video 10 minutes 30 seconds
Republicans have known for a long, long time that they win when they suppress the vote. Below is a video in one of the seminal moments in the history voter suppression. Paul Weyrich reminding the religious right that Republicans lose as voter participation increases. While Democrats work hard to increase participation in government across the spectrum of our population, Republicans work in shadows to suppress the vote of all but those who fit their demographic. (video ~ 1 minute)
Text of Weyrich’s remarks:
“Now 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 the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
Words that are as true today as they were when they were first spoken in 1980.
While Democrats will be working hard on street corners and shopping malls to register voters, Republicans will be enacting laws and filing lawsuits to keep large swaths of “other” citizens from being able to exercise their right to vote. Voting machines that can be easily hacked, gerrymandering to make certain votes of less value, caging, intimidation at the polls are among some of the tricks in the Republican bag. The effects of such suppression is the subject of a study mentioned in the video and found here. The following quote pretty well sums up the findings:
“Can it be the voter identification laws actually have minimal effects on American democracy? In this article, we find that strict voter identification laws do, in fact, substantially alter the makeup od who votes and ultimately do skew democracy in favor of whites and those on the political right. These laws significantly impact the representativeness of the vote and the fairness of democracy.”
The reason this has come to mind this week is the death of the late SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia billed himself as an “originalist.” Apparently being an originalist means to return the vote to white landowners as was the case at the dawn of the US. As in many cases that moved this country dramatically backwards, Scalia, the self-described originalist, was a main cog in the decision.
In one of its more landmark decisions, Shelby County v. Holder, the SCOTUS handed down a decision that allowed states to roll back decades of expanding voter rolls to all citizens. The rollback has been so dramatic that it even evokes memories of Jim Crow laws.
With a majority of state legislatures and governorships in Republican hands since the 2010 midterm elections as soon as the decision was handed down, states were ready to turn back years of progress in seconds. Armed with laws written by the likes of ALEC, state legislatures disenfranchised millions in minutes. The never ending quest to disenfranchise those who won’t vote for them hit full stride.
Cloaked in a mantle of “scholar” and “originalist” and “conservative intellectual” Antonin Scalia was able to write or join in many decisions that have changed the course of the country.
More on Scalia later.