Saturday, September 3, 2011

Taking away your voting rights: the new Republican strategy

How do you win an election in  a country that is closely divided?

You keep the other guys from voting.  And THAT is a deliberate Republican strategy RIGHT NOW.

Reporting in Rolling Stone, Ari Berman exposes this campaign. It is really, really worth reading this article. (My emphases)
Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century," says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. "I don't want everybody to vote," the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. "As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP's effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

This isn't just being noticed by Rolling Stone.  EJ Dionne writes
An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.

The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place....

Again, think of what this would look like to a dispassionate observer. A party wins an election, as the GOP did in 2010. Then it changes the election laws in ways that benefit itself. In a democracy, the electorate is supposed to pick the politicians. With these laws, politicians are shaping their electorates.

It's not just minority and elderly voters.  There are active efforts in numerous states to suppress college age voters.
New Hampshire's new Republican state House speaker is pretty clear about what he thinks of college kids and how they vote. They're "foolish," Speaker William O'Brien said in a recent speech to a tea party group.

"Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do," he added....Students lack "life experience," and "they just vote their feelings."

New Hampshire House Republicans are pushing for new laws that would prohibit many college students from voting in the state - and effectively keep some from voting at all.
And if you are poor, really, should you be allowed to vote? A conservative columnist advocates disenfranchising the poor.
Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and "like handing out burglary tools to criminals."
That is the political strategy of the current Republican party. And, as they have policies that actively drive away poor, minority, or immigrant voters, it's important  that they prevent those people from voting.

If you are not outraged, you are NOT paying attention.


Counterlight said...

Bring back the good old days when only propertied white males could vote, and had all of the power instead of most of it.

Let's remake the USA in the image of Europe ... the Europe of a century ago.

What do they want next? to be addressed as "milord and milady?"

JCF said...


Cincinnati Father, 24, Dead Because He Couldn't Afford Dental Care


Lord have mercy!

RIP, Kyle. :-(

JCF said...


Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult"

A summation of the last 40 years, and what it's brought us (USA) to. Briliant. Incisive...

...which leads us to "Now What?" :-/