Among the nonstop madness that is the Trump administration, it's so easy to miss the little ways the Republican Party is hard at work helping our would-be dictator by undermining American democracy.
The latest attack on the integrity of our system comes via Paul Ryan and the House Republicans:
House Speaker Paul Ryan faced Democratic criticism Thursday after choosing not to renew the term of a federal agency head who has helped lead the charge on securing elections from hackers.
Matthew Masterson, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, will depart once the Senate confirms a successor, three people familiar with the situation told POLITICO. His four-year term as a commissioner expired in December, but he has stayed while Ryan contemplated whom to recommend to President Donald Trump as a nominee for the seat.
Republicans have been trying to shut down the Election Assistance Commission for years because anything that makes elections less prone to tampering is a direct threat to their ability to cheat their way into power. They were perfectly comfortable with the EAC back in the early Aughts (it was formed as a response to the 2000 election debacle) because they assumed they were going to hold a permanent Republican majority for the next 100 years so who cared? After that pipe dream collapsed and they realized that they were on the brink of catastrophic demographic, ideological, and electoral failure, election rigging became more vital than ever and the EAC became a serious threat.
If you think that's all tinfoil hat nonsense, you literally have not paid attention to a single thing Republicans have done in the last 20 years. Between voter suppression laws, extreme gerrymandering, voting machines that can be easily hacked, and the myriad dirty tricks used to steal elections, Republicans have been very clear that they're not interested in tamper-proof elections or honest democracy. There is nothing else that explains the full scale war Republicans have declared against doing anything at all to harden our elections against Russian interference. By replacing the head of one of the agencies charged with doing just that just a few months ahead of the midterms, Ryan is doing his part to weaken our ability to prevent that interference knowing full well that Russian hackers will not be helping Democrats get elected.
To make it extra clear that Ryan is on a mission, the current head, Masterson, is himself a Republican. The problem is that he's taken his job quite seriously and risen above party politics to do it:
“This is insanity,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, an election security expert who is the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “Matt is extremely capable and has been a champion of more secure and better elections the entire time he's been on the EAC.”
In February 2017, Masterson took the rotating chairman position. He won praise from state officials and cyber experts of both parties for handling election security in an objective, nonpartisan way.
That, in a nutshell, is the entire problem for Ryan and the GOP. They do not want objective and nonpartisan. Objective and nonpartisan is how they lose elections and that's not acceptable. Better to put in a lackey that will sow confusion and division right before the election and leave us as vulnerable as possible.
It will come as exactly no surprise when Ryan appoints someone hostile to the EAC's mission; someone who will spend the next 6 months pulling back on the progress already made and laying out the red carpet for Russia. Republicans may or may not be colluding directly with Russia but by this point, their actions have made them so complicit it hardly makes a difference.