The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case ~ Thomas Paine (2/9/1737 to 6/8/1809) an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain; as quoted in "Dissertation on First Principles of Government" (pub. 1795).
An anonymous commenter (not a sock puppet of mine) said I should "check out this exchange in RN's comment section". "RN" is shorthand for an individual who refers to himself as rAtional nAtion. He thinks he's rational because he subscribes to the Ayn Rand nonsense that individuals acting in their rational self interest aren't greedy as#holes... which is how everyone else on the planet would describe people who follow Ayn Rand's sick Objectivist ideology.
So I checked it out and found a discussion that concerned the (wrong/racist) SCOTUS decision (Fisher v. University of Texas 2013) that we need "tougher scrutiny of Affirmative Action Plans". A commenter who calls himself dmarks (actual name: Dennis Marks), cheered, proclaiming that this ruling was a "victory for those who want progress toward equal treatment, diminished racial bias, and level playing field".
Then the discussion turned to the (wrong/racist) SCOTUS decision (Shelby County v. Holder 2013) to allow states to disenfranchise minorities if they please (minorities that vote Democratic in large numbers). Again Dennis cheered. He SAYS he cheered because restricting the
right ability of the people to vote will weed out "fraudulent voters [including] illegal aliens, felons... [and] those who vote in multiple districts. [As well as] those who choose to vote Acorn-style with [a] fake name".
To this I say bullpucky. People who pay attention to the subject of voter fraud know it is extremely rare, and that the much more serious problem is election fraud. For those of you who don't know what the distinction is: Voter Fraud is when individual voters cheat (as per Dennis' examples). This, as we know, if very very rare. Election Fraud is when the officials in charge of running the elections cheat. Examples of this type of election theft include things like hacking vote machines (or servers tabulating votes) to change the totals, as well as the institution of restrictive voting regulations that "discourage" people who are legally entitled to vote from doing so.
This "discouragement" includes tactics like voter caging, challenging voters at the polls (thereby causing them to have to use a provisional ballot, which is a type of ballot that frequently isn't counted), and by deliberately causing long lines in the hope that people will give up or have to leave (because their presence is required by their employer, for example).
So that they can engage in this kind of discouragement of voting by minorities and other groups (like educated people) that tend to vote Democratic is why the Repubs want restrictive voter laws, NOT to deal with "fraudulent voters". We ALL KNOW this, so Dennis is simply lying. This is why the SCOTUS struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 4 is "the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court". Section 4 covered the states that have a history of disenfranchising minorities (Shelby County v. Holder 2013).
And, as the shenanigans leading up to the last election PROVE, these states are still at it. We have not entered a post racial society, despite the election of the first African-American president. Fact is, the election of Barack Obama has enraged the racists in the Republican Party. Also, and this is crucial in understanding why the Repub Party is now the party of the racists, the Repubs are EMBRACING them. The racists may be a minority, but the Repub Party at large has decided to use them to further their goals.
This tactic came sharply into focus with the ascendance of the Tea Party. The racists who were dumbfounded when the White candidate lost to the Black candidate in 2008 came out in force and joined the Tea Party protests. Although they waived their racist signs (and guns) and spewed their racist rhetoric, others in the Tea Party strongly denied they existed. I visited a Right-wing blog recently, and was informed (by a Conservative with the ID of "kid") that "Tea party people are the most non-racist, non-violent people on the planet".
Kid said it was Southern Democrats who opposed Civil Rights and voted against it in 1964. And, even though Lyndon Johnson (the Democratic president at the time) signed the legislation, it is the Republican Party that we should actually be thanking for the passage of Civil Rights legislation. OK, so Kid has a valid point. Southern Democrats did oppose Civil Rights. Wikipedia notes that 199 Democrats voted for Civil Rights, but 112 voted against it (and that most of the NO votes were from Southern Democrats)... Among Congressional Republicans, 163 voted YES, while only 41 voted NO.
Then Kid tells me that Lyndon Johnson "had" to sign the bill. I suppose that case could be made, as the numbers existed that, if Johnson vetoed the legislation, Congress could have overridden his veto. LBJ may have been a bigot, as bloggers like Willis Hart like to point out, but he did sign the bill and does receive credit. But this is only one of the reasons why Black Voters cast their ballots in favor of Democrats in overwhelming majorities. The primary reason they do is because, after the Democrats abandoned the racists and began advocating an end to bigotry and racism, the Southern Democrats left the Democratic fold for good (previously they had made their displeasure with the less-bigoted Northern Democrats known when they tried to break away and form their own party, the Dixiecrats).
But after the passage of Civil Rights, the Southern Democrats had had enough. This time, however, instead of forming their own party, they accepted an invitation from Richard Nixon to join the Republican Party. Nixon, seeing that the Democrats didn't want them anymore, decided he would get the racists voting Republican. This goal was achieved using a tactic Nixon and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater dubbed the "Southern Strategy". Nixon's Southern Strategy was wildly successful... the vast majority of the racists who formerly voted Democratic switched over to the Republican Party, where they remain TO THIS DAY.
Which brings us to the recent SCOTUS decision to get rid of section 4, and the aforementioned discussion on the rAtional nAtion blog I previously mentioned. The Republicans, who are STILL employing Nixon's Southern Strategy, are seeing the beginning of the end of the effectiveness of it. It isn't working anymore because the racists are old and dying off. That is why they have to cheat so much to win. But the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama has proven that even the voter suppression techniques they employ aren't enough any more.
This is why the Conservative justices on the Supreme Court decided to "stick a dagger into the heart" of the Voting Rights Act and jettison section 4. Yes, they said Congress could restore section 4 if they came up with a new formula to apply to states seeking to be exempted from it, but surely Roberts knew our Congress is so dysfunctional (thanks to House Repubs) that the likelihood of that happening is slim.
The purpose is CLEAR... to pave the way for more restrictive voter restrictions. The undeniable goal here is to disenfranchise enough minority (and other Democratic-leaning groups) and swing elections in favor of the Republicans. But Republicans strongly deny that this is the case, as evidenced by this exchange on the ironically titled rAtional nAtion blog...
|Anonymous: At a time when restrictive voter laws are being passed in State Houses and challenged in the courts, for the Supreme Court to say Sec. 4 [of the Voting Rights Act] is outdated, is another example of conservatives denying reality.|
dmarks: I spent some time looking for it on my own after reading [the anonymous] comment... and found nothing other than the fact that the supposedly suppressed ethnic group actually voted in much larger numbers the last time.
Dervish Sanders: They voted in larger numbers for two reasons:  The superiority of Barack Obama's get out the vote effort over Mittens, and  In the states that tried voter suppression tactics such as reducing available vote machines and voting hours... which lead to LONG lines and hours and hours of waiting... the people got MAD and decided to not give up and go home like the Repubs wanted (although some had to or they would lose their jobs).
rAtional nAtion: Perhaps you could provide a link to a reputable and unbiased source that supports your assertion Anon. I know I would like such data and suspect dmarks would as well.
Dervish Sanders: You wouldn't. Articles describing the disenfranchising tactics and laws employed by the Repubs in the last election are numerous and easy to find. One could only not find them if they specifically did not look for them... or if one considered ANY reporter or commenter these facts to be "far left", which is something Dennis FREQUENTLY does. So why bother? Dennis finds the information he wants to find. Any information that does not conform to what he THINKS the truth is - it is "far left" (and then he INSISTS that he's talking about the "far left" as measured from the Middle, and that he is the only one qualified to do the measuring). He should just be honest with himself and admit that he's very happy about this victory for White Power (i.e. Republican power).
[Note: RN has comment moderation enabled and none of what I wrote above was approved for publication on his blog].
You see what they are doing, right? It's complete and total denial (willful or knowing; you be the judge). The restrictive voting laws are to protect against (virtually non-existent) voter fraud and NOT due to their desire to suppress the vote (yeah, right). Because the electorate is becoming less racist, less homophobic, and less White, the only way Republicans can win elections going forward is to seriously ramp up the suppressionary tactics. Question is, is this indicative of the last gasps of a dying party, or will the White Power Republican Party succeed in moving us toward the oligarchic form of government they desire; one where only the right kind of people are allowed to vote?
As pointed out in the SCOTUS majority Opinion in the bush V. Gore case (this would be the case in which the SCOTUS stole the election for GWb), the Constitution contains no guarantee of a Right to vote for US citizens...
|The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College. (In Search of the Right to Vote By Victoria Bassetti, Harper's Magazine October 2012).|
So, apparently a state could dispense with presidential elections entirely and directly appoint the electors of it's choosing. They could, but they won't, because they know the people would rise up in protest. So, in order to get the electors they want, they only suppress the votes of people who might vote the "wrong way". That way the people won't rise up, because people only tend to care about injustices when they are the victims of those injustices. Take away the ability to vote for a small number (enough to flip an election) and the people will remain largely apathetic.
Undoubtedly this is the strategy. But will (or for how long) will it work? Now that the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, we shall see. Already several states are rushing to pass new voter suppression laws... as reported by The Raw Story on 6/25/2012...
|Officials in Texas said they would rush ahead with a controversial voter ID law that critics say will make it more difficult for ethnic minority citizens to vote, hours after the US supreme court released them from anti-discrimination constraints that have been in place for almost half a century. The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, declared... "with today's decision, the state's voter ID law will take effect immediately. Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas".|
Immediately following the announcement Greg Abbott shouted, "White Power!". OK, I admit he didn't. But he was probably thinking it. Texas Republicans are worried because the state is turning purple (and may even go blue). Texas is currently the only state that is majority minority and still voting Republican. Personally I believe section 4 of the Voting Rights Act should apply to all 50 states, given that other states on covered by it did pass (or attempt to pass) laws restricting voting "rights" leading up to the 2012 election.
How do you think this is going to play out? Will Congressional Dems and reasonable Republicans get together and pass some legislation rejiggering (and restoring) section 4, or will they be blocked by the obstructionists who view this as a means by which the plutocratic dinosaur party can remain competitive?
Video: Paul Weyrich (now deceased) explains how Republican can win elections with only the support of a minority of the people (0:32).
Update 10/26/2014: Dennis has deleted all his comments from the thread on the rAtional nAtion blog this commentary references. See TADM #50 for more on Dennis' obsession with the "old bone" debunked Acorn conspiracy theory.