After the 2010 elections, with many governorships back in their hands, the GOP (a subsidiary of Koch Industries) got right to work on solving the economic and unemployment emergencies that they campaigned on so single-mindedly.

They did this by passing laws  to undermine the finances and power of unions, slashing assistance for the poor and handicapped and instituting Voter ID provisions that would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans from exercising their right to vote.

It shouldn’t be a mystery any longer. For the GOP, democracy is an obstacle and the game that elections are to them is finding the best way around democracy.

For Republicans, it’s never about competing on a level playing field because, frankly, they know they can’t win that way and that’s all that matters to them. The numbers are indisputable, the amount of young people and minorities out there, many of whom don’t vote, would create a permanent Democratic majority if they did vote. So, without enough eligible voters in America who would vote Republican on a national basis to elect a Republican president, the only way to win a democratic election is to cut the legs out from under democracy.That is, prevent millions of people from voting. This is accomplished through voter intimidation, reducing polling places and times and now, voter ID laws.

Just to be clear, despite all the Republican howling about voter fraud, this is a wholly manufactured issue. There are NO facts or statistics to support claims that this is a problem anywhere in the nation. It is a big lie, like WMDs, used to justify the immorality of their actions.

Voter suppression is an ongoing and necessary tool for Republicans in any election but now it is becoming more and more institutionalized. To begin in Wisconsin:

SB 6 is set to become the most restrictive voter ID bill in the country for its special crackdowns on students. Under the bill, in 2012 voters will need to produce a drivers license, a state ID, a passport or naturalization papers, a military ID or Native American tribal ID in order to vote. A student ID would not be an acceptable form of identification.

But Wisconsin is not alone. There’s a long lineup of other states that are moving voter ID bills through their legislatures. On Thursday, Kansas’ Senate Ethics and Elections Committee passed a weakened version of Attorney General Kris Kobach’s SB 2067, Kansas’ voter ID bill.

On Wednesday, North Carolina lawmakers convened a hearing to consider voter fraud and a voter ID bill that might address it. The Missouri Senate approved a bill that would update the state constitution to require photo ID at the polls. Last week a Texas House committee approved a voter ID bill that’s expected to pass easily. (In a telling twist, people over 70 and anyone who who can show a concealed handgun license would be allowed to vote without showing photo ID.)

A new report from ThinkProgress found that 22 states in total are considering bills to restrict people’s voting rights. All of these bills would have a disproportionate impact on poor people, the elderly, the young, and people of color. A Brennan Center report found that a quarter of black voters and 16 percent of low-income voters don’t have photo ID.

Not only are poor people and people of color less likely to have the forms of government ID required to vote, but they’re also more likely to be harassed for identification at the polls. The felicitous coincidence, for Republicans at least, is that many of these groups of people are also the ones more likely to vote Democratic.

http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/05/wisconsin_voter_ids.html

Why are they banning student IDs, which their government’s schools accept as proof of ID, from being proof of ID for voting? With absolutely no proof that student IDs have been used to fraudulently vote, why ban them? Because the majority of the youth vote is Progressive. Who would have a student ID but not a driver’s license? Someone who can’t afford a car…and how do such people vote in elections? Since when is it a requirement to be licensed to drive a car if one doesn’t have a car or doesn’t have any need for one. Hey…wasn’t it Republicans who keep saying something about how horrible it is to have an individual mandate forced on citizens by government? Except when it helps suppress the right to vote of course, that’s the American Way.

Yes, this is your America in action, applauding the growth of democracy elsewhere in the world while smothering it with a pillow at home. Oppressing the poor and meanwhile taking away their right to vote and do something to stop it. Meanwhile, the influence and power that the minority of wealthy white people at the top have in America is only skyrocketing.

This is the big picture of what’s happening in our nation which is intentionally overlooked by the MSM. Just as the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church was well known for decades by the public and the MSM (I remember stand up comics and comedy shows making jokes about it since I was a teen), the various charades of “stopping voter fraud” and “protecting the integrity of our democracy” are presented with a vague indifference by the MSM. The truth of what’s going on is blatant and yet the status quo stubbornly looks away in denial, as if it’s better to SEEM fair by accepting the validity of GOP lies about protecting democracy by disenfranchising Americans from voting than it would be to pull back the curtain on a plutocratic America.

Those who have wealth, power and influence, even if they aren’t militant about oppressing the other 99% of the nation, certainly know that the way things are is good. Rocking the boat, allowing the public to begin rejecting and revolting against the status quo could endanger the way things are and they could lose some of what they have. So, they don’t want such change…or any change that doesn’t enrich them. As we’ve seen, they will anxiously support “uprisings” that further enhance and protect their position, as the media-created Teabagger “movement” has but they will ignore and undermine true uprisings by the people against the staus quo.

Consider the enormous coverage the Teabaggers got when they gathered on tax day in 2009 and protested at town halls over HCR. With Fox leading the way but all other “news” networks stampeding after them, the manufactured Teabagger movement was raised up and made “formidable”. However, in light of big protests in WI, OH, MI and other states (even nationally) against the attacks on public employees, unions, killing Medicare, etc. and town halls this spring consistently filled with real people confronting their GOP reps on trying to kill Medicare…there has been no description of this as a “movement”.

The MSM blew up the Teabaggers into ridiculous proportions but presents the far more populist and populated movement of people rising up against corporate, anti-worker and anti-safety-net agendas as piecemeal. It’s just people in WI doing this and people in OH doing that and people in MI doing something else.

What’s the difference between the Baggers and all of these folks? Why is one a movement and the other just a series of independent incidents? To begin, the Baggers were a fully funded construct presented as a movement by their corporate founders, Freedomworks/Koch Industries. There is no such “ownership” of true populist movements that can provide such focused press releases and national agendas. Secondly, the Baggers served and protected corporate interests. The real populist movement going on right now threatens them and the best way to deal with that and tamp down momentum is to obscure that it’s a movement.

So here we are, our nation’s wealth has been and continues to be sucked up by the already wealthy while our incomes, homes, retirement and safety nets are all under assault. And to address that the public is growing more and more upset about the oppression and inequity of what’s going on, the GOP response is to take away the public’s ability to do anything about it.

If this trend of taking away voting from the viable reach of millions of Americans is permitted to continue, it can only creep on to exclude more and more people and make democracy into the permanent sham the GOP seeks to make of it.

It’s being said a lot lately but this is indeed such a critical time in the course of our history. Corporations have tightened their grip on the nation’s economic and political system. Their minions, the GOP are hard at work prying our fingers off of our democracy and our safety nets.  Reversing their gains seems difficult so it becomes incumbent upon us to fight their attempts before they become cemented in.

This truly is a battle for our nation and democracy, a civil war of a kind where wealthy Americans are in a siege against all other Americans on all fronts to vanquish them and take their wealth and power.  No wonder their instant Orwellian response to any attempts to fend off their siege is attacked as, “Class Warfare!”. It is the Rovian way to accuse your opponent of that which  you are most guilty. Call the NAACP racist. Call Obama unAmerican and fascist.

We are in a late stage of the Class Warfare battle that the wealthy and corporations have thrust upon us so we don’t have as much room for error or apathy. At this point, the gains they could make grow exponentially in how rooted, profound and destructive they will be. Unless we want to watch the corporate coup from our recliners, the time for being spectators is over. We can come together to fight what’s going on, create a true and national movement by banding together with those fighting the good fight in other states and cities.

We don’t have a corporate sponsor for this as the Teabaggers did, we only have our shared conscience and principles as Americans. We can do this if we choose to.

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morrna
Member

I like your perspective, and it was an enjoyable read overall. One small request: for the benefit of those of us who read here only occasionally and are unfamiliar with the local jargon, could you please write out acronyms in full at their first usage? It took me a few minutes to figure out what “the MSM” stood for. (I’m pretty sure it’s “the mainstream media”.)

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kesmarn
Admin

Welcome, morrna! Hope to hear more from you!

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bito
Member

Welcome Morrna, a warm welcome. And yes, you are right on both points, acronyms can drive me crazy when they are not first explained and “MSM” does stand for “Main-Stream-Media.” We often forget we have over 60,000+ readers from 93+ countries and not think about our shorthand.
Welcome aboard, enjoy and contribute. New voices are often nice to hear.

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Chernynkaya
Member

AdLib–great cri de guerre! Sign me up; this is indeed all out war. And I have no doubt there will be legal challenges, but with this corporate court, I am extremely concerned. Hair-on-fire concerned. In February of this year:
“Court hears challenge to Voting Rights Act”

Conservative legal activists are set to renew their campaign to overturn the nation’s landmark Voting Rights Act, arguing before a federal district judge in Washington on Wednesday that states and local jurisdictions should no longer be forced to justify voting changes to the Justice Department or a federal court.

The lawsuit, brought by officials in Shelby County, Ala., revives a constitutional challenge aimed at the heart of the 1965 law, a challenge that many analysts called the most important issue of the year when it reached the Supreme Court in 2009.

The high court ultimately sidestepped the question, but not before Chief Justice John G. Roberts, writing for the panel’s ascendant conservative majority, signaled a willingness to entertain future challenges, writing, “Things have changed in the South.”

This sort of thing–the SCOTUS–is one of the main reasons I have come to see those who say there is no difference between the Parties as my enemies–just as bad as any Bagger. The Supreme Court appointments alone should make anyone with half a brain realize the differences in the Parties as well as the consequences of not voting.

Every day for the past 2 years I read about a new and escalating outrage from the Right. Whenever I think it has reached it’s apogee, it gets worse. I feel exactly as if I am in another universe; as if I have gone through the looking glass and the rules of the world have changed to something I no longer recognize as the America I was raised in. None of the values I grew up with and was taught in school are evident. It’s truly like a nightmare, where now people are free to defecate in public without embarrassment, or to engage in behavior that was not too long ago considered taboo. It makes me think that society and civilization were an illusion all along–or as if it was such a thin veneer as to be too fragile to count on as real. Oddly, this only energizes rather than demoralizes me. I cannot allow this Amerika to continue. It’s an epic and timeless battle, but I do believe our side is actually winning. The problem is, it takes too long– the damage they are doing will take a long time to undo. Legal challenges to the loss of our voting rights take years–in the meantime, elections are lost. What I think we must do NOW is recruit every patriotic citizen to help all voters without photo IDs to get them–drive them to the DMV, set up funds to pay for that and do it fast! Who can I write to to start this–got Soros’ phone number?

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kesmarn
Admin

Thanks so much, AdLib, for getting the disenfranchisement agenda of the GOP out from under that rock where they dwell and hatch their schemes.

This is all so wrong and yet, there are times I have to wonder whether they realize how much — and in how many ways — this could work against them, too. Do they really want the whole Young Campus Republican club to be barred from voting? Granted — not a huge block — but still, they’re out there on nearly every campus. Those homeless people they exploited to hold signs at their TeaBag rallies? Don’t want them to vote? How about the TeaBag geezers who no longer drive? Wanna lose them? The very religious Hispanic vote? Gonna kiss that one good-bye?

Are there really enough rich white male voters to tip the scales even if they cheat? Possibly. But they’re shaving off a number of their own fringe members with this chicanery too.

Of course, I’m not saying we should be complacent. Not saying we shouldn’t fight them every inch of the way. But, as with the Ryan budget, they seem to be demonstrating a new-found and remarkable ability to shoot themselves in the foot, too.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

As usually you strike at the core of the matter with a great argument and in a very eloquent way.

I really think elections over the next 15-20 years will be the last stand for the GOP and their brand of divisive politics because their anti-democracy movement built on racial identity and fear will be over taken by shear demographics.

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choicelady
Member

You NAILED it, AdLib! Strip the working families of America of their assets and income, then make it less probable that they will vote. Put up barriers that hinder the poor, and they will not vote. Put up costs that those struggling just to make rent cannot assume, and they will not vote.

I’m going to be rude here, but this is a true story. My mother was in the NAACP in a mostly white town in an almost entirely Republican area in a Chicago suburb. She was a Dem, and an activist for which she paid with her job as a teacher being labeled a “known Leftist”. During the 60s she met a wonderful Black woman in the NAACP whose brother remained in the South. The woman told her, and my mother told me, that when the woman’s brother had gone to vote, he was given some arcane document to read, full of legalese and was thus incomprehensible. The white men at the poll snarled and said, “Boy – tell us what it says and what it means.” The man calmly replied, “I don’t know what it says, but what it means is this Nigger ain’t voting today.”

That’s where we are today. Have no ID? You ain’t voting today.

I hope these people who make these rules are proud of themselves. I hope they think they won something. Because just as in the 60s we are NOT sitting still for the crap they are dishing out. It is a victory, sure, but it’s a TEMPORARY victory.

We will NOT take this and just walk away. We SHALL overcome today, tomorrow, and always.

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Kalima
Admin

So in actual fact, this is blatant GOP fraud against supposed and non-existent “voter fraud”. Surely it should be addressed as a nationwide issue and not be left up to the crooks in each state to fiddle with?

Sickening because it’s hiding in plain sight. You need a few strong leaders in the Senate and the House to expose it, but who would be willing to run with it all the way?

Great article. I learned things that I wouldn’t have picked up on if I were just someone who followed the msm. Thanks.

Dirty business, but so typically desperate Repubs style. They really know that they don’t stand a chance in hell of winning much in a fair fight. Repubs, the Party of Lies. Dems, the party of grass roots.

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ADONAI
Member

Things will have to get worse. It’s human nature. Live in the moment. And things will get worse. Then we’ll see what America has left. And there’s always the chance that it’s too late. It’s always worse than they tell you it is.

But we’ll be alright. I still have faith in this place. It’s been through worse.

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foodchain
Member
foodchain

Adlib, this is such a timely “wrap” on our GOP. I keep thinking that a major onslaught to broadcast TV (CBS, NBC, ABC and other non pay news) and their sponsors HAS to happen. Real news will stop the lies. Cable enjoys the “he said/she said” format rather than lie exposing. I heard 100 letters to a sponsor is enough to make them consider a position. Damaging the credibility of the GOP information machine would be a strong step.

I think the internet then becomes the go-to organizer: we can become Egypt! People need information: voter suppression would be a great starting point: younger voters hate being told they CAN’T do something more than they SHOULD do something. The President needs to talk about the resistance and what failed and why. (This nonsense of “I hate Obama because Gitmo is still open” needs to be disabused.) He needs to talk about specifics, who did what–not names–but actions. Filibusters, tacking on bad bills to important legislation, hostage taking of our legislative system.

I think then, people will come back. State by state, which is harder to expose, is moving quickly away from the GOP. MI and WI and others are having major voter’s remorse.

We are in the information age which has yielded huge misinformation. All fired up and ready to go!!

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whatsthatsound
Member

Excellent and inspiring article, Adlib! It is clear that the agenda is to so bastardize “democracy” that it no longer exists in any true meaning of the word.
And yet, voter apathy is still a larger problem, I feel. And much of that can be attributed to how tainted the Democratic Party is as well by the money and influence of the rich and entrenched.

If people were more firmly convinced that their vote had the power to reflect back to them as real change, NOT just a vote to keep things from getting worse, they’d haul their asses off the couch in September.

In a way, your article merely describes the logical outcome of what happens when a falsely representative and comfortable 2 party system games it so that other parties, which would have greater appeal to those who see no reason to vote, are kept from being viable alternatives. Eventually it becomes the 1 and a half party system, and then….

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