It’s way past time to call a spade a spade. We already know that voter ID laws have absolutely nothing to do with preventing voter fraud. We also know that the people most likely to be adversely affected by these laws are black, Hispanic, poor and elderly, and are more likely to vote Democrat. Contrary to the rhetoric about keeping bad illegals from voting, the morass of bureaucratic insanity inherent in the Republican voter ID laws creates obstacles that adversely affect the people in the above-mentioned groups.
The suppress the black vote effort is not limited to voter ID laws. Other elements of what some Republicans refer to as a campaign strategy include reducing early voting days, hours or both; reducing or eliminating absentee voting; and eliminating or dramatically reducing voting on weekends.
While there are some Republicans holding on to the myth about voter fraud, others are more candid about their intent, not to mention the inherent racism that goes with it.
For example, Fox2now reports that Rep. Todd Aikin, who is trying to unseat U.S. Senator Claire McAskill, thinks the Federal government has no business getting involved in voting rights, or for that matter civil rights. This is reminiscent of Rand Paul’s claim, during an interview with Rachel Maddow, that civil rights is a state responsibility.
For the record, Aikin did try to walk back his opposition to the Civil Rights act in a subsequent statement in a manner similar to Paul’s walk back after the Maddow interview.
Congressman Todd Akin believes that the right to vote is fundamental to our country. He supports laws that protect these rights and did not say that he was opposed to the ‘civil rights and voting rights’ laws. Akin has, and always will, support the right to vote.
I’m going to go easy on these guys, only because I understand the intellectual limitations that come with home-schooling, especially when it’s coupled with right wing indoctrination.
First, the semi, sort of, seeming mea culpas did not come from an overnight revelation that the states sucked at protecting civil rights, including the right to vote. It was a result of the backlash that threatens their political fortunes. Politicians like Rand, Aikin and their ilk are hoping that if they treat the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Protection Act like shiny objects, you won’t notice the increasingly shrill racist dog whistling behind the curtain.
If it wasn’t so disgusting, their argument would be hilarious. On one hand, they would have us believe that the States (especially in the South) had such a sterling record of respecting civil rights, including voter rights that the Feds should just get out of their way. Then they claim that because the States has a horrendous record of institutionalizing racism, Federal intervention was needed. But hey, the racism is gone. Really, we can trust the very states in which Republicans view suppressing the black vote as a campaign strategy.
We can trust political “leaders” who think hard work is synonymous with white, while the opposite is synonymous with black.
Republicans also speak ever so passionately about their belief in the fundamental right to vote, except when it isn’t. They’re protecting the fundamental right to vote by establishing bureaucratic nightmares to get ID that they say is needed to vote, to prevent voter fraud that doesn’t exist. They’re protecting the fundamental right to vote, by reducing the opportunity to vote, be it by reducing the days and/or hours for early voting, and making absentee voting more difficult.
But then, voting is easy, which is why Ohio’s Republicans wanted to make it even easier for Republican leaning districts while making it more challenging in Democratic leaning districts.
Of course, Republicans don’t see it that way. “Leveling the playing field” and fairness really means rigging the system in favor of Republicans. Doug Preisse explains the Republican version of fairness. According to the Huffington Post:
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” Doug Priesse said in an email to the Columbus Dispatch Sunday. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”
Then there’s this charming comment by Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jon Husted, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch:
“He called claims of unfairness by Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern and others “bullshit. Quote me!”
I’ll be happy to quote your bullshit and I’ll do one better. I’ll explain why it is bullshit.
Doesn’t Husted’s comment just scream dedication to protecting the fundamental right to vote for all?
Granted, Husted extended the restrictions on voting that was originally limited to Democratic leaning counties to all. As Deidre Reese, coordinator of the Ohio Unity Coalition, explains:
However, Husted’s decree does not accommodate the schedules of many working people, she and other black leaders say. And while they applaud his move to mail absentee-ballot applications to all eligible Ohio voters, African-Americans are more comfortable echoing the civil-rights-movement mantra of “voting with their feet,” as Franklin County Elections Director William Anthony put it.
The bullshit that Hustid speaks of comes from him and others who claim that making voting accessible to people who work for a living is merely catering to voting machinery. Notwithstanding that get out the vote efforts are constitutional, while suppressing the vote is not; Hustid is dog whistling. What he is really saying is he does not see a point in “contorting” the system to accommodate the predominantly black and working class voters who live in urban areas.
His bullshit is dribbling from both sides of his mouth. While speaking of fairness and the integrity of the vote on one side, the other side speaks of how unfair it is to accommodate black voters and people who work for a living, if they are more likely to vote Democrat.
Let us face it. Republicans believe that lower income people (minorities, women, and the elderly) do not understand how the system works . In their eyes, “you people” supposedly do not understand the complicated concept of Romney-hood, lobbies and Super-Pacs, you really do not have any business voting anyway.
Actually, we do understand how the system Republicans want works and all too well. We understand that if Republicans had their way, voting would be restricted to propertied white men, while the rest of us pay the taxes. The Real Tea Party fought against the no taxation without representation that Republicans would love to resurrect.
We understand that high voter turnout tends to work to the detriment of Republicans. Voter ID laws, restricting voting days and hours are intended to reduce voter turn-out, disproportionately among people likely to vote Democrat. We understand that in Republican minds a fundamental right is, in reality, a privilege for rich white men to vote, while “you people” only have the right to shut up.