Originally posted August 17, 2012.
The racist Ohio Secretary of State Husted at the eleventh hour issues rules for provisional ballots that will potentially rob Ohio citizens of their votes. As has become the habit of Romney operatives, Romney’s campaign spokesmen, and, apologists and explainers and gobshitters associated with te GOP’s efforts to, especially, suppress African-American votes, the goal of Husted could be re-stated:
The GOP is despicable, not generally, but specifically in their tenacious effort to make voting very hard for voters who support their opponents. Over the past few months I have heard the quasi “meta-physical” rationales: that one fraudulent vote is worse than 10 suppressed legitimate votes; that voting should be harder as a test of commitment; that politics is a grown-up and nasty game. Etc..
The last rationale, and its brethren, obviously speak to the implicit nihilism hidden not to far under the surface of a modern GOP not at all separate from the southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon, not substantially distant from the John Birch Society, not bothered much by the extravagant and stark contradiction of mashing of Jesus and John Gault.
On election day, GOP operative polling place observers have been lightly trained, and next will be let loose Tuesday in African-American polling places throughout Cuyahoga County to accomplish one single goal: slow down voting so that voters are forced to wait with the objective being that the voters eventually abandon the long lines and so decline to vote.
Reprehensible. Not surprisingly in the least, neither Romney or Ryan have issued a single word against these efforts. Meanwhile, here in Cleveland, it turns out the Einhorn family in Milwaukee was responsible for billboard warnings placed in African-American neighborhoods in own city, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Once outed, the Einhorn spokesperson offered a rationale that was spectacular in its dishonesty: the billboards were put up as “a public service.” If you can’t figure out why this is completely dishonest, I feel very sorry for you.
(Nancy Einhorn is on the Board of The Milwaukee Ballet. My guess is not for very much longer unless it turns out being a racist is an importnat qualification.)
Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama. But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.
Fred not only founded the company now known as Koch Industries, he also was afounding member of the John Birch Society. As a founding board member, Fred helped engineer a hysterical wave of attacks on labor, intellectuals, public education, liberal clergy members, and other pillars of society he viewed as a threat. Birchers decriedeveryone from former President Eisenhower to water utility administrators as pawns in a global communist conspiracy. In the last two years, as the Koch name has becomesynonymous with right-wing plutocracy in the United States, the Koch family has played down its relation to the Birchers.
However, the New American, the official mouthpiece of the John Birch Society, published a piece this morning celebrating Fred and the Koch family’s pivotal role in developing the group:
Koch warned that American institutions were honeycombed with communist subversives, from labor unions and tax-free foundations to universities and churches. Art and newsprint, radio and television — all these media had been transmuted into vehicles of communist propaganda. [...] Fred Koch was no fly-by-night pamphleteer. He spent a generous portion of his later years using his wealth and influence to fight the communism he abhorred. He was an early member of the The John Birch Society’s National Council, an advisory group to JBS founder Robert Welch. Koch supported a variety of freedom-related causes, all the while continuing to build the company today known as Koch Industries.
The Bircher ode to Koch glosses over Fred’s record of bigotry. In a booklet he authored, Fred railed against civil rights leaders, and claimed the movement against racial segregation was a communist plot to use African Americans to destabilize the country. The Koch-funded Birchers held numerous rallies during the ’60s claiming integration would lead to a “mongrelization” of the races. (Thinkprogress)
(August 17, 2012)
The most remarkable aspect, to me, of the GOP’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy by targeting the African-American vote are the wide variety of rationalizations employed by advocates of voter suppression. Each and every such rationalization ends up rooted to an unpatriotic hope: that a legitimate voter’s vote of a specific kind not ever be registered.
The Pennsylvania legislator Mike Turzai expressed this hope in certain terms and a thousand headlines were the result June 25th.
Yet, just this week on NPR he was asked about voter ID and he said something to the effect of:
“It’s not worth one illegitimate vote to drop efforts to protect the vote.”
The useless NPR questioner did not press the question begged by his ridiculous, self-righteous answer. Obviously, the GOP’s concern is about losing elections, and not about the integrity of the vote.
This connects up with racism in a straight-forward way. Husted and Priesse understand the African-American vote is to be suppressed because of their overwhelming propensity to vote for their own race.
Obviously, elderly white GOP voters get caught up in this pernicious effort to undermine our political system, so it is clearly the case that a calculation about reward versus risk underlies the increasingly widespread efforts to make it harder for legitimate voters to cast their ballots.
Meanwhile, the cause of vote suppression has engendered systematic arguments on behalf of election integrity. This presentation from Virginia Voters Alliance is typical. Note its Tea Party inflections at the same time you note that none of its inculpatory ‘facts’ are actually documented. This group’s presentation boldly proclaims George Soros is pulling the strings!
All the tidy rationales are usually easily discombobulated, with a little scratching, to reveal suppression proponent’s true racist intent. The easiest way to get at this is to ask proponents about what would happen if every last eligible voter were to vote. (Unlikely voters favor Obama by 2-1.) In this regard, the rough and tumble rationale “Politics is a mean business and the ends justify the means.” is at least honest.
Perhaps the most famous recent example of racially-based vote suppression in the United States took place during the presidential election of 2000. The State of Florida ordered implementation of a purge list to remove voters from the rolls. The purge disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters – primarily African Americans. These citizens were prevented from casting ballots through their largely erroneous – and humiliating – classification as convicted felons. Racially-Based Suppression of the African-American Vote: The Role It May Play in the Upcoming Presidential Election By Sherry Colb, Oct. 29, 2004
NAACP and Florida Voters Reach Agreement with ChoicePoint® in Voting Rights Lawsuit
ChoicePoint to Make Donation to NAACP and Reprocess Voter Exception List
WASHINGTON, D.C. / ALPHARETTA, Ga. – July 2, 2002 – Civil rights plaintiffs have reached an agreement with ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS) over work performed by Database Technologies (DBT) for the State of Florida in the 2000 elections. The NAACP and Florida voters filed a federal lawsuit – NAACP v. Harris – challenging the conduct of state and local officials in the 2000 Florida elections, including DBT, because of the company’s work as a contractor hired by the state.
As part of the settlement, ChoicePoint will donate $75,000 to the NAACP, which will be used to fund past and future efforts to further the electoral opportunities of Florida’s minority voters. Under the agreement, the company also will re-process the 1999 and 2000 “exceptions lists” of Florida voters who may have been ineligible to vote because of possible felony criminal convictions or because of possibly being registered to vote in more than one county. The reprocessing will be conducted pursuant to terms proposed by the plaintiffs and subject to court approval.
DBT was under contract with the State of Florida from late 1998 through 2000 to create a list of registered voters who may have been deceased, registered in more than one county, or convicted felons under the Florida voting fraud statute. ChoicePoint acquired DBT in May, 2000, after the initial 2000 voter exception list was delivered to Florida officials for verification.
Comprehensive, academic, legal, social scientific, clearinghouse on election integrity: Brennan Center for Justice.
Michael Tomasky: How the GOP Plans to Block the Black Vote.
It’s a sick and sickening situation, and it delegitimizes everything else about the Republican Party. I can understand how someone believes in limited government or low taxes. I can understand how someone could oppose affirmative action. I cannot understand how any individual can be anything other than abjectly ashamed to be associated with a political party so thuggish as to try to rig elections like this and then at its conventions have the gall to invoke Abraham Lincoln and hire lots of black people to sing and dance and smile, to make up for their absence among the attendees. A black mark indeed.