I certainly want to see played AND given focus by the MSM going forward as a make right for their less than feeble coverage going in. Biden impeachment BS needs to be cut off at the knees and if MG won’t do it then time for a replacement
The apparent likely razor thin majority in the House may also contribute to reevaluation of how they want to spend their time. The Rs are going to have to try to do SOME actual work there on behalf of actual human voters in their districts. Corporations are not people, my friends. It may be that there will be some Rs who will try to work with Ds to accomplish something worthwhile. We’ll see.
That would assume facts not in evidence. When the GOP held the trifecta from 1/2017 – 1/2019 they only spent their time in tax cuts, trying to remove Obamacare and a whole bunch of grandstanding. None of their activities were related to their district constituents’ support but helping their puppet masters.
Eaten by the timer….
The nature of the majority if it materializes will tend to force MAGA compliance for the House members, since the GOP would not be able to lose any seats and too many MAGA believers were thrashed yesterday. The primary voters will punish apostates that reach across the aisle.
Thanks for your comment. Adding to Rugger_9’s response, I think the evidence of the past, say, 14 years is that Republicans don’t “have to” do anything, and that Democrats shouldn’t follow that assumption. And yes, there “may be” some Republicans “who will try to work with Ds to accomplish something worthwhile”…but it also may be that there *aren’t*.
In any case, it’s not up to Democrats to get Republicans to rejoin the ranks of pro-democracy political parties; it’s up to Republicans. As Dr. Wheeler pointed out at the top of her post, the Republican party has had three opportunities in six years to walk away from Donald Trump…and rejected each of them. (For a historical contrast, see Aug. 7, 1974, when GOP House leader John Rhodes, Senate leader Hugh Scott, and previous presidential nominee Barry Goldwater went to the White House and told Nixon he’d be impeached, convicted, and removed from office if he didn’t resign. Then came out and told the press what they’d said. Nixon resigned the next day.)
Politically speaking, the job of Democrats is, when possible, to create pro-democracy “dilemma actions” for Republicans. A “dilemma action” presents your opponent with a “lose-lose” scenario. Either Republicans vote to support Roe v. Wade or they have to campaign against it. Either Republicans vote against Trump or they get branded as “semi-fascist”. The outcome of Tuesday’s election suggests there are political advantages for Democrats to forcing such dilemmas upon Republicans *and* political costs for Republicans to choosing extremist, anti-democracy positions.
If the margins are thin enough, a handful of defectors could help the democrats pass legislation. There are now some very moderate districts in NY that the GOP has at best a tenuous hold on, and where the voters may not reward blind obstructionism.
Not much recent evidence that a single Republican will cross the aisle to work with a Democrat. There’s more evidence that they don’t want government to work, as a matter of principle and to avoid any Dem getting credit for it. But that doesn’t mean any House Republican will be able to corral the other cats in his or her party.
But again, that’s up to the Republicans. All Democrats can do is try to repeatedly set up “dilemma actions” for Republicans where there is, to the extent possible, a real political cost to pro-democracy Republicans who choose to ally themselves with the majority faction of their party. And a real political benefit to allying themselves with pro-democracy centrists and liberals.
It seems to me that it is often very hard to exploit dry legislative behaviors. For example, the GQP did not support with a single vote (in the House,) the gasoline price-gouging bill.
Nor is the fashionable law-and-order, anti-crime stance of the Republican Party consistent with: arming the populace, voting against law enforcement spending, having a sketchy attitude toward the rule of law, and actively trying to memory hole the J6 insurrection, all the while looking far away from TFG’s criming and grift.
Here’s an idea for restoring the Dem majority in the house. Pick ten Repub house members-elect in marginal districts (where Dems would have a good shot in a special election) nominate them now as district court judges, and ram them through the senate in the lame duck session. Repubs thus lose ten seats, at least for now. Meet Speaker Pelosi of the next Congress. At least for now, pending the specials.
So, you are advocating bastardizing the federal lifetime judiciary to temporarily change the House dynamics? That is your plan?
If they’re otherwise qualified why not? Political considerations always affect judicial nominations (see: Alito, Kavenaugh, etc.). Or look at all the deals the sainted Abe Lincoln made.
Welcome to the real world.
Lol, thanks. I have lived in the real world of the judiciary a very long time, and find this proposition disgusting and cheap.
The pre-election pause is over! Long live the post-election pause…
There was never any legitimate “pre-election pause”. And Fani Willis is still a noisy political ladder climber joke.
You leave my Fani alone
Fani Willis is garbage, and a blight on ethical prosecutors.
We’re going to have to disagree. She’s investigating real crimes, arranged the necessary pauses to allow for politics, and that’s all her job to do so. You spend a lot of time complaining about DOJ bigfooting on state crimes. This is a state prosecutor investigating state crimes.
Yes a state prosecutor that is running her grand jury(s) in the noisiest and most unethical fashion I have ever seen.
Chicago in the 1970s and 80s would like a word with you.
While there has been a lot of press, about the Fulton GJ, I don’t know whether Willis had reached out quietly first and was told ‘not only not but [expletive deleted] no’. If she had then the petulant GOP types have to own the consequences of their decisions. I think she probably did, i.e. with Lindsey. If Willis didn’t try routine channels first then your point is fairly taken.
This is apt in comparison to the Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi investigation where McCarthy admitted it was all about smearing HRC before Ryan shushed him, or Durham’s ‘investigations’. Both were mighty leaky about information the GOP wanted out there.
Is she making all the noise or is it the petulant babies being asked to testify making most of the noise?
I am not sure what she is doing that is unethical, so if you could elaborate, I am curious and would appreciate clarification.
I’d also like a post about what Fani is doing wrong, particularly with reference to Georgia state law. IANAL.
My hats off to her for standing up to the full weight of a vexatious litigant ex-President and a Radical Supreme Court.
Lol, sure Jan. You just keep kissing the ass of a dubious prosecutor because she is doing what “you” think is politically helpful. Good plan.
She’s problematic but not for the reasons you think she is: indicting hip-hop artists based on their lyrics is some serious BS. That’s worth taking issue with, not her grand jury regarding Trump’s election malfeasance imho.
Naw, I’ll stick right where I am at. Willis is shit. And, please, tell me what it is that “you” think my reasons are. What exactly is your knowledge of grand jury process?
That’s not necessary. You can speak for yourself, obviously.
And I did exactly that. You stated there were “reasons” I did not understand, what are they? Because I have a modicum of experience with grand jury law and procedure.
Read my comment again, closely and slowly. I never said there were “‘reasons’ [you] did not understand.” I clearly stated that she’s problematic for a different reason, which plainly stated is attempting to prosecute hip-hop artists for First Amendment-protected speech. I never once, nor would I ever, call into question your “experience with grand jury law and procedure.”
No, I read your comment just fine, thanks. What are your “reasons”?
Read my response again, slowly and closely. Nobody, least of all me, was questioning your experience. But I do think that prosecuting artists through using their First Amendment-protected speech as evidence — regardless of my or anyone else’s level of experience — is a much bigger deal. And that’s just like any other opinion, you can lump it or leave it, but it’s not any sort of attack on you.
No, again, I read your comment just fine.
I don’t think the colon and poor analogy are doing the work you think they are.
Yeah, I will stay right where I am at.
Marcy, can you give a recap of how Ron DeSantis benefitted from Russian hacking? pretty please?
So, I suppose the consensus is that the Dems were right in their support of Maga extremists in the primaries?
Not my consensus. That’s like claiming to support the police by committing crimes that will supposedly justify supporting the police. I.e. That’s bullshit
The consensus seems to be that they weren’t bured by it, this time. If it was right is something entirely different.
Please define “support of Maga extremists in the primaries”.
Imho, the word “support” is doing a lot of heavy lifting, each time it is used in this context.
Ty in advance.
Democrats went and supported hard right MAGA candidates in primaries because they thought they might be weaker in the general. There is no heavy lift there, it is the truth.
If by “support”, you mean ad content, I still think that’s a stretch.
AFAIK, there were no political contributions to said, which is the ubiquitous implication.
Perhaps I’m arguing semantics.
Either way, I simply disagree with the assessment…civilly
No, what Dems did in this regard has been talked about from the get go, to ignore the same is silly.
In Michigan it was as much a waste of money as anything beyond the first $5M to Marcus Flowers in GA-03. Proposal 3 on the ballot here made a considerable difference in how many voters went with Democrats.
Meanwhile, races like Adam Frisch’s in CO-03 could have used a little more money. That’s truth, too.
Senate races, too. The Mandela Barnes’ campaign ran out of money too early, and could’ve used some support. That Charles Booker got nearly the same result vs. Rand Paul as Amy McGrath vs. McConnell with like 1/50th the budget (LOL) indicates the same.
I don’t live anywhere near Colorado, but Frisch got a few $ from me. Don’t know how it will turn out, but he emailed out a nice update to supporters at 3PM CST today:
Thank you to all of you who have been reaching out to check in, and to see how we are handling the uncertainty, and especially how we are holding up to the stress. I am calm – truly. A long time ago, I learned to focus only on the things I could change. In terms of the election results, the cake is baked, so I’m sleeping just fine. We will have an answer when all the votes are counted. That being said, the consequences of this election will be very significant- the opponent we are running against and the threat she poses to our democracy and legislative process could have lasting consequences. For those reasons, this is now the most watched of the 435 House races in the country. The balance of the House may be based on this outcome.
What you are all waiting on – an update on the vote count. The votes will come in batches, some from Republican leaning counties, and others from Democratic leaning counties. This morning there was a ballot drop from conservative Otero county that pushed us down to a 386 vote loss. We are waiting on 7,200 ballot drop in Pueblo County. There are more than 1,000 military and overseas ballots outstanding, which includes hundreds of Dem and unaffiliated voters. Also 2,000+ ballots (and growing) need to be cured over the next week. While we wait for all 27 counties in this vast rural district to complete their work, we need to be patient and let the process run so every vote is counted. Votes will come in county by county, and the count may continue to move up and down. This is all a totally normal part of the process to ensure we count every single valid ballot in this election. There’s just a lot of moving parts with 100% mail-in ballots, overseas (military and civilian), curing of questions on submitted ballots (signature verification as an example) and the ability for voters to drop their ballots in a voter box 475 miles/15 counties away and still be counted. Likely, the final decision will not play out until days from now, as the counties have a Thursday, November 17th deadline from the Secretary of State’s office.
Furthermore, an automatic recount is triggered in CO when there is less than a 0.5% difference, which is around 1,500 votes, and if that happens that will probably take 2-3 additional weeks. We are gathering up our legal team to help us manage whatever may come. We will likely need to raise funds for an extensive legal process, and will be back with more information on this later.
For the 7,200 votes remaining in Pueblo, those include 1,826 in-person votes cast and the rest from the mail/drop box. The Pueblo clerk’s office re-opened at 9am MST today and will begin processing ballots again by 10 am. Some hours after that, we expect to see the public release of those numbers.
Stay tuned for more information. Thanks for all your continued support.
The existence of Democratic party support was never in question, nor that many people looked aghast at it as a deeply flawed strategy. Dem candidates needed that support and could have done a lot with it.
Too many GOP candidates went unopposed, too. The GOP is fielding candidates for dog catcher, as well as state secretaries of state and local judges. Karl Rove long ago proved how dominating that strategy can be in Alabama. Dems have never responded adequately to it.
If Trump runs, he will almost certainly win the nomination. Barring bad health or a mental breakdown, the cult will stampede to support him. Trump’s threat to expose dirt on “DeSanctimonious” applies to all others who dare to challenge his majesty. Any politician with a legit chance will wait until 2028. An early announcement all but clears the field. Trump will be hoping a few yahoos like Pence, Cheney and McMullin split the disloyal opposition.
The Kalamazoo Kowboy did indeed blow off every attempt to get him into court – or before the Committee. As did Chemtrails Kelli Ward, who amusingly was hauled up before a judge and forced to disgorge her phone. The judge who she dismissed was (and is) District Judge Diane Humetewa – the only Hopi District Judge there is. Judge Humetewa is not someone to annoy. PO a Hopi and the next thing you know, you’ll be trying to backtalk an Apache – or a Ute. Not a good plan.
Sorry, but “Kalamazoo Kowboy?” Who dat? There are so many blowing off subpoenas…
Ethnicities aside, going up against any district judge seems like a bad idea, but I am merely a mortal.
(This post looks like an installment in a longer conversation. Wrong thread?)
Hi there. Diane Humetewa is a good person, a smart lawyer and a fine judge. Viewing her through her Native ethnicity is gross and irrelevant to her judging on this case or any other. And then extrapolating it out to other tribes even worse. Borderline racist. I’ve been in her courtroom, and she is just a judge, and a good one at that.
I ‘Sing, O muse, of the rage of Achilles–or BMAZ, as the case may be, but the multiple prosecutions of Trump are taking way too long: why weren’t the pardoned ones-no 5A problem-in from of a grand jury in early 2021 and asked about the Russians, the Ukrainians, 1/6, and the unending obstruction of every investigation. If this isn’t true right this very minute, it will be soon: there’s not enough time to charge, convict, endure the multiple appeals, and get tfg into prison before 1/20/2025. Look how the records prosecution listed into knots. Fact is, Trump is above the law.
The criminal justice system is not a political weapon, and people should quit acting like it is.
That said — then you should rip the DOJ out of the Executive Branch and put it where?
What if… hear me out… DoJ was a Judicial Branch agency? I mean, that would require a metric s*!t-ton of changes to the judicial branch, including actual enforcement of judicial ethics laws (hey, DoJ could be that enforcement agency in the branch!) and a major overhauling of the courts but… doesn’t America need a major rehauling of the federal courts anyway? It’s not just SCOTUS that needs reforming.
And yes, I know it’s a pipe dream.
Not just no but Hell No. Putting the prosecutors in the same branch as judges seems like a big step toward autocracy. No thank you. More checks and balances for me, please, not fewer.
Other countries seem to do it just fine, but that is definitely a serious consideration and why it would require very specific legislation.
The suggestion is a non-starter. In the common law tradition, the prosecution is part of or represents the executive branch, in its capacity as the government’s chief law enforcement agency. It is adversarial to the defense. The judiciary’s adherence is meant to be to the law and the process of the law, not any particular outcome in a given case.
The prosecution in civil law countries, where it is part of the judiciary, comes from an entirely different tradition, training, and philosophy. You would have to change a culture, not just the branch of government to which the prosecution belongs.
Thank you for the thoughtful response. Given the many documented issues with America’s carceral state, some might say a change of culture is what’s needed!
yeah, we’re not going to be switching to Napoleonic Code / Roman Law any time soon.
New laptop. Same email address. I am ready for some indictments.
Pause or not, any indictment of Trump tomorrow will feel a lot differently than one would have felt previously. For that matter a lot differently than if the red wave had taken place. All I can say is whew.
I hope he’s indicted. I do. I have better support for that hope than I ever got from anything Holder should have done against the banksters.
Given Garland’s impeccable prosecution of McVeigh, I expect some serious guilty verdicts.
But I’ll believe it when I see it.
Yep. Deal me up more Enron’s
Lack of accountability is a hallmark of our nation.
Subpoenas are dismissed and white collar crime is part of companies and individuals resumes. Start up an LLC and stack the deck
We are a corrupt nation —
Eliot Ness be damned
Long live the Commonwealth
You know that the “Enron Task Force” was one of the more feckless and pathetic DOJ efforts ever (including the mouthpiece of the current hour, Andrew Weissmann), right?
Is this a typo? “…DOJ will first want to ensure access to the unclassified documents…” (From the 5th paragraph.) Is it supposed to be classified?
I continue to be amazed by the incredible work you all do here at EW.
No misprint. They need the unclassified docs to provide context on the classified docs that were mixed in. For example, who might have handled them and when they were last accessed?
8:12 AM · Nov 10, 2022
Back to Fani
Fani Willis is not garbage, and not a blight on ethical prosecutors.
She is not perfect, but she is following her role.
“If you always see things from your own standpoint, the world shrinks. Your body gets stiff, your footwork grows heavy, and you can no longer move. But if you’re able to view where you’re standing from other perspectives — to put it another way, if you can entrust your existence to some other system –the world will grow three-dimensional, more supple. And I believe that as long as we live in this world, that kind of agile stance is extremely important…” Haruki Murakami from Novelist as a Vocation
Hurrah Haruki !
The criminal justice system is just like any other institution in human society: fallible. Prosecutors, defense counsels, judges, and yes, even juries are all human and are all fallible.
No, she is relentlessly noisy garbage. And has been from the start. Willis is far more about political posturing than the actual law.
One dimensional viewpoint.
I’m thinking she might beat Garland to the punch.
Enter the legal system at your peril
It’s not rare, in popular American discourse, for Black women to be referred to as “trash.” When you apply that epithet to District Attorney Willis how do we know your usage comes from a different place than it commonly does?
P.S. No, I’ve not lengthened my name yet. I intend to do so before I post again.
P.P.S. I’ve translated to another state. Does that effect how I “look” to you moderators?
This is bullshit. My problems with Fanni have nothing whatsoever to do with her race, and it is gross and disgusting for you to allege that.
I’ll say again that I’d be thrilled to see a longer piece from you on what’s wrong with Fani. It’s obvious you dislike her, but I’d be curious for the details of why you apply all those unkind adjectives.
I’ll say again, I have explained this over many months.
Over the last few months you’ve used all kinds of unkind adjectives. But I don’t think you’ve ever said, “she did W thing wrong in case X, and this is wrong for reasons Y and Z” then repeated this for all thing things she does/gets wrong. But I might not have noticed.
Yeah, maybe you did not notice. Or did not care because it is much easier to be a Fani Willis fanboy because she is blatantly and loudly anti-Trump. But anti-Trump is not the standard, propriety is. I have previously stated that Willis is blowing through every guard rail of ethical grand jury secrecy (in federal law that is Rule 6, but GA has analogous provisions) and is noisily using her case to make political bones. Even a court has called her out on this politicized bunk.
I have never seen a prosecutor blatantly use his or her grand jury tools so publicly and obnoxiously. If you want criminal accountability for Trump, you should loathe how Willis is conducting herself. How many more times will I have to explain this as to Willis?
I’m not a Willis fanboy, just curious about your reasoning.
I agree with the judge’s decision in the story you reference above – IMHO Willis should have recused herself from prosecuting Burt Jones before a judge had to – though to be fair it was a fundraiser for the primary, and I doubt she expected to investigate a state senator. However, I’m not sure about the other criticisms, so perhaps you should enlighten me about this one:
Some of the harshest (criticisms) came from attorneys representing nearly a dozen of the GOP electors. They laid into Willis for disclosing too much about the investigation to the media, including acknowledging in a public court filing that the electors were being considered targets of the investigation.
(From http://www.ajc.com/politics/fulton-das-trump-probe-enters-more-combative-phase/G43EAMG67RBJFI5AQN2TJ75OXU/ – note I left off the “https://” so hopefully it won’t form an unwanted link, then the site software added it back – please link or don’t link at your discretion.)
So should these “public filings” have been filed under seal?
Also, how do you feel about the back-and-forth with Governor Kemp’s office? From what I’ve read it looks to have been poorly handled (on both sides,) but I’m curious about your opinion.
I’ll note that I find the rap cases and her willingness to jail teachers fairly disturbing.
Love Murakami. His interpretations of being human are are relief to me and at this time I am on a steady diet of whatever I can get my hands on written by him.
UGH! He’s back.
Former Interior Secretary Zinke wins Montana US House seat
And Another UGH!
The Recount Twitter: 7:19 AM · Nov 10, 2022 (see video)
Fox’s Jesse Watters: “… But single women and voters under 40 have been captured by Democrats. So we need these ladies to get married. And it’s time to fall in love and just settle down. Guys, go put a ring on it.”
Apropos of nothing, I have a few random thoughts/comments/questions about the midterm elections before the final results are known:
1) The results are particularly remarkable, given the amount of corruption and bias in the process, due to gerrymandered districts and the advantage incumbents have in any American election.
2) How many voters did Ron DeSantis deter from voting in Florida with his election police?
3) How much longer can we pretend that the Electoral College is meaningful? We might ask ourselves why no other country on the planet has anything similar?
Thats it – I am proud of being an American after this wonderful surprise of an election!
As a long-time reader and sometimes contributor to this forum, I struggle to understand why US states have different mechanisms/ time frames for voting, and vote counting.
I hope no-one feels – by asking this question – that I am suggesting that there is some nefarious or conspiracy-based reason for the votes from some states to take longer to be processed / verified than in other states, because that is definitely NOT the case.
To put it in broader terms, I am not American, but I an a resident of a ‘first world’, ‘western’ country that takes pride in its democratic election principles and processes. But in my country, we have agreed voting guidelines and election processes that apply to everyone, regardless of where they live.
I accept that my question may make me look ignorant to the key @emptywheel team, but I’m also pretty sure that, if the question I’ve asked is one that my fellow non-US contributors would like you to comment on, it perhaps wouldn’t be a complete waste of your time.
As starting preface, here’s an astutely-observed point—
Following that preface, the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified well over two centuries ago, in 1788. The conditions then pertaining to the nation inevitably led to a great civil war in the early 1860’s, and reconstruction afterwards.
A core tension throughout American political history from independence onward, both before and after reconstruction, has been –and remains today– the essential, federal relationship between the states and the national government.
Let me perhaps turn your question around to ask you, a self-described “resident of a ‘first world’, ‘western’ country” –ought your nation’s voting guidelines and election processes, applying to everyone, ought they ultimately be decreed from United Nations headquarters in New York?
While community member nedu’s answer is good, the U.S. Constitution itself provides the answer, in Article I, Section 4:
Each state is different, just as each state of the European Union is different. Not as different as EU members are, but enough that the states’ legislatures reflect different demographics, economics, locations within the United States. What works in extremely rural states and in states with much more diverse ethnicities does not necessarily work in highly urban or homogenous states.
As an example: a state like Arizona has a combination of both extremely rural populations like that in the northern portion of state where several Native American tribes’ lands are located, to the metropolitan area of Phoenix. A predominantly white state legislature may not make it easy for Native Americans’ votes to be cast, collected, and counted.
Article I Section 4 of the Constitution places responsibility for the conduct of elections with the individual states:
“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
This is another historical anomaly from when the US was really a collection of individual states and did not have the appropriate infrastructure to deal with certain matters. The same applies to the Second Amendment whether the gun nuts want to believe it or not.
Senators will fiercely defend states’ rights over most things and, as a result, the capacity for Congress to ‘alter such Regulations’ never eventuates and the capacity to change an amendment is even ore mind-bogglingly improbable.
Rayne’s response is the correct one – the fact that each state sets their own vote-counting processes is what is America’s greatest strength and, perhaps, its greatest weakness. By being highly decentralized, the voting mechanisms of the individual states cannot be easily taken over or exploited as readily as a more centralized counting and tabulating process. Much like the Internet itself. On the other hand, by being highly decentralized, it opens individual states to treachery, manipulation, regulatory capture and general hijinx. I am thinking in particular of our penninsular friends in the Great State of Florida, which has a long and rich history of electoral misdeeds and manipulation.