“I don’t want everybody to vote. … Our leverage in elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down…” — PAUL WEYRICH, right-wing political strategist and a co-founder of both Heritage Foundation and ALEC, in a 1980 speech preaching the virtues of voter suppression.
You have no right to vote
THE RIGHT OF ALL CITIZENS to help choose their representatives is the heartbeat of our democratic society. Right? Yet–heart attack!–the US Constitution does not actually guarantee that right. Rather, in a Big Boo-Boo, the founders relegated laws regarding suffrage to the states, thus empowering assorted state and local officials to grant–or deny–access to the ballot to various groups of Americans. The 15th, 19th, and 25th Amendments to the Constitution decree that states cannot deny the vote to anyone on the basis of race, sex, and age, but all other exclusions are left open. This is the skeleton key that unlocks the door for racist, plutocratic, misogynous, xenophobic, theocratic, and other malevolent forces to exclude portions of the masses from having a say in their nation’s public affairs.
In 2011, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., worked diligently to right this wrong by pushing for a Constitutional amendment establishing voting as a HUMAN RIGHT, not subject to the inclinations of a state official or leg-islature. Jackson’s amendment would have prohibited any “public or private person or entity” from rigging the polls with artifices to deny or hinder a qualified person’s entrance.
Ironically, Jackson’s Right to Vote Amendment was never allowed to come to a vote in Congress. Today the need to enshrine our voting right in America’s most authoritative document is more pressing than ever, and the idea has since been re-introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan and 37 co-sponsors.The grassroots group, Fair Vote, is rallying public support for a Right to Vote Amendment and other reforms. fairvote.org/right_to_vote_amendment
Oddly though, only Republicans have the super-sense to see so many foreigners casting ballots. Odder yet, when grandstanding GOP politicians launch official investigations to uncover, capture, and prosecute the miscreants, they can’t find them.
Thee Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that Trump created in May 2017 to snare those chimerical Hillary voters only met twice, and its fractious and goofy members turned up no villainous voters.
How goofy? Trump’s choice for vice chair was Kris Kobach, a clownish Tea Party extremist, Kansas secretary of state, and now the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He’s an infamous basher of immigrants and Muslims and pursuer of illicit Latino voters. In his eight years as Kansas secretary of state, huffing and puffing about the horror of mass voting violators, Kris nailed a grand total of nine poll violators. Nine. None were Mexicans sneaking in to elect Democrats. Indeed, most were older, white Republican men caught voting twice. There are your “hordes.”
Kobach’s bumbling followed him to the commission, which was so unsuccessful that Trump abruptly disbanded it after eight months of catching nothing but withering public ridicule for frittering away taxpayer money to chase a partisan fiction. Even then, Trump maintained the lie: “[There is] substantial evidence of voter fraud.”
Huh? So zero is now “substantial”?
It comes down to the Elementary Principles of Political Lying: First, make it a BIG lie, the more outlandish the better; second, reiterate and embellish it constantly, using your most authoritative voice; third, add a bugaboo that plays to xenophobia and racism; and fourth, don’t worry about proving the lie, just create suspicion within a small but noisy and hyper-partisan minority that it might be true. Thus, we have Trump, members of Congress, governors, and other far-right officials claiming that masses of malevolent foreigners are slipping undetected into voting booths to pervert America’s democratic process.
This is where and why the GOP’s suppression strategy switches from being less than meets the eye to being much, much more. While the number of foreigners voting illegally is insignificant, they are the hobgoblin spotlighted to distract public attention from the real agenda: implementing scores of repressive anti-voting measures and blocking millions–yes, millions–of qualified voters from any demographic group that might be inclined to favor Democrats and progressive ballot initiatives.