Every few months or so, some ghoulish Republican luminary accidentally admits that their party's stranglehold on the various levers of power in this country is entirely predicated on preventing people — usually from marginalized communities — from voting. And while this is hardly a surprise, given the time and energy the GOP has put into disenfranchising voters on the federal, state, and local levels, it's still something of a perverse thrill to hear them actually say the words out loud, and give voice to the unspoken understanding that Republicans cannot stand the idea of more people voting. The GOP's most recent accidental truth-teller is none other than Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a questionably qualified physician who has taken President Trump's electoral drubbing about as well as the rest of the Republican Party — which is to say, he's gone all-in on MAGA conspiracy theories designed to cast doubt on the objective fact that Joe Biden is indeed the president-elect.
"The fraud happened," Paul insisted during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "The election in many ways was stolen."
To be clear, there has been zero evidence whatsoever — none — that any sort of mass fraud occurred that would have changed the fact that Trump lost by the same Electoral College margin he enthusiastically trumpeted in 2016. But, okay, sure, fine, if Paul wants to hitch his garbage horse to the unhinged wagon of voter conspiracy theorists, that's his right. It's not like he's exactly going out on a limb within the GOP at this point.
But on Thursday morning he took things a step further. Speaking with Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo — who herself claimed just days earlier that an "intel source" told her "that President Trump did in fact win the election" — Paul alleged that the same sort of voter fraud that was never actually uncovered during the many, many Georgia election recounts and recertification efforts was now being deployed in the service of Democrats John Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock for the upcoming Senate races in the state.
Among the major issues for Paul is the fact that people are being mailed solicitations to file absentee ballots, which seems like a pretty reasonable idea if you believe that 1) increased voter participation is inherently good for democracy, and 2) limiting exposure to a deadly virus in the midst of a pandemic is inherently good for staying alive.
Paul, evidently, doesn't ascribe to either notion. He told Bartiromo that "I’m very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically non-voters, that you will affect and change the outcome."
Note that he did not say increasing voter turnout would "increase likelihood of fraud" (itself a bogus assertion), just that it would "change the outcome," which is a cagey way of saying "I won't like what happens." And those "typically non-voters" Paul is so worried about? While he doesn't say so outright, let's remember that Georgia is arguably ground zero for Republican voter suppression efforts that largely target Black and Latinx communities.
Put simply, Paul is carrying on in the Grand Ol' Party's grand ol' tradition of accidentally admitting that the more people who vote, the worse it is for Republicans. And frankly, he should be commended for his honesty. It's more than most of his colleagues can muster these days.