McConnell is Right: Elections Should be Left to the States

In a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor on Monday to respond directly to those who have criticized him for blocking Democratic election law proposals this past week. Attacks on the Majority Leader masquerading as constructive criticisms have become increasingly ugly in recent days. A Washington Post opinion piece called him a “Russian asset,” and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has repeatedly referred to him as “Moscow Mitch.”

Majority Leader McConnell called out this complete distortion of reality in Monday’s speech:

So, let me make this crystal-clear for the hyperventilating hacks who haven’t actually followed this issue: Every single member of the Senate agrees that Russian meddling was real and is real. We all agree that the federal government, state governments, and the private sector all have obligations to take this threat seriously and bolster our defenses. Claims to the contrary – claims that anybody here denies what Russia did on President Obama’s watch – are just lies. Not partisan distortion, not clever spin; just total fabrications. 

Republicans have made it clear that the rejection of the Democrats’ proposals for election security is based on fundamental ideological differences between the parties on how elections should be administered and the separation of powers. Majority Leader McConnell and other GOP leaders believe that state and local governments should have the majority of control over elections. As Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt noted earlier this month, “Federalization of the process would, I think, add an extra level of confusion rather than an extra level of protection.”

In Monday’s speech, Majority Leader McConnell called out Democrats for taking advantage of a national security threat to push their agenda:

[Y]ou can be sure that I’ve spoken out against Democrats’ efforts to seize on the crisis and use it to advance their other, long-held partisan goals for the political process. Some of these are changes they’ve sought since long before the 2016 meddling. So, no, I am not going to let Democrats and their water-carriers in the media use Russia’s attack on our democracy as a Trojan horse for partisan wish-list items that would not actually make our elections safer.

Majority Leader McConnell is right. The Trump Administration has ensured Congress that it is already taking the necessary steps to protect the election system from foreign interference. The Left’s attacks on the GOP are ploys to fundamentally change the country and its elections, and the legislative process should be used to stop it.