Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is a sorry sack of week-old guano. The majority of his political career seems to consist of narcissistic, frequently racist, half-provocative, all-show-and-no-substance publicity stunts. The most realistic thing to happen to Rep. Gaetz in the past decade or so is he’s been able to skirt being punished substantially by our justice system, mostly because he’s a rich kid with good political connections to a corrupt Republican apparatus. Laura Ingraham is what happens when the troll under the bridge steals your soul in exchange for a bag of cheese doodles. So it is no surprise that when Rep. Matt Gaetz goes on Ingraham’s Fox News performance art piece of a show, the results are a special kind of fascism.
Ingraham decided to have Gaetz on her show to give his hot take on how the Democratic Party is using the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching public health concerns to push vote-by-mail legislation for all 50 states. Figuring out a safe way for Americans to continue to participate in our democracy while protecting Americans from spreading the deadly virus sounds like corruption to Ingraham and Rep. Gaetz because … well … people might actually vote!
Rep. Gaetz explained to the Fox News viewer that “It's perhaps Joe Biden's failures as a candidate that animate the left's desire to get these vote-by-mail provisions in coronavirus legislation, so they're able to have the mechanism of voting that even MIT professors are saying is the most susceptible to fraud." Ah, Republicans and their almost unsightly obsession with invisible voter fraud. Gaetz goes on to explain that Joe Biden is a bad candidate and bad candidates want voter fraud so that they can win. It’s Matt Gaetz math! One plus one equals pajamas!
Well, it turns out that the MIT study that Rep. Gaetz is referring to doesn’t actually say what Matt Gaetz wants you to think it says. In fact, what the MIT study did say about voting by mail (VBM) is that “As with all forms of voter fraud, documented instances of fraud related to VBM are rare. However, even many scholars who argue that fraud is generally rare agree that fraud with VBM voting seems to be more frequent than with in-person voting.” The MIT study did also say that the biggest voter fraud seen through VPM seems to have been perpetrated in North Carolina—by Republicans. I am shocked that Ingraham and Gaetz forgot to mention this!
But, this isn’t a Laura Ingraham joint unless Laura Ingraham gets to slip in some profound misinformation that does her viewers a serious disservice. After superficially trying to scare Fox News viewers away from voting by mail, Ingraham explains that we don’t know how “deadly” COVID-19 actually is. This is because we haven’t done enough testing—something Ingraham forgets to mention. Instead, Ingraham says we don’t know because some people with mild symptoms are already better and are now immune to the virus while “other people just have immunity to it.” That’s not a thing. There is zero evidence of this. Zero. Telling people that they may have some genetic lottery ticket that immunizes them from the world of viruses is not simply wrong: it’s irresponsible.
But Matt Gaetz does not want to be outdone in doing disservices to the American people. So he explained that Florida’s pandemic numbers, while not clear or even remotely sufficient to make any definitive statements as to the virus’ mortality rate, show that “the morbidity rate and mortality rate look more and more like the flu,” every day. I’ve got a ship Rep. Gaetz should go visit.
Gaetz then went to his bread-and-butter racism, attacking provisions for immigrants in Pelosi’s bill (something that was clearly left out of the final package passed last Friday). So, Gaetz should be happy that he was able to freeze taxpaying undocumented folks out from getting relief.
Of course, the congressman is not the only craven Republican lackey running around trying to drum up anti-Democratic sentiment. Georgia’s State House Speaker David Ralston has very bluntly pushed back against the Democratic Party’s attempts to expand vote by mail, saying it would "be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia." What a thing to say.