Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Republican Tea Party Election Strategy: Suppress the Vote

by Sunnyjane

The media and all the political pundits -- both conservative and liberal -- have relished yammering on about what a lousy year 2013 was for President Obama.

Well, there hasn't been much high-fiving by the GOP, either.  They came out of the 2012 election bruised and bleeding, but determined to change their whole strategy around the meme that GOP policies GOOD, GOP messaging BAD.  That's right, they just don't GET IT.  So after another year of bad messaging, combined with their inability to pin a scandal on the current administration -- think: IRS, Benghazi, pressing the flesh with Raul Castro -- they resorted to slamming the woebegone ACA website roll-out:  It's Obama's Katrina!  No...It's Obama's Iraq!  No...It's Obama's Bay of Pigs!  (OK, I made that last one up, but still...)

The GOP's list of, um, saviors seem to be shrinking dramatically through self-inflicted wounds, Big Boy in New Jersey being just the latest.  The former governor of Vagina Virginia, Bob McDonnell, left the Virginia governorship in the middle of a big scandal and is now facing fourteen counts for federal corruption -- and voters elected a clean slate of Democrats.  Ted Cruz shut down the entire government to the tune of at least a $25 Billion loss, a disastrous move that pissed off  further irritated his own party; Marco Rubio cooked his goose by flip-flopping on immigration; Rand Paul, among all his other absurdities, now says that President Obama's winning the majority vote in the last election is similar to how we got Jim Crow laws and the internment of Japanese citizens at the beginning of World War Two -- or something like that; Jeb Bush's mommie won't let him come out and play; and a nun in Italy had a baby boy recently.  (Hey, with the GOP's mental-midget thinking, they could easily try to pin it on that Muslim in the White House.)

The Road to 270 Electoral Votes...

Results of the 2012 Presidential Election: 332 - 206  (Heh)

Each state (and the District of Columbia) is apportioned a certain number of the Electoral College's 538 votes, according to population.  Naturally, this means that states with the higher numbers are coveted by the candidates, such as Texas (38) and California (55).  Texas is considered a safe Red State (Republican) and California is considered a safe Blue State (Democratic); thus, each party concentrates on swing or battleground states -- those that historically are not locked into either party, such as Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio.  A candidate must get at least 270 votes to win.

Plotting a path to a win is an exercise conducted by each campaign via continuous polling of  swing states, which determines where they spend advertising money and where they send their candidate to campaign.  You'll remember that in 2008, Sarah Palin went ape-shit over the fact that the Republican campaign was not showing enough ads in Alaska, and Todd whined that he wasn't seeing many yard signs promoting the Geezer/Dingbat Palin/McCain McCain/Palin ticket around Wasilla and Anchorage.  Even Steve Schmidt's patient explanation that Alaska was solidly in the Republican camp (the state hasn't voted Democratic since 1964) and it has only three Electoral votes at stake, did nothing to mollify the Stupid and <<<<I'm With Stupid duo.

...May be a Long One for the GOP in 2016
Background checks for gun buyers is too intrusive!  Making minorities jump through hoops to vote is absolutely necessary!
I guess when Chief Justice John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he was making up to the GOP for his ruling that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.   Not only that, but Roberts has a long-held hostility toward the VRA's Section 5 because he believes it supports racial preferences, and this was his opportunity get rid of it.   Section 5 of the VRA, requiring certain states that have historically restricted minorities from voting to obtain per-clearance from the Department of Justice before changing any of their voting laws, insured that no new laws would be discriminatory.   

Republican governors nationwide whooped with delight over the Supreme's decision, of course, because it allowed their far-right legislators to enact stifling requirements that affected primarily minority voters.  All kinds of restrictive laws were passed within weeks of the decision, including requiring radical ID changes, purging of voter rolls, limiting absentee voting, etc.  In North Carolina, the extremist governor cut out seven days of early voting, justifying it by saying, We didn't shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar.  No, seriously!

These Republican voter suppression laws have no purpose but to make it harder for minorities to vote.  The country is changing, and conservatives -- having nothing in the way of inclusive policies to offer the precise demographics they need to win an election -- must find a legally effective way to get them NOT to vote.  Paul Weyrich, the co-founder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), said way-back-when, They want everybody to vote. 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.  So ALEC, the anti-American legislation group that offers up far-right model legislation like a fast-food restaurant menu -- You want some voter suppression bills to go with that? -- is supplying GOP governors and legislators with whatever tools will inhibit minorities' access to the voting booth.

In truth, there is virtually NO voter fraud in the United States. 

But the Good News is, It Ain't Working Out Too Well

Last week, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley struck down Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law, saying, Inescapably, the Voter ID Law infringes upon qualified electors' right to vote.  Disenfranchising voters through no fault of the voter himself is plainly unconstitutional.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission dealt Kansas, Georgia, and Arizona a blow by denying their requests to modify their respective states' resident registration forms because heightened proof-of-citizenship requirements would likely hinder eligible citizens from voting in federal elections.

In South Carolina, a federal courts is reviewing the legality of the state's voter ID laws because state officials have shown no examples of actual in-person voter impersonation fraud and have conceded that requiring a photo identification to vote would not actually prevent a determined voter impersonator from voting as someone else.

In Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio, courts are striking down voter suppression laws such as those regarding strict voter identification laws, provisional voting restrictions, limits on voter registration drives, and reduced availability for early voting.

Let's hope there are more of these decisions to come.

End Note

We Shall Overcome!


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