We've already seen what happens when Republicans can't win elections based on ideas. They send paid Congressional thugs to intimidate vote counters
. They stiff minority neighborhoods on voting machines
, so that thousands of people have to wait up to 10 hours to vote -- if they get in to vote at all. Their election officials buy easily-tampered-with electronic voting machines made by companies whose owners are openly partisan
. Their candidates advocate a return to Jim Crow-era literacy tests
And when they're called on these tactics, they do things like scream "ACORN! ACORN! ACORN!" -- an organization for which a very few people registered a very few fake names, but there is no evidence whatsoever that a single fake registration resulted in even a single actual fraudulent vote
. In response to an irrational fear that someone who is here illegally would expose himself to officialdom to cast a vote he's not supposed to, Republicans have, ever since they got away with it in 2000, tried to put up roadblock after roadblock in front of efforts to get people to the polls -- particularly minorities and young people, who tend to vote Democratic.
Now, in Florida, back where it all began, legislation is winding its way through that would make it extremely difficult to hold voter registration drives. Rachel Maddow reported on it last night:
And it isn't just Florida. As more and more people who were duped by the Tea Party start to wake up and realize that the threat to their way of life isn't immigrants, or abortion, or Scary Muslims®, but Ayn Rand disciples like Rep. Paul Ryan and the other Teabag Congressman bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers. And they're making their dissatisfaction known to Reps. Ryan
With the Republican Party having no clear likely nominee, other than a famewhore circus clown
and a guy who can't possibly win a Republican primary because he's not completely batshit crazy
, the tables just might be turned in 2012 on the Republican Party, whose legislators have been foolish enough to believe that what happened in 2008 was a national adoption of Objectivism, rather than a simple case of voting-by-tantrum.
But since Republican legislators are ideologues above all else (including the good of the very people they're SUPPOSED to represent, as opposed to the corporations they do), and since the Twin Pillars of Republicanism are Ideology and Power, the thought that they might not win in 2012 is anathema to them. Democrats who lose elections to Republican election official shenanigans are starting to wake up
and demand not that they be declared the winner, but that such shenanigans be investigated so that people can have confidence in their votes -- especially when Republican election officials are people like Katherine Harris
and Ken Blackwell
and Kathy Nickolaus
So in statehouses all over the country, especially those with newly-minted Teabagger governors, they're not taking any chances. If minorities and young people -- who showed up in droves in 2008 to put a black man in the White House resulting in a full-out nervous breakdown by racists who are still looking down the socioeconomic ladder while the Koch Brothers and their equals and lackeys are stealing the few bits of spare change still in their back pockets while they're distracted -- might show up at the polls again, then they have to be stopped. And stop them the Republicans will
Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”
Anyone who has stood on the long lines at a motor vehicle office knows that it isn’t easy to get such documents. For working people, it could mean giving up a day’s wages.
A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.
Kansas’ new law was drafted by its secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who also wrote Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. Voters will be required to show a photo ID at the polls. Before they can register, Kansans will have to produce a proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
Tough luck if you don’t happen to have one in your pocket when you’re at the county fair and you pass the voter registration booth. Or when the League of Women Voters brings its High School Registration Project to your school cafeteria. Or when you show up at your dorm at the University of Kansas without your birth certificate. Sorry, you won’t be voting in Lawrence, and probably not at all.
That’s fine with Gov. Sam Brownback, who said he signed the bill because it’s necessary to “ensure the sanctity of the vote.” Actually, Kansas has had only one prosecution for voter fraud in the last six years. But because of that vast threat to Kansas democracy, an estimated 620,000 Kansas residents who lack a government ID now stand to lose their right to vote.
Eight states already had photo ID laws. Now more than 30 other states are joining the bandwagon of disenfranchisement, as Republicans outdo each other to propose bills with new voting barriers. The Wisconsin bill refuses to recognize college photo ID cards, even if they are issued by a state university, thus cutting off many students at the University of Wisconsin and other campuses. The Texas bill, so vital that Gov. Rick Perry declared it emergency legislation, would also reject student IDs, but would allow anyone with a handgun license to vote.
A Florida bill would curtail early voting periods, which have proved popular and brought in new voters, and would limit address changes at the polls. “I’m going to call this bill for what it is, good-old-fashioned voter suppression,” Ben Wilcox of the League of Women Voters told The Florida Times-Union.
Here's the bottom line: When Americans show up at the polls in large numbers, right-wing extremists tend not to win. Republicans know on some level, despite the relentless talking point that the American people WANT endless tax cuts for billionaires under the false promise of "job creation" (and kudos to those getting up at town halls and noting that we've had 12 years of these tax cuts; so where are the jobs?), what we're seeing now is NOT what the American people want. They cannot win on the current Republican agenda. They cannot win the war of ideas. So they only way they will be able to retain power is by making sure that only THEIR people can vote.
Have you noticed that Republicans are no longer waving the flag and talking about patriotism? Perhaps it's because what they are doing right now is so fundamentally un-American.
Labels: Teabag America, vote suppression