Republican state legislatures are radicalizing against democracy

If Pennsylvania is any indication, Republicans could use their majorities to take a jackhammer to voting rights while curtailing the power of Democratic governors and legislators. They may even attempt to overhaul courts in a way that bends the justice system to their liking.

Pennsylvania Republicans are “flexing their muscles, their authority and their power to try to limit the ability of Democrats to participate in our democracy,” said state Sen. Jay Costa, the Democratic minority leader. “They believe that their power should be supreme, in the sense that it should supersede the powers anybody else has. They don’t want to have to be held by the checks and balances that we have the ability to provide.”

The Republicans who hold total control of 29 state legislatures are making clear that the authoritarian tendencies of the 45th president were a symptom of something deeper within the GOP.

“Donald Trump has left office, but Trumpism continues to be empowered in state capitols across the country ― not just among protesters, but among the lawmakers in power,” said Daniel Squadron, a former New York state senator who now serves as the executive director of Future Now, a progressive group that focuses on state legislatures. “That has the risk of metastasizing, and it’s certain to keep fueling the movement.”