It’s shocking how many attempts are being made to destroy the credibility of voting in America. I lay most of these attempts at the feet of Republicans. I know Democrats use superdelegates which I hear they might do away with, but Democrats have not been suppressing the vote ever since the Voting Rights Act was toned down, especially after the it turned fifty. (2014) It is the Republicans who “broke” voting; made voting results suspect. They are trying to find a way to hold elections that put Republicans in office all of the time, reliably. They would basically do away with the Democrats. They have done this by using every creative new move that tests the edges of the law, but skirts illegality.
Let Me Count the Ways
As soon as states, mostly Southern states, that had tried to keep Americans of African Descent from voting, were no longer subject to clearance from the federal government they got up to all their old tricks, some in newer forms. They had used their turn at gerrymandering to come up with some very extreme examples of this odd practice (which should probably be obsolete). Some districts have been engineered house by house to leave out anyone who votes as a Democrat. This has given the GOP a fairly large number of districts that will always deliver a Republican to Congress. Perhaps this tactic has racist intent. It certainly has racist roots. It looks so much like suppression of black votes that it is difficult to claim that it simply targets Democrats.
The Democrats have had turns at gerrymandering, however, if they had been this extreme we would probably still have some districts that would predictably elect only Democrats. So much movement has occurred throughout America since the Democrats last opportunity to gerrymander that it is highly likely any all-Democrat districts no longer exist through gerrymandering.
Voter ID’s were used when African Americans first won the vote as many freed slaves did not have a chance to have an official ID. They therefore were prevented from voting by angry Southerners who had lost their “property” and their war and were feeling vengeful, and also entitled. In those post-Civil War days there were things like poll tests and poll taxes that separated the races and that disenfranchised African Americans. In slavery, there were laws against teaching slaves to read and write. It took a while to remedy widespread African American illiteracy. But if not knowing how to read was not an issue, other methods would have been found to suppress the African American vote. Small wonder that the attempt to bring back voter ID’s 50 years after the Civil Rights Bill has rightfully caused pushback.
Hyped Voter Fraud by Undocumented Immigrants
The GOP pushed a message that there was all kinds of voter fraud in America, but when the matter was investigated it turned out there is almost no voter fraud in America. Fox news pushed, and still disseminates, a false narrative that undocumented immigrants vote illegally in large numbers. They riled up their listeners who began to favor the idea of voter ID’s. The people least likely to have access to their birth certificates happen to be Democrats. Donald Trump has also taken up the hue and cry for voter ID’s and insists that there is lots of voter fraud, despite the evidence to the contrary.
The Republicans keep trying to insist that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats conspired with the Russians but if so they didn’t do a very good job of it. As far as I am concerned hearing Donald Trump on the campaign trail ask Russia to find Hillary’s 30,000 missing (personal) emails made it clear that he did not mind the idea of Russian interference in an America election. Is an invitation a form of permission? I think so. Nor do we hear the Republicans in Congress opposing this strategy either. And now we are told that the Russians will, without a doubt, meddle in 2018 and even in 2020 and it sounds as if we are almost helpless to protect ourselves against this. So I contend that Russian meddling in our elections also goes on the account of the Republicans.
Changing Voting days, locations, etc.
This week there is an article in the “fake” mainstream news that tells a tale about the prospective closure of a fairly large number of polling places (I think it was 35) in African American districts in Georgia. Playing around with local elections rules (such as, hours for polling, wiping out expanded days for voting, and trying to find polling places that are hard to get to, because of a lack of public transportation or distance) has been going on throughout the Obama administration fueled by a majority Republican Congress, and here we find it continuing with Trump as our President and another majority Republican Congress doing nothing to stop it. In fact, it is an approach the GOP invented because they want to win above all else. If the Democrats took the majority in Congress would they also wreak havoc on voting hours and locations in order to limit Republican voters? Maybe, but even so it would not have the terrible optics of being directed at American minorities.
Now we have been told that Russians can hack right into state and local election offices and change voter rolls. How far a leap is it to infer that they will be able to change votes or voting totals? Do you think they are intent on changing Republican votes? Somehow I don’t think so.
We have seen a whole lot of skullduggery around elections since Republicans took over Congress in 2010 in that so-called “red wave”. All of this tinkering around should have everyone wondering about whether our elections are as straightforward as they used to seem to be after the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
What will happen in 2018? I am very afraid that it will not be pretty unless the “blue wave” is a really big one. If Democrats don’t win in lot of districts and by fairly large margins it will quite easy for a President who still insists that he had the largest crowds at his inauguration of any President, including Obama, to repeat “8 million times” that the election was rigged, and that there was all kinds of voter fraud and even perhaps declare some of the results to be incorrect. Will there be any violence at the polls, something we have not seen lately, but which was once more common? I don’t see signs that this will happen. I only bring it up because 45 seems to enjoy fomenting rage that takes a physical form.
What will happen if candidates who win narrowly are not allowed to take their seats in Congress? Not totally outside the realm of possibility. As November approaches perhaps we will get more perspective on all these negative possibilities. You don’t have to be a negative person to tune into what could happen and raise a hue and cry if it does. This is important. If the rest of our federal government is beginning to feel like a third rate dictatorship, being unable to trust that any of our votes are actually counted accurately would fit right into the direction in which we seem to be moving as a nation. I am hoping for an election in every district that is peaceful and uncontested (except in the usual ways). I hope we don’t see what people are seeing in other authoritarian nations, which Simon Tisdall summed up in the Guardian as the motto of dictators, “You vote, I win.”
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search, by Tristam in FlaglerLife
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