Editor’s note: in light of the fact that the United States appears on the brink of not one, but two escalating conflicts and the fact that this is probably the first time in roughly three weeks I haven’t felt obliged to debunk some objectively crazy neoliberal conspiracy theory about Russia – I thought I’d use this (likely brief) calm before the storm to address an important issue I’ve wanted to write about for almost a month now in this morning’s Brief Thought blog post.
In the aftermath of GOP election rhetoric as well as Donald Trump’s ludicrous (and wholly unsupportable) claims that as many as five million people voted against him illegally, greater public scrutiny has shattered Republican arguments for new legislation designed to fight virtually non-existent voter fraud. Unfortunately, the absence of evidence has never stopped the Racist Hypocrisy Party in the past and now GOP legislators have begun to argue that the public *fear* of voter fraud they themselves have generated is enough reason to justify tighter legal controls on voting rights:
Note: Please be reminded that if you’re having trouble reading this info graphic, you can right click on the picture and select “view this image” to pop out a larger version. Additionally, don’t forget to check out my comments after the sources section of this article.
One of the most frustrating aspects of discussing GOP voter suppression strategies with right-leaning partisans or affluent skeptical centrists is their almost laser-like focus on voter ID laws that actually represent only one small obstacle in the vast, interlocking web of hurdles Republicans have created to keep people who would likely vote against them from participating in elections. It’s a “death by a thousand paper cuts” strategy that combines high fees to obtain identification, a lack of government offices as well as polling stations in economically depressed or minority areas, abusive voter registration programs (like Crosscheck) designed to enable massive voter purges and politically-motivated gerrymandering.
Additionally, numerous seemingly unrelated GOP (and “Third Way” Democrat) legislation that disproportionately target minorities and the poor serve to further support this overall voter suppression strategy; the most obvious examples being mass felony disenfranchisement as the result of “tough on crime” policies or slashing assistance programs that allow people to overcome poverty-induced barriers to political participation. Although no one of these measures is likely to swing a given election to the Republican candidate, taken as an aggregate they help ensure that the overall electorate is both wealthier and whiter – which unsurprisingly, favors the Racist Hypocrisy Party consistently.
Outside of hardcore GOP circles, distrust in American democracy is at an all time high because of an absolutely correct sense that the political process in the United States is rigged against the proletariat and in favor of corporate interests controlled by wealthy elites. For the Republican party to spend a decade and a half scaremongering about ballot stuffing and postmortem or non-citizen voting, only to then turn around and use the fear their rhetoric has created to justify further locking out the common voter isn’t just hypocrisy – it’s the kind of shameless oppression that drives up the price of pitchforks and torches eventually.
- Nina Illingworth
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