is cheating the only way for Republicans to win?

Posted: April 14, 2013 in human rights, politics, racism, Republicans, voting rights
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

-Paul Weyrich, conservative activist, to a gathering of evangelical leaders

Ok, here’s the bottom line. Republicans know they’re seriously in trouble. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put it really well recently when he said:

We’re losing the demographics race badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.

images-112Exactly. The Republicans are seriously in danger of going the way of the Whig Party. Right now 69% of US citizens are of European decent. That means that white men are already in the minority, representing around 34% of the population. (And the angry ones? Less than that!)

In 7 years white people will make up less than 60% of the US population, and a few decades later white people will technically be minorities, and white men will make up less than one quarter of the population.

What does this mean for Republicans, whose main voting block are white men over age 50, and whose platform basically tends to offend women, young people and minorities? The GOP platform is perceived as being:
AGAINST: Women’s rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, gay rights, safety nets for the poor, investments in science and education, citizenship for immigrants, and many other positions that the majority of Americans support, and
FOR: The wealthiest one percent, corporations, tradition, religion, nationalism, fetuses (not mothers or children) and legislating morality.

(I’m not saying this IS their platform – but it’s certainly perceived that way by most Americans.)

Here’s the truth that Republicans are well aware of: The majority of Americans vote Democrat, and lean center left, politically. And this trend is only going to become more and more pronounced as the older white guys die off, and younger, less white people become of age. So – the Republicans have a real problem.

And their solution? What most conservative politicians are doing now is working to adjust their platform to better reflect the values and beliefs of the people they represent.

Ha ha! Just joking! (I crack myself up.) No, what they’re doing instead is coming up with more and more creative ways to keep people away from the polls. They know only too well that higher voter turnout means more votes for Democrats – and the less likely the Republicans are to remain in power. So – their last desperate effort, before they become completely irrelevant and fade into the history books, is to figure out how to make it hard to vote if you’re not an older white guy.

Following is a brief primer on the many ways the GOP has been trying to steal the vote.

1. Instill fear
They put up really scary billboards in Ohio and Michigan, only in poor images-115African-American neighborhoods, warning people that VOTER FRAUD IS A CRIME THAT COULD LEAD TO IMPRISONMENT.

This is blatant voter intimidation. A direct attack in the heart of African American community meant to scare people and keep them from exercising their right to vote.

-Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland

2. Distribute misleading information
They printed voter registration cards and bookmarks in Arizona, listing the correct election date (Nov. 6) in English and the wrong date (Nov. 8) in the Spanish translation. Hispanic voter registration has surged 51 percent in Arizona since 2008 amid frustration over the state’s hard-line immigration policies.

3. Wait us out
Republicans severely limited voters’ opportunities by closing polling places, shortening voting hours, cutting way back on early voting days, and more. (Their stated reasons? Saving money.) As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Voters all over the country were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of voters were kept away in 2012 due to long lines – some up to 6 to 8 hours long!

4. Make voting more inconvenient
In dozens of states, Republicans have backed legislation that would limit the forms of identification that voters are allowed to show at the polls before voting. In some states they are proposing that the voter registration cards people received when they registered to vote would NOT be sufficient ID.

5. Keeping the students away from the polls.
A bill filed in the North Carolina General Assembly this week would remove the state images-114income tax deduction for dependents who register at an address other than their parents. In other words, parents of college kids would be punished with a new tax if their kids registered to vote at school – thus pressuring the kids not to register to vote.

The bill would also require vehicle registration to correspond with voter registration. Since college students tend to keep their cars registered at home, this would also cut down on students voting. They also added this special feature: a restriction on early voting and the elimination of same-day voter registration.

This North Carolina “poll tax” is intended to stop Democratic-leaning students from voting

The practical impact of the legislation is that it would cut into Democratic dominance in many states that have a strong student vote. According the Newsweek:

The youth vote is no longer dismissible: In 2008, then candidate Obama promised to energize the youth vote like no candidate had done before him. Eyes rolled — including ours. But Obama was right. Voters aged 18-29 comprised 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 and Obama won them by 34 points. Surely, skeptics insisted, that showing was a one-off — built around Obama’s nonpartisan call for “hope” and “change.” Or not. According to the latest national exit polling, 19 percent of the electorate was aged 18-29 and Obama won that group by 24 points. Once is an anomaly. Twice is a new political reality. The only question going forward is whether the youth vote is tied to President Obama uniquely or whether it is an advantage for Democrats more broadly.

So here’s the plan: If the Republicans can’t get young people to vote for their big business-purchased policies, they’ll simply stop them from voting all together.

GOP poll tax sponsors know college students are less likely to vote absentee

Empirical analysis has shown that college students are less likely to vote if they use the absentee balloting process than if they do so in person, and black students are even less likely to take advantage of the absentee process than their white counterparts.

Voting is an exercise in collective action; citizens in general, not just young ones, are less likely to vote if it is turned into an individual pursuit. Matters between you and your neighbors or classmates are more likely to be taken seriously than matters between you and your P.O. box. In other words, your P.O. box won’t judge you if you don’t honor your social commitments by not voting.

images-113What the old, white North Carolina Republicans who are good at snail-mail realize all too well is that young, diverse college students are quite the opposite: they’re really bad at snail-mail. Expecting college students to locate an absentee ballot request form, print it out, fill it out, mail it to the correct registrar’s office, retrieve their ballot in a timely manner, fill that out and mail it back is a losing (or, if you’re a Republican, winning) proposition.

Regardless, the issue here isn’t why college students don’t vote absentee, it’s that Republicans know they don’t, and are using that fact to stop college kids from voting all together since they don’t vote for enough Republicans. The GOP is crafting legislation intended to stop college kids from voting, lest they vote more Democratic than Republican.

Cheating America out of its vote
Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama. 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.

In a systematic campaign orchestrated, 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.

One of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. Why is all of this going on? This is not rocket science. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.

-Bill Clinton

Rampant voter fraud?

To hear Republicans tell it, they are waging a virtuous campaign to crack down on 116880_600rampant voter fraud. In 2006, the Justice Department fired two U.S. attorneys who refused to pursue trumped-up cases of voter fraud in New Mexico and Washington, and Karl Rove called illegal voting “an enormous and growing problem.”

Even at the time, there was no evidence to back up such claims. It’s been said that voter fraud in the US is slightly more common than unicorns. A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility.

“Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere,” joked Stephen Colbert.

A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning,” the report calculated, “than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

GOP outcries over the phantom menace of voter fraud escalated after 2008, when Obama’s candidacy attracted historic numbers of first-time voters. In the 29 states that record party affiliation, roughly two-thirds of new voters registered as Democrats in 2007 and 2008 – and Obama won nearly 70 percent of their votes. In Florida alone, Democrats added more than 600,000 new voters in the run-up to the 2008 election, and those who went to the polls favored Obama over John McCain by 19 points. “This latest flood of attacks on voting rights is a direct shot at the communities that came out in historic numbers for the first time in 2008 and put Obama over the top,” says Tova Wang, an elections-reform expert at Demos, a progressive think tank.

No one has done more to stir up fears about the manufactured threat of voter fraud than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a top adviser in the Bush Justice Department who has become a rising star in the GOP. This year, Kobach successfully fought for a law requiring every Kansan to show proof of citizenship in order to vote – even though the state prosecuted only one case of voter fraud in the past five years. The new restriction fused anti-immigrant hysteria with voter-fraud paranoia. “In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,” Kobach claimed, offering no substantiating evidence.

Kobach also asserted that dead people were casting ballots, singling out a deceased Kansan named Alfred K. Brewer as one such zombie voter. There was only one problem: Brewer was still very much alive. The Wichita Eagle found him working in his front yard. “I don’t think this is heaven,” Brewer told the paper. “Not when I’m raking leaves.”

This isn’t about stopping vote-stealing and other corruption, for which there are already plenty of laws on the books. It’s about rigging the system to keep power.

  1. G says:

    Voter fraud is real.

    The Democratic Party is the party of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and segregation.

    A majority of Americans favor classical-liberal (American-conservative) ideas, but unfortunately elections are not run on a contrast of ideas with logical conclusions. They run on emotional appeals and 30 second sound bites.

    The best way for the American conservatives to win in the long run is to fight for freedom of choice in education so our young people start learning the truth and are given a greater opportunity to be successful.

    • nash says:

      Hey G – thanks for your comment. But – wow. Seriously – your comments just seem so removed from reality. “The Democratic Party is the party of slavery, the KK, Jim Crow and segregation.” Do you really mean that? Have you read a newspaper in the last, say, 100 years? You are living WAY in the past, dude. TODAY it’s the Republican party that stands against women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, and much more. Have you not been paying attention???

      • G says:

        Even if you want to dismiss everything that happened prior to 1913, the facts still back my claim. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 with 92% of Republicans supporting the bill and only 54% of Democrats voting for it. The Democrats attempted to filibuster the bill from even coming to a vote. The ’64 CRA passed congress with almost 90% Republican approval and against almost 30% Democrat opposition.

        You do know that the Dixiecrats were Democrats, right?

        What rights of women, gays, or minorities are the Republican Party standing against? Gay marriage has faced bi-partisan opposition and bi-partisan support. (I support gay marriage). Opposition to abortion is about the right to life (as in inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness). I don’t vociferously oppose abortion because the ones who have abortions are people I don’t want raising kids anyway. (I’m not proud of that).

        The political establishment of both parties are largely corrupt and need voted out. And they retain their power by keeping everyone divided and focused on a few emotional issues (often times non-existent ones) and avoid the ones we largely agree on – such as we need to balance our budget and pay down our debt. The grass roots tea party movement supports individual liberty and personal responsibility.

        • Oel says:

          It’s mostly Southerners who were Democrats, up until the late 60s when Nixon employed the Southern Strategy to enable the crossover of the South into the Republican party. Lot of former Democrats became Republicans, politician and constituent alike, after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act.
          In this country, it’s ALWAYS been about North vs South, Federalist v Anti-Federalist.

          LBJ had to resort to a lot of political blackmail, maneuvers, and deals to ensure the passage of those acts, that President was very influential and powerful, to say the least. Although he certainly had his faults.
          Before that the African-American population was largely loyal to the Republican party, then they crossed to the Democrats after that. They’re not stupid you know, they know what’s going on at the political level. Sounds like Rand Paul narrative, who the like tend to ignore history.

  2. G says:

    Who is ignoring history here? The “Southern Strategy” is largely a myth based on partial truths and outright lies. Republicans had been making inroads in the south prior to that election and the south was trending Republican for years, just as America was trending towards freedom and equality for years and dragging the Democratic Party with it. In 1952, President Dwight Eisenhower (R) won three southern states, and won five in 1956. In addition in ’56, Eisenhower won the popular vote in the southern states and narrowly missed winning a sixth state, North Carolina, that would have carried a majority of the southern states. Nixon picked up North Carolina 12 years later to continue the trend that had been around for two decades.

    To cite North – South residency to back a point, but ignore party affiliation is laughable. From 1975 to 2007, the southern states lost 13 million people who migrated from their states to other regions. However, during that same time period, they saw an influx from the other regions to the tune of 19.7 million people. Not to mention the fact that since 1950, the population of the United States has more than doubled, increasing by over 150 million people.

    The fact is, a vast majority of white Americans from both parties are not racist. The sad irony is that many white Democrats are racist and don’t even intend to be.

    Knowledge is power. The truth will set you free.

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