There are many who say that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. In many regards those lines are thin. However, there is one very clear difference and that is who votes. Democrats have consistently attempted to expand the franchise, and Republicans – particularly since the election of Reagan – have attempted to restrict the vote.
The first public statement of this strategy (as far as I know) was by Paul Weyrich (co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, ALEC, and a number of other ultra-conservative organizations) at a convention for conservative preachers in 1980:
“How many of our Christians have what I call the “goo goo syndrome”? “Good government.” They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down. ~ Paul Weyrich, Fall 1980.”
That strategy to restrict the vote has occurred on many fronts from, gerrymandering, to blocking streets and placing police behind the barricade (Florida, 2000), to purging voter rolls, to robo calling to scare people away from the polls, and now Voter ID legislation being pushed (and passed) across the country.
The push from the Republicans across the country for restricting the vote, has purportedly been to protect the sanctity of the vote from voter fraud. What is really happening is engaging in massive fraud to deny access to the polls in order to swing the vote in their favor.
We have left any passing resemblance to a functioning democracy when voter suppression is hailed as an appropriate action for winning an election – whether for the school board or for the Presidency. Yet, that is exactly where we are at. Here is Mike Turzai, Republican Pennsylvania State Representative:
“Voter ID- which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done.”
I still have the capacity to be horrified by the blatancy with which our fundamental rights are waived in our faces and then thrown away while the sycophants cheer.
Bill Moyers has a nice 20 minute discussion with Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman from the Brennan Center for Justice on Voter ID legislation and vote supression. A full transcript is also available at http://billmoyers.com/segment/keesha-gaskins-and-michael-waldman-on-supressing-votes-by-law/.