Voter Fraud? No, Voter Suppression: Part Three

Part three, because the current efforts at voter suppression are merely an extension of what Donald Trump and the Republican party have been engaged in since it became clear that the Southern Strategy was no longer going to allow them to keep winning elections as it had done in previous decades.

It was 2010 when a nationwide effort to gerrymander the state houses that Republicans controlled was rolled out:

The plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010.

wbur.org

…so this crusade against accurate and democratically represented constituencies predates Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican party. But it has only gotten worse since he forced his way into office using voter suppression tactics handed to him by Russian operatives. Trump’s voter suppression task force lead by Kris Kobach spawned part one and part two of this series. That effort didn’t last very long, like most things that are Trump-inspired.

In the 2018 midterms it became clear that the precisely gerrymandered legislative districts were starting to turn more blueish that Republicans were comfortable with, and the shellacking that Republicans received in 2020 proved to them that they were going to have to keep certain classes of the population from voting if they wanted to retain national power in any real way. They have come out four-square in favor of keeping everyone who isn’t old, white and male from the voting booth, in as many ways as they can possibly arrange, in as many statehouses as they can force legislation through:

In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Even more proposals have been introduced since then.

washingtonpost.com

This continued drive to keep people from participating in their government will not end well for those in power when the breaking point comes. This is a truth that has been illustrated time and again throughout history. When the people decide they don’t want to follow a leader any longer, and that leader will not surrender power, the leader doesn’t live very long.

Put bluntly; this issue of voter suppression is going to come to civil war if it isn’t solved with federally mandated voter guarantees. We don’t have two or four years to wait for these guarantees either. They have to be instituted now so that they will be solidly in force by the time the next election period rolls around. The Democrats in the Senate had better get their shit together and do that soon, or we are going to be spending blood and treasure killing our own people in the next election. An outcome that could have been avoided had two Senators had the balls to stand up to their own constituents in defense of the state that they claim to represent.

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End the filibuster. It should never have been allowed in the first place and wouldn’t have been tolerated by the senators who removed the rule that kept it from happening. The arguments about allowing it are pointless. End it already and pass the For the People Act so that we don’t have to fight these damaging battles all across the nation in 43 different state Houses.

The set of bills that are up in Texas:

Following committee approval, HB6 by state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, now must be approved by the full House. The Republican-dominated Senate has already passed its own voter suppression bill, SB7. Together the bills would impose a slew of restrictions that would make voting harder especially in large, densely populated counties where many Texans of color live. The bills would bar many measures local leaders also promoted to make voting safe and secure during the pandemic, including curbside and drive-thru voting, mobile voting locations and 24-hour voting centers.

tfn.org

Texas freedom network is a nonpartisan watchdog group. I have followed them for years, for longer than I have been siding with Democrats politically. Even they understand the problem with what Texas Republicans are trying to force through the Texas legislature right now. I have a simple observation to make on this subject. Those who make it impossible to govern through social engagement with our neighbors, make the resultant change that much more violent. Make no mistake, Texas. Change is coming. Embrace it while you still can profit from it. If you don’t, it will simply be that much more expensive to clean up after the change is effected. The one constant in life is change. Depend on it.

If Democrats don’t end the filibuster and do the things that need doing including push back Republican power grabs and voter suppression laws, then they will fail and there will be no reason to hope for any better future in this country. It really is that simple. Do the work that needs to be done, or admit that the American experiment has failed. Pick one.

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Republicans have stacked the deck in their favor for a long time and have come to rely on that unfair system, rather than policies that appeal to voters, to retain power. Now that Democrats are trying to level the playing field, they howl that the Democrats are cheating.

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Governor Abbott’s Voter Suppression Effort

Local officials in Texas say they plan to fight a new order from Gov. Greg Abbott to limit the number of places where voters can hand deliver mail-in ballots.

Abbott announced the order Thursday, the same day local election officials opened the drop-off sites.

NPR.org

I’ve been of the opinion for decades now that the governor’s office has overstepped its constitutional bounds. It started with Pointy Boots, err, Rick Perry, but Abbott has stretched the areas that the office was intended to govern into areas that are far beyond constitutional intents. I know that interfering in city and county business was exactly what the writers of the Texas constitution were trying to prevent, and yet Abbott has done this routinely over the last few years with the legislature’s help.

Local officials, both county and city, should call his bluff this time. Tell him that he can either get the Secretary of State to issue a guideline that makes that limitation on balloting official (but still questionable) or he can drag the legislature back into session to make the voting changes he calls for a legislative directive that is demonstrably constitutional. Otherwise, tough. The counties make those kinds of decisions and the counties have already made their decisions.

Greg Abbott is not the dictator of Texas, he’s just the governor. His job is to look pretty, sign bills and cut ribbons. That is the extent of his power. That he can only do two of those things is not our problem.

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The district court was wrong to rewrite Texas law. But the distinguished judge who did so was simply following in the Governor’s footsteps,” Ho wrote. “It is surely just as offensive to the Constitution to rewrite Texas election law by executive fiat as it is to do so by judicial fiat. Yet that is what occurred here.

statesman.com

Texas Democrats Handwaving About Clinton Legacy

We need to inject new blood into Texas Democrats especially in the Austin area. It’s time for a fresh outlook to manifest in Texas. It’s time to retire the views of the past and focus on the winning arguments for the future. However, there are a good number of Texas Democrats who want to pretend that Texas Democratic history never existed:

The focus for the future is the same as we have always been fighting for a fair system that works for all Americans, we just have not had the majority vote to be able to get it done. The views of the past, raise the wage to a living wage, healthcare for all, education for all, a fair justice system and fair treatment for all Americans, transparency, pass laws to prevent corruption, good paying job growth, protect unions, protect, expand, and improve needed safety net programs, protect our environment and transition to alternative energy , progressive fair taxes where top income pay their share, These are all things we have been fighting for since the 50’s what would you have us change?

J.J. Pickle was all about lining his pockets, and a good many of the current crop of Democrats (my sitting local rep included) are still about lining their pockets. There is a problem in Texas with compensation of officeholders. A fair days pay for a fair days work. If you steal from your legislators they will be more inclined to steal from you. LBJ was known to do a fair bit of ballot stuffing in his day, and the Democrats were gerrymandered all to hell long before the current crop of GOPpers perfected the art of gerrymandering. The issues aren’t nearly as touchy-feely as the newcomers to politics make it all out to be.

I won’t vote for my state representative, Dawnna Dukes. I won’t vote for her because she lied and said she would step down if she was re-elected, and this was after she all but completely missed the last legislative session. She hasn’t stepped down. I will be voting for whoever runs against her this time; in both the primary and in the general if Texas Democrats are stupid enough to let her run again. I have no party loyalty. I am a liberal first, a Democrat second. I was a Libertarian for the last twenty years and if the GOP ends its love affair with crazy christians I might even consider voting for them. Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive in his day and Lincoln was also a liberal and a progressive. 

Party (also known as faction) is the problem in US politics; and believing things will ever change as far as the business of politics is concerned, at least as long as parties run politics in the US, is just making things the same as they ever were. 

You come off as very arrogant and condescending, not sure whether it is intentional or not, but I don’t play that game you want to push buttons take it somewhere else or I will help you take it somewhere else.

I am not about silencing anyone, but this is NOT a debate group it is a support group for democratic candidates so if you want a debate group you need to join a debate group if you want to support democratic candidates then you belong here, but you need to be supportive because that is the purpose of joining a group when that is what group is about. Kapeesh?

(The guy uses the word for understand in Italian, misspells it even, and I’m supposed to believe he knows what he’s talking about or that he wouldn’t ban me from his Facebook group? I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. Also? His typing is atrocious. Be thankful I edited it for you. -ed.)

I’ll happily support the rep the Democrats chose so long as they chose someone other than the one I have now. I won’t support someone I can’t trust no matter which party they’re part of.

…and let me educate you ” moron” , lol. your words in your blog right back at YOU, the only times in the history of this country that prices have overall declined a few cents instead of increasing has been after the 2 largest minimum wage increases because it increased consumerism so biz was able to sell more to make more profit and they cut prices to compete for that increase in customers.

(Ah. He read the article I linked in the text. I’m touched. -ed.)

First off, the moron isn’t me if what you got from the article I linked was that I was opposed to people getting more money to spend. As a stop gap measure, raising the minimum wage will be acceptable. In the end it won’t be enough.

I agree with that and why I supported Hillary , she had a comprehensive plan to tie tax cuts for business to profit sharing and wage increases , training programs and more everything business needs to actually make increasing wages viable and profitable for them and their employees.

Under democratic administrations this last one included unemployment numbers have always decreased to below 4% but under GOP it never has gone below 5% and under Dems wages increase for low and middle income but under GOP they either stagnate or decline we don’ t have a job problem we have a problem with people electing GOP that have the wrong economic policies that just don’t work.

(He’s so cute. I just want to pinch his blind little Clinton-supporting cheeks. -ed.)

Wages are irrelevant when there isn’t enough work for people to do, a point in time which we’ve probably already passed. Bill Clinton’s neoliberalism was just Reaganomics warmed over. Trickledown and low taxes on the wealthy have been the status quo from Reagan until now. Even President Obama didn’t do enough to take stolen wealth back from the wealthy.

The problem is the way the races are funded. The problem will not go away by changing who sits in the chair unless the new person was put there to alter the system and they know they’ll be replaced if they don’t follow through on that mandate.

The Democrats lose the house and senate because of current campaign funding laws and the ability of the various state houses to gerrymander their districts. This means that structures within nearly every state in the union have to be changed (Texas specifically) so as to alter the way districts are drawn and to alter the way campaigns are funded. Even Democrats who win end up beholden to the wealthy who fund their campaigns more than they are to the voters who put them there, this makes the possibility of getting what we want from our government even more remote than it would be without the corruption of current campaign finance law. The voter suppression of gerrymandering and onerous ID laws.

As for Bill Clinton’s record:

The law at issue was the sweeping Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which provided funding for tens of thousands of community police officers and drug courts, banned certain assault weapons, and mandated life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes. The mandated life sentences were known as the “three-strikes” provision.

The law is blamed by some for rising incarceration rates, though as we will explain later, that trend actually began in the 1970s.  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — who voted for the 1994 crime bill — has frequently noted on the campaign trail, correctly, that the U.S. has, by far, the largest prison population in the world (though we have noted that his promise to correct that dubious distinction in his first term would be an almost impossibly tall order).

factcheck.org (bbc.com)

…and:

The law replaced AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) with TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families—“temporary” being the key word). It stipulated that people could receive no more than five years of government benefits in a lifetime, though states could set their limits lower and many did, with some instituting a two-year lifetime limit. It required a certain percentage of welfare recipients in states to be working, and said that those who couldn’t find jobs would have to participate in community service or get vocational training. Those who didn’t work or volunteer would eventually be kicked off the welfare rolls.

theatlantic.com

I won’t quibble over the little things that were done. The poor quality of the Democrats opponents is not an excuse for Democrats getting a pass for things they’ve done that were damaging to the public at large. Reaganomics has never wholly been abandoned. Not under Clinton and not under Obama either. This is a stain on the American soul, that punishing the poor for being poor is something that we have pursued for generations. Even LBJ’s great society made little difference in the long run, because the causes of poverty were never alleviated. Economists attempted to point out, even to Reagan, that trickle down would never occur, that the policies he favored would not benefit the poor and middle classes. Still he pursued these goals, and the tax rates on the wealthy haven’t been raised since then to an extent that the predations of the wealthy class on the lower classes could be countered. 

Other countries (Like China and India) have taken our lessons to heart and have used American corporatist policies as a blueprint for how to grow fat and happy on the backs of the slaving poor. These trends have to be reversed. There shouldn’t be a thing called the working poor. There shouldn’t be homeless people in a country with thousands of empty houses. But there are and there is. This has to stop and the most damning thing that can be said about the Democratic leadership is: they haven’t proposed a plan to fix these problems.

Rot starts at the root. The Texas Democratic party is rotten from the root and it has to be struck, root and branch, if we are to fix the party in Texas. We won’t even get started on the job at hadn if we keep backing the same corrupt officials that represent us now. Kick them out. Let’s see what the new batch of leadership brings with them.

Postscript

This was a conversation I had with the owner/moderator of a group that was supposedly formed for Texas Democrats on Facebook. It wasn’t until after I had joined that it was pointed out to me that it was for blind Democratic support only. Aw, shucks. Here I thought talking about problems was how we worked them all out. He banned me shortly after I made the last comment I copied here.

Dawnna Dukes was defeated in her primary. Sheryl Cole ended up winning in the runoff between her and Chito Vela, which meant she won the seat because Republicans can’t win in Austin unless they are a damn sight more liberal than the average Texan is.

All of this is to say, all political change starts locally. Yes, Sheryl Cole was on the city council before she was in the state House. All I know or care is that she wasn’t Dawnna Dukes, who had held the seat for so long she thought she could not show up to do her job, and we would keep voting for her. This is the problem with one-party rule, the essence of the problem with parties and factions. They exclude all agents of change because the status quo is always more powerful than the progressives or liberals are, so long as they are united against change.

A Vote Suppression Masquerade

facebook.com/RBReich

It was voter suppression 100 years ago and more, and it is still voter suppression today. The solution to the problem that they don’t’ have and won’t undertake is to make voting mandatory and thereby make any and all documents affirming your citizenship legitimate proof of voter eligibility. These kinds of people would much rather put barriers up that only allow conservatives to vote, this is the personal track record for each and every member of the commision that is visible to anyone who cares to look.

After Kobach’s opinion piece was published by Breitbart, Democratic Sens. Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen issued a joint statement accusing Kobach of trying to “mislead the public” in order to “lay the groundwork for broad-scale, politically motivated voter suppression.”

“The law clearly states that college students and other New Hampshire residents can vote without a New Hampshire ID, and these false partisan claims are deliberately twisting the facts,” Hassan and Shaheen wrote.

Factcheck, Kobachs Bogus Proof

The cashiering of the entire panel shortly after I wrote the above paragraph rendered the entirety of what I was going to say on the subject largely moot.

Voter Fraud? No, Voter Suppression: Part Two

I generally find the Decode DC podcast to be very informative, at least. Generally worth my time to listen. I remember Jimmy Williams from my days of watching MSNBC. He was a favorite on The Dylan Ratigan Show and while I didn’t always appreciate his take on the issues at hand, I generally had to admit that he had a point he was trying to make. This episode, though?

SpotifyWayback Machine

President Trump believes he would have won the popular vote — if it weren’t for the 3 million people that voted illegally. Even though there’s no evidence to support his claim, he put together a commission to look into the issue, and their first meeting is today. They’ve already been pretty active, asking for voter data from all 50 states. But what exactly is going on with this commission, and what can we expect?

I didn’t need to listen to thirty minutes of in-depth analysis to know what to expect from the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s (OHM) farcical Voter Fraud Commission. Even Republicans agree that the commission will not uncover any real issues with voter fraud. Republicans have never been shy about their goals when it comes to voters; they want to suppress votes that are cast against them:

Pennsylvania state rep. Mike Turzai in a rare moment of sincerity. Getting Romney elected was the goal, suppressing the vote was the tool they were going to use.

If Kris Kobach’s term as the Secretary of State (SoS) for Kansas is any measure, the commission is going to work tirelessly to suppress the votes of liberals and progressives across the nation. These groups are the illegal voters in the minds of conservatives, it is just a measure of how they are going to keep them from voting in enough numbers to unseat them from their thrones of power. What Downsize DC took thirty minutes to say, I can spell out in very few sentences.

There are excuses that the commission will use to purge voter rolls, as Kobach did in Kansas and as Conservative/Republican SoS’s did in a number of states. But in the end these are all excuses to do the thing they want done. Suppress enough votes to keep Republicans in power. Every person who understands what happens when you keep a large enough fraction of a population from participating in government should be recoiling in horror at this point. They will be recoiling in horror because this course is a recipe for a violent response, what always happens when frustrated people are kept from even the appearance of a having a voice in government.

What this all means is that we must resist. We must keep the pressure on our separate state governments. We must keep the local politicians aware that we are watching them and they had better not attempt to keep us from exercising our rights as Americans. We liberals, progressives and conservatives, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, we will all vote in 2018 and we will replace them if they even make noise about resisting us. About suppressing our rights, denying us our voice. This needs to be made very clear to them now, so that there are no violent surprises later.

Voting is not a privilege, it is a duty. In my opinion it should be a requirement, mandatorily enforced with fines for failure to participate. Election day should be a paid holiday, a national festival. Everyone should be encouraged to participate in anyway that they can, not driven from the field with acrimony and mudslinging. It is an embarrassing failure of communication, one of the biggest embarrassments of this nation, that we cannot look our opponents in the eye and contend with their differing viewpoints without casting them as enemies. As other. May I live to see the day this changes.

Postscript

The first post of mine to ever get a postscript that wasn’t pre-written, but still appears the first time the article was published. It has happened many times since this instance, but this was the first one. I have no idea (No. Idea.) why this wasn’t published to the blog. No clue. As far as I can tell, I just didn’t hit publish. Which is fine as it turns out because just yesterday a new episode on this subject dropped that I really should add to this blog post that will be back-dated on the blog to July but really isn’t being published until November 10th.

spotifyrewirenewsgroup.com/breach

Twenty-three thousand people who were prevented from voting in two counties alone because of this law, and Donald Trump only won [Wisconsin] by twenty-two thousand votes. 

Ari Berman (PDF of transcript)

Let me translate that for you. Donald Trump is president in part because Republicans and conservatives denied people the right to vote in Wisconsin and several other states. They violated our rights and gave Trump the office he now holds. He didn’t win it and he doesn’t deserve it.

Voter Fraud? No, Voter Suppression: Part One

Trump’s “voter fraud” commission is also a means of encouraging more states to enact voter suppression laws such as strict IDs. The commission will be headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Robert Reich

As if it isn’t already difficult enough to participate in this backasswards democratic-republic. Join a party, go to the weekly/monthly meetings. Canvas for issues, draft resolutions, etc. Promote promising candidates, etc. Now they want to make it harder to do the one thing about this whole process which should be easy. Voting for a candidate to represent you.

The entire history of vote suppression is a graveyard of bad ideas killed slowly over the course of centuries. Wealth discrimination, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination. With the dismemberment of the voting rights act brought about by recent SCOTUS decisions, we appear to be started back down this road where we silence women, enslave the minorities and disenfranchise the poor.

Will we sit by and allow this demagogue, this pompous little dictator, to push us all back into the bad old days, or will we stand up and insist on our right to participate in our own government?

“If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

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Explaining the Inexplicable?

Episode #49 of Waking Up, The Lesser Evil  is perhaps the best post-election failure dissection conducted pre-election that you will ever find. Listening to them discuss the compromised nature of Hillary Clinton; how they (the Clintons) claimed to be defenders of equal rights while doing so many things that make that a lie:

spotifysamharris.org

What I draw from the episode is this: Clearly there are more people interested in making sure other people suffer more than they do. That there are far more people who think gays do not deserve equality, that poor people need to be poorer, that immigrants are parasites, that American success comes at the cost of a subjugated world, all the things that Donald Trump was verbally in support of during the campaign. Clearly there are far more of those people than the thinking men in this and other podcasts thought.

All of this makes the Clintons look like the smart ones after all. Clearly Hillary was pulled too far to the left to win her base (Southern moderate conservatives) forcing her to make appeals on the left that were never going to win anyway. They were never going to win, because those people would not support her and thought they were stronger than they were. Thought they were strong enough to defeat the stormtrumpers.

Had that other candidate appeared (and it wasn’t Bernie Sanders) been allowed to appear by opening up Democratic politics after 2008, who knows where we would be now. Would we still be waking from Birther-in-Chief nightmares? That we will never know. Maybe the US will survive two years so we can see a new Democratic party emerge. One that isn’t lead by such compromised people.

Postscript

Looking back one year later, I have to modify my voiced perceptions. I thought then she had gone too far left. I’m thinking today that she actually went exactly where she should have been on the political spectrum, but failed to communicate her positions to the right people to gain enough support in the right places.

This is more a function of the corruption of the US election system than it is anything that can be blamed on Hillary. The corruption of money in politics, party interference including gerrymandering and voter suppression, and even the electoral college itself. Sullivan, being a conservative, thinks Clinton lost touch with her base and went too far in the wrong direction. The key demographic that she needed, white women, were never going to vote for her in enough numbers to make up the difference needed without the suppressed votes in states like Wisconsin. GOP corruption of the system combined with targeted conservative funding and foreign interference put us on this path to destruction much more than anything Hillary ever did aside from having been seen destroying the reputations of Bill Clinton’s sexual victims.