Why Do Red State Republicans Want to Prevent Voting?

Red state Republicans have devoted a great deal of fabrication and deceit to preventing the vote. They don’t fool anyone. The entire purpose is not, as they claim, to prevent voter fraud—we have practically zero voting fraud—but to prevent potential Democrats from voting.

How? Let’s count the ways. Let’s begin with good old gerrymandering, the construction of an unnatural voting district to concentrate Republican voters while thinning the ranks of Democrats in other districts. Follow that by a slew of laws making it more difficult to register, much akin to the infamous Poll Tax of bygone days in the racist South.

Republican voting deceit
doesn’t fool anyone.
It is to prevent
Democrats from voting.

In general, the idea is to require increased travel, preferably at some expense, to register during restricted hours in some poorly marked office. Continue with odious requirements like a new photo ID, which takes some doing to get, and transportation costs to get there, during restricted hours, so that some people who had to take the day off from work will find the office closed. Restrict hours for voting, with fewer polling places in Democratic districts. Shorten the period for registration.

Compound that with picky rules about the voting place, so that someone who places the ballot in the wrong pile is disenfranchised. Make up odd rules for voters so they do not appear on the polling list where they have voted before. Make the provisional ballot they will be forced to fill out more likely to be disqualified. Remove many of the voting machines in Democratic districts to encourage long lines, and close some of the polls early. Arrange for some places to run out of ballots.

Want more? OK. Hack some of the voting machines so votes for a Democrat turn into votes for a Republican. Build an apparatus that calls into question the voting eligibility of anyone with the same first and last names as someone in another state—even if they have different Social Security numbers and a different middle name, even if they have lived and voted where they currently live for decades. Assign a top manipulator as election boss, who, although he has no such authority, will send all other voting officials home on election night, while he alone is left with the uncounted ballots.

Sounds like fiction, eh?, or some president-for-life African dictatorship. Unfortunately, it’s not.

Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer has sued Ohio, which enacted several such laws designed to make voting difficult for probable Democrats. There were a number of mysterious happenings on election night when W. was re-elected that gave him the state. Ohio is only one such state.

But why do Republicans feel they need to pull all these dirty tricks? Surely, they must have something to offer the country, some plan that deserves choosing on its own merits. Give voters more money, more leisure, or something like enhanced health care benefits.

Why do Republicans
feel they need
to pull all these
dirty tricks?

But they don’t. The inevitable result of Republican control is more inequality and concentration of wealth, ill-advised wars that cost trillions, the loss of budget surpluses, increased government spending, greater national debt… After six years of the Obama presidency, the only health care proposal they have to oppose the ACA is a guaranteed disaster that would increase costs sharply.

It begins to appear that Republicans believe that the only way they can win and keep power is to cheat. Given the many transparently obvious attempts to steal the vote by preventing Democrats from voting, any other conclusion is difficult indeed.

Observing this obvious anti-democratic and anti-Democratic campaign over so many years, it is interesting to speculate what might happen if truly democratic laws were instead enacted. If, for example, every citizen were automatically registered to vote on her 18th birthday, and every newly naturalized citizen were automatically registered. If voting districts could not be designed by partisan politicians. If there were national norms for voter registration and voting day.

It begins to appear that
Republicans believe
the only way
they can win
and keep power
is to cheat.

Here’s my speculation: The numbers of Democratic voters would swamp the number of Republicans, because in fact, Republicans have very little to offer to anyone but the rich, who already buy all the elected officials and laws that they want. Democrats would soon control the entire Congress, and probably the presidency as well. In very short order, all the benefits of democratic life that Republicans have prevented over the years would come about.

I’m not convinced that this outcome would be an entirely good thing, particularly if it were to create a long-term party dynasty. The danger of corruption is too great.

But wouldn’t it be nice if Republicans would concentrate their energies on ways to improve the republic, rather than sleazy ways to circumvent democracy?

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I wrote a post 2 or 3 years ago on what I called the lunacy of the US voting system as compared to the Australian it might be of interest in the context of this post of yours John, heres a link in case you’re interested. I have no doubt that many in the US would hav their backs up at our system but let me assure them that it works very well indeed.

    http://lordbeariofbow.com/2012/11/12/the-lunacy-of-the-usa-electoral-system/

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  2. There’s no escape.

    Like

    • Somehow U doubt that Americans would take it if it existed, there are times I think that the yanks like their system it gives them something to complain about and they’re too lethargic to do anything about it, but thats just the view of an outsider

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  3. I not U, not dancing in the dark, typing in the dark 😀

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