Level Playing Field?

level playing field

Here it is. Election year. We have been waiting. Now we act.

Each and every one of us needs to act this year. Not just vote, but join the campaign and act. We need lots and lots of team players because the playing field has been drastically tilted in favor of the opposition especially in the past decade, since 2010 and “RedMap.”

RedMap was one of the basic underlying strategies for using the power of state legislatures to redistrict and thus gerrymander not only national legislative districts but also state legislative districts in such a way the Republicans almost can’t lose. With districts redesigned in such a way that Republicans would usually win a majority, Republicans in state legislatures could then go about the business of changing election laws to greatly tilt the playing field to their advantage.

Thus without the fear of being voted out of office for passing laws that weakened democracy greatly, Republicans went about passing laws and working behind the scenes to ensure their advantage was permanent and would work at all levels.

Along with RedMap, a major case in the Supreme Court that was decided in 2010 also gave a huge advantage to the party with money which is not the Democrats. On January 21st, 2010 the SCOTUS decided in the case of Citizens United vs. the FEC that essentially ended contribution limits in campaigns. This was a huge blow to democracy.

Armed with gerrymandered state legislative districts and the power that a nearly unlimited checkbook brings, Republicans have been able to batter democracy across the country. Therefore the Democratic candidates for office will not only be battling their opponents but also laws and systems that have been built to ensure one side wins most of the time.

One of the very first things Republican state governments started doing was restricting people from voting. Laws were structured to deny people from voting based on very shaky grounds. It appeared that the criteria at the very bottom of the these voter purges are whether a person may be likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Voter rolls were “purged” in state after state. Trying to get reregistered was made extremely difficult often requiring documents that few had and were often hard to obtain.

Along with that polling places were often closed particularly in Democratic leaning precincts such as inner cities. Voting machines in many states have no paper trail so they are unverifiable. Software code in many voting machines have been shown to be easily vulnerable to hacking. In short legislatures have put rough restrictions on voters. If a person does get to vote there is no way in most states to tell if a person’s vote was either recorded accurately and not changed.

As if that wasn’t enough, the opinion in Citizens United pretty much ended restrictions on money in politics. Now “issue oriented” PACs can accumulate a vast amount of money that is often used in negative advertising that makes voters just want to sit out elections. This is a tactic that works very well.

And in the 2016 election we had the Republican candidate openly calling for help from foreign nations in defiance of the law. As we all know he has already done it again in advance of the 2020 election.

So there you go. If the Democratic candidate – nearly any Democratic candidate – were to face the current IMPEACHED president in an election where all the election rules and norms treated both sides equally most believe that the Democrat would win in a landslide. But that is not what will happen in 2020.

What will happen in 2020 is that the Democratic candidate will be facing not just his or her opponent, but they will also be facing a playing field that is greatly tilted to ensure a Republican win:

  1. National and state legislative districts continue to be gerrymandered drastically to ensure Republican majorities
  2. Voter suppression laws have been implemented across many states. As far as I know none have been rescinded.
  3. Voting machines across much of the country are electronic and proven to be hackable. Most do not have paper back ups on case of a recount.
  4. Any restrictions on money were pretty much killed in 2010 which led to =>
  5. Blanketing the airwaves with negative ads that have been proven to depress votes.
  6. In a show of arrogance we have seen at least the Republican presidential candidate appeal to foreign (Russian) governments for help and has done so again.
  7. And as we all know foreign governments have been active in trying to influence our elections through social media for republicans.
  8. Finally we have to battle a media that refuses to call out the lies, misdirections and omissions of Republican candidates in trade for “access.” We also had a huge amount of free media given to Trump last election cycle without question.
  9. Finally, the FEC has been effectively put out of business, so there is no watchdog on election rules.

I believe we can win on the issues. Republicans have basically one issue – how to transfer more wealth into fewer hands. At this point I don’t believe I need to list Democratic issues. 

What we need more than anything is people working and working hard to get OUR voters to the polls. We need help from everybody. So set aside time for next summer and fall to work to elect the Democratic candidate and throw out the most corrupt administration ever.

What is at stake is the planet, your health care, education, our economy, and our democracy. This is no time to sit out.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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