What the Supreme Court’s Decision Says About Our Voting Rights and the 2014 Elections

votingrightsactThere’s been mass hysteria in the liberal and civil rights communities over the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act—and rightfully so on some levels.

It does signal an uncertainty toward our right to vote.  Whenever there’s talk of possibly giving some the right to infringe on our voting rights, it can be a very uneasy feeling.  Especially when you consider the nationwide attack Republicans have been waging for the last few years as they’ve pushed for stricter voter ID laws which are clearly targeted at demographics that often don’t vote for them.

But what the Supreme Court essentially said when they made this ruling was that it’s up to Congress to craft a new “Section 4,” so to speak, that’s based on recent data—not information from 50 years ago.

Voting rights in the hands of this Congress?  Now that is terrifying.  Knowing how they have a penchant for getting nothing accomplished, it probably won’t happen.

My main issue with this goes back to the old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  The only challenge I could see by anyone against our Voting Rights Act are those state legislatures who wish to discriminate—yet were prevented from doing so due to this piece of legislation.

Section 4 wasn’t infringing on anyone’s rights, unless you consider their “right to discriminate” as a valid right.

Now, was it based on decades old data that’s currently not accurate?  Yes.  But that doesn’t mean that some of those very same issues still don’t persist today.  Trust me, while racism might not be “as bad” as it once was, it’s still a major issue.  And it’s only been amplified after the election of President Obama in 2008 and the disgusting derogatory racial remarks I’ve seen used against him.

When a man like Rush Limbaugh, someone who House Speaker Boehner briefed with on his debt ceiling plan in 2011 before introducing it to his conference, can call the president a “magic negro” or “Oreo” (both racially derogatory towards African Americans)—yet still be very popular within a party and still remain on the air due to this popularity, that speaks of the racism that still exists.

Trust me, I live in Texas—racism is alive and well in the South, and in reality the entire country.  It’s just hidden slightly better than it used to be.  I’ve gone “undercover” (meaning I didn’t tell anyone I was a Democrat) to a few Tea Party rallies, and believe me, the N-word isn’t frowned upon at the ones I’ve attended.

But what I feel the Supreme Court has done is it’s given Americans power.

What their decision has said to me is that the 2014 elections have never been more important.

If the Supreme Court wants to put it back on Congress to craft a new provision in the Voting Rights Act, which prevents discrimination based on current data, it’s imperative that liberals get out and ensure that in 2014 Democrats take back control in the House and gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

We can no longer continue to allow Republicans to blatantly obstruct any progress we might see in this country, all just so they can pander to their base in hopes of winning their primaries every election cycle.

Liberals must stand and say loudly, strongly and forcibly, “We’ve had enough!  We will no longer allow ignorance to dictate our rights in this country.  We will no longer stand quietly by while conservatives try and eradicate decades of progress.”

Because if Congress is to decide the future of the Voting Rights Act, it’s up to us to ensure that Congress isn’t controlled by a Republican majority.  It most likely won’t be decided during this Congress, so it’s up to us to make sure the 114th Congress actually cares about equal rights across the board.

And I’ll be damned if I let Citizens United, this Supreme Court decision, stricter voter ID laws or any other ruling keep me from doing my part to ensure that in 2014—we take this country back from Republican ignorance.

But the question is, who’s with me?

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Norman Clark

    follow the money…

  • AJ

    I believe the american public should be the ones that vote on the new voting laws.

  • Greg

    I live in NJ and for as long as I can remember we’ve had to have ID to vote. A photo ID is not hard to get nor is it expensive so I really don’t see the big issue. In this state it’s almost a requirement, go to a bar, buy liquor or cigs you always get carded. You can’t board a plane without ID. I Don’t vote Dem or Rep so either way I don’t care. Just seems like people are too lazy to go and get an ID.

  • Crysta

    I say that they need to rule that until a new Section 4 can be written (that both sides can agree on) that these rules should apply to ALL STATES! And best of all, make it apply to ALL cases in the last 5 years or so!!!

    That will light a fire under those assholes, cause discrimination wasn’t reduced, its INCREASED!!!