About the only thing that has come out of Donald Trump’s mouth recently, which has any connection with the truth, is that our election system is rigged. But he’s right for all the wrong reasons.
No, we do not have millions of dead people and illegal immigrants voting. There is no massive voter fraud. There is massive voter suppression.
Republicans realized long ago that the electoral landscape was shifting below their feet. Our country was becoming less white and more diverse, with large increases in the Hispanic and Afro-American populations. Researchers at the Brookings Institute have shown this trend favors Democrats, not Republicans.
Whites have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1968. African-Americans have voted Democratic in every White House contest since 1936, and Hispanics have been strongly Democratic, too.
With the help of a conservative Supreme Court, the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was effectively struck down in 2013 (Shelby County v. Holder) by the Court’s 5-4 decision, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
It didn’t take states previously covered by the Act to take advantage of their good fortune. It wasn’t months or even weeks. How about the next day?
North Carolina Republicans, the day after the Court’s decision, passed one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation that restricted access to voting, eliminated same-day voter registration, reduced early voting, instituted a strict photo ID requirement, and ended a program that preregistered 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. That law had been previously struck down in a scathing 83-page opinion that exposed the extent of the law’s racial bias. Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, writing for the majority on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, noted that the law’s provisions “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision,” by using race data in the decision-making process.
The defense for all these new laws? We needed to eliminate voter fraud … even though it has been proven to be statistically non-existent. The integrity of our voting system needed to be upheld, we were told!
Despite Chief Justice Roberts’ misguided Shelby opinion that “Our country has changed,” and racial discrimination in voting was a thing of the past, the Court did say Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk.
Fat chance! Not by a congress controlled by the GOP for whom the Court’s decision was every Republican’s wet dream.
Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote. The only way to bring back a level voting playing field is for Congress to act on restoring/revising the Voting Rights Act or for a new Supreme Court to overturn its decision.
Republicans know they have no chance of surviving in the “new” America without well-crafted voter suppression laws firmly in place.
This is where we, Americans who care about, and believe in, equality and fairness come in.
Your mission this election, Vote Blue … no matter who!
Photo | cbc.ca
Here’s a chilling reminder of the things Black people endured in order for us to have the right to vote: http://trib.al/cEDocYS