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Voter Suppression Bad Move for GOP

Updated on August 18, 2013
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Since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed nearly 50 years ago, our political parties have been slowly sorting themselves out. As of 2013, this process is nearly complete. No longer are there Rockefeller Republicans who partner up with southern Dixiecrats for compromise - as southern states are dominated by the conservative Republican party, and coastal states dominated by the Democratic party.

LBJ famously predicted of Democrats, that "We have lost the South for a generation." Indeed, and to the great joy of conservatives, who were more than happy to court and consistently rely upon the white vote to carry them to victory in the popular vote in five of six proceeding presidential elections. This lasted throughout Nixon's southern strategy, and Reagan's strapping young bucks and welfare queens candidacy. Today we see Newt's food-stamp president and Trump birtherism - the conservative party seemingly has no shame in cultivating and profiting from the most heinous of our tendencies for political gain.

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However, the white share of the vote is being diminished with every passing election. In 1976, whites accounted for 89% of the vote, and 82% in 1996 - compared to just 72% in 2012. Also, 2012 was the first time that blacks voted at a higher rate than whites.

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"I think the surprise was some of the turnout, especially in urban areas", in the words of would-be VP Paul Ryan.

"Every month 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 years old, what is the Republican Party going to do about that?", wondered former GOP Chairman Michael Steele.

"We're not generating enough angry white guys..." in the words of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

So the problem has been identified. After nearly 50 years of catering to whites, the Republican party predictably is having troubles in attracting the votes of minorities, and this is becoming a bigger problem with the white vote being in decline.

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The question begs itself - how should this be addressed? For party leaders such as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, (Michael Steele?) & Paul Ryan there seems to be (at least a rhetorical) realization that expanding the tent and making a conservative case to these potential voters is the key to winning on the national level. Winning back the White House would seem to demand as such.

Unfortunately, too many conservatives are choosing instead to double-down on the white vote, while attempting to suppress the votes of students, the poor, and minorities.

Following the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act, red states have turned to disenfrachisement in order to suppress the votes of minorities and the poor.

Governor McCrory
Governor McCrory | Source

In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory recently signed voter-suppression into law. As result, early registration is cut, same-day registration is eliminated, high school registration of 16 & 17 year-olds is eliminated, Sunday voting is eliminated, voting outside your precinct will only count lower level votes on provisional ballots, a tax on the parents of students who vote outside the parents' district is imposed, if you are in line when the poll closes you will now be turned away, vigilante vote-challengers will be stationed at NC polls, and state-issued ID (not including state university-issued ID) is newly required. The votes of all college students are being challenged.

How has this managed to have happened in the purple state that is North Carolina? I'm glad you asked. Art Pope. Art Pope (he of the $21.5 billion dollar fortune) decided that he would buy the North Carolina legislature. He succeeded, and was swiftly appointed Budget Director by Governor McCrory.

Voila!

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All of this is done in the name of protecting the sanctity of the vote. A noble goal indeed. Problem being, the rate of people being shot in gun-safety classes is far higher than the rate of voter-fraud. You have a better chance of death by falling television, or death by shark attack, than of encountering voter-fraud. This entire exercise is a practice in searching for a solution where there is in fact no problem.

While many agree that an ID may not too much to ask for, 319,000 registered North Carolinian voters do not possess one (30% of which just happen to be black).

If the problem republicans see is people who want to vote and do not possess IDs, then why is no one in the Republican party pushing legislation to ensure that everyone has a state-issued ID in case they want to vote? And how is early and Sunday voting somehow a problem to be solved? Because 70% of early voters in 2012 just happened to be black, perhaps?

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They simply do not want everyone to vote. When turnout is high, democrats win.

Congressional districts were drawn following the red-tide that was the 2010 elections. As result, only 16 of 233 districts held by republicans were also won by Obama in 2012. Thus, only 16 GOP house members would have any sort of inkling to compromise with the enemy. The only threat amongst the remaining 217 of them, is that of a primary challenge from intraparty extremist fringe candidates.

The conservative echo-chamber only serves to exacerbate the problem. It's a disgusting cycle which lassos and pulls our people into ideological corners by punishing those who dare to do their jobs and compromise in order to get things done for the good of the American people.

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The good news? While Justice Roberts claims that racism is over in America, and many conservatives point to the election (and reelection) of Obama as meaning that racism is over in America - voter-suppression tactics have proven to many Americans that racism is alive and well in America today (even if the motivations are purely political). Luckily, folks don't take lightly the fact that one of our two political parties do not want them to vote. As 2012 seemed to prove, when you challenge the right of American citizens to vote - they will turn out and rebuke you.

Unfortunately, this resolve will continue to be tested, so long as the Republican party chooses to double down on the white vote, and suppress the votes of minorities with James Crow Esquire III disenfranchisement tactics.

And so long as these tactics are wrought upon the people, so will they turn out to rebuke those who would try and make it harder for them to exercise their most basic of rights.

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      Howard Schneider 

      4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Voter suppression is the only tool this new Far Right GOP has to win national elections. The old GOP would compromise to get things done for the good of the country. This GOP only believes in their hateful ideology. Demographics and the issues are rapidly running away from them. Great Hub, Justin.

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