Since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, Republican legislatures across the country have nearly fallen over themselves trying to pass new, much more restrictive, voting laws which clearly seek to suppress the vote of those who often don’t vote for Republicans.
Which makes sense. We’ve literally not had one single instance where voter fraud has been a problem anywhere in this country, so it’s logical for these Republican legislatures to try and pass these new laws that will curve this escalating problem—which does not exist.
While Republicans try to fear monger to their base about the possibility that not having an ID before voting opens the doors for rampant voter fraud, they tend to leave out the parts of these laws which often:
- Make it more difficult to get ID’s.
- Limit the kinds of ID’s that are allowed (some states claiming a state-issued student ID isn’t valid).
- Restrict the days and times during which people are allowed to vote.
- Reclassify student residency eligibility. Meaning that for many students, because they live 9 months at school and 3 months back at home, they don’t meet residency requirements to be allowed to vote.
And that’s just a few of the provisions many of these laws carry with them. So it’s not “just about having valid ID” as many of these Republicans are trying to perpetuate. It’s a clear attempt at voter suppression, a backdoor poll tax (because for most states government issued ID’s aren’t free, nor are the documents required to get one) and a way to try and deter voters that often don’t vote for Republicans from being able to vote at all.
But if you don’t believe me that this is what conservatives are doing, just look at the comments made by Republican Colin Powell where he called out blatant attempts by the GOP to suppress voters:
“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote. It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs. These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
I guess he’s “liberally biased” too, right? Or wait, he’s not a “real Republican?” He’s a R.I.N.O (Republican In Name Only)? Isn’t that what conservatives call anyone from their own party who dares call out their radical antics?
Especially when they know that he’s right.
Any group, entity or person that’s trying to make it harder for people to vote clearly has an ulterior motive.
After all, isn’t that what history shows us? Isn’t our past littered with ignorance by some to keep those that they wished wouldn’t vote from voting?
Hell, isn’t that why we had to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Which we clearly need to update (that was the reason why the Supreme Court struck parts down—the data was decades old).
Voting should be something to be proud of. It should be celebrated. Hell, election days should be national holidays. People should have the day off from work. Polling locations should be expanded by not just their hours but in the amount of locations as well. It should be something that both parties make efforts to encourage everyone to vote.
Which would be ideal, except—Republicans see the writing on the wall. Which is what Powell’s comments are directed at.
Republicans have a couple of choices:
- Change their policies to appeal to more moderate voters.
- Change the voting rules to restrict the vote for those who tend to vote more moderately.
Where Powell’s comments encourage Republicans to stop these tactics of alienating people, pandering to their far-right radical base, Republicans would rather just restrict the rights of those who might not vote for them. In other words, they’d rather suppress millions of voters than see their ideas evolve to try to appeal to those more moderate voters.
But Powell knows their strategy of pandering to their base isn’t sustainable long-term. Because history shows us that it isn’t.
While historically these groups which seek to rig elections, and in turn our government, have won small battles during their attempts at oppression, in the long run—they always lose.
And for a great example of that, look no further than the tea party.
In 2008 they charged onto the scene, rode a wave of temporary popularity in 2010 (gaining back power in Congress), yet by 2012 the presidential hopeful this movement produced was—Mitt Romney.
Not a single “tea party Republican” stood a chance at winning the nomination, and you saw quite a few tea party Republicans in moderate districts lose their seats.
And in 2013, while still popular with their radical right-wing base, the tea party has quickly fallen out of favor nationally. The majority of Americans have already grown tired of their ridiculous antics and outlandish statements.
Powell sees this, and decided to call it out. The only problem is—I doubt many Republicans will listen.