Republicans need to join Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and start seriously opposing voter suppression efforts to ensure their party’s future.
Republican Abbott did the right thing by signing Senate Bill 5; a new law that reverses his party’s efforts to restrict access to the ballot, on June 1, The Statesman reported. Among other things Senate Bill 5 allows people to register to vote without a photo ID if they can present documents bearing their name and address.
That overturns an earlier law that prevented people without photo IDs and students from registering to vote. Critics charged that law was really an attempt to keep likely Democratic voters away from the polls.
Republicans Need to Shut Down Trump Voter Suppression Commission
Disturbingly, Abbott’s wisdom is not present in Washington D.C. where President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) has appointed a commission to investigate vote fraud.
The real purpose of that commission is to propose legislation that would implement Republican voter ID laws; like the ones thrown out in Texas, nationwide, critics have charged. Opponents like Guardian writer Steven W. Thrasher have noted that Kansas Secretary of State; and notorious vote suppressor, Kris W. Kobach will serve as the commission’s co-chair.
Republicans should question and oppose this commission because such voter suppression efforts might be a grave threat to their party’s future. Instead of ensuring Republican government, such abuse of voter ID laws might undermine the party and help Democrats.
History teaches us that Voter Suppression Does not Work
History’s lesson about voter suppression is clear: it only works in the short-term. The longest and most widespread voter suppression effort in American history was in the South from the 1870s to the 1960s.
African-Americans were effectively stripped of the vote to keep white Democratic politicians in office. That suppression ensured rule by a corrupt reactionary elite that had no popular support. Government became ineffective, corrupt and incapable of solving the region’s problems.
The long-term result was a Democratic Party incapable of getting popular support. When voter suppression ended in the 1960s the winners were Republicans that captured the vote of working class white Southerners; who had been poorly represented and sometimes abused by Democratic politicians. Southern Democrats were reduced to a minority; sustained ironically enough only by African American voters.
Voter suppression in the South did not preserve political power. Instead it created a party incapable of winning the popular vote or representing the people. That party was also completely divorced from the everyday reality in which voters lived, and incapable of fulfilling their needs or desires.
Modern voter suppression efforts are likely to do much the same to the Republicans. A restricted vote will create a party that is out of touch, corrupt, elitist, racist, restrictive and unrepresentative of our nation or its communities. Such a party will eventually and deservedly share the fate of the Southern Democrats and collapse completely.
Some Reasons why Republicans should be Scared of Voter suppression
Voter suppression threatens the future of the Republican Party in a number of ways. Some good reasons to fear and oppose suppression of the vote include:
- Voter suppression is wrong. Denying anybody the vote is simply wrong. It is completely morally indefensible.
- Voter suppression is a betrayal of everything our ancestors fought and worked for. Our ancestors and our veterans fought for the right to vote on the battlefield. Our armed forces are fighting for that right on the battlefield in the Middle East right now. Others fought for that right in the courts and in the streets at various times in our history. Suppressing the vote betrays everything all those people fought four and makes a mockery of the flag.
- Voter suppression is Un-American and undemocratic. Historically it was groups like Communists, Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and Fascists that suppressed or denied the right to vote. Do Republicans really want to be in their company or adopt their loathsome tactics?
- Suppressing the vote; and defending efforts, to do so will make Republicans look like hypocrites and enemies of democracy.
- Suppressing the vote undermines democracy, the nation and our communities. Persons without the vote have no reason to pay taxes, obey the law, respect authority or serve in the military.
- History teaches that voter suppression leads to violence. The American Revolution broke out because the British denied the colonists political representation. The Soviet and British Empires collapsed because their leaders denied the vote to many of their subjects. When people lack the vote they pick up the rock or the gun to express their frustrations.
- Vote suppression is causing violence in our society. It is no coincidence that two of the states that are most notorious for vote suppression; North Carolina and Wisconsin, experienced destructive riots last year. The rioters were mostly African-American men; one of the groups targeted by Republican vote suppressors. Even though the media tried to spin the riots as protests against police shootings it is easy to connect the dots with vote suppression.
- Voter suppression might make Republicans unelectable at some point. The US Census Bureau projected that the United States will become a majority nonwhite nation in 2044. Nonwhites will make up the majority of voters in many parts of the country long before then. That means Republicans will need to attract substantial numbers of nonwhite votes to win office. It is doubtful that people of color will support a party that recently tried to trample their rights.
- Vote suppression will undermine efforts to reach groups that Republicans need including nonwhites, young people and the working class. Such efforts are vital for the Party’s future because its core constituency of older, white and rural voters is slowly but surely dying off. Politico writer Daniel J. McGraw estimated that Republicans are dying off at a higher rate than Democrats (around 687,500 a year vs. 328,571) because they tend to be older, in 2015. At some point Republicans will need to replace those voters or face a Democratic majority. Around 53% of people over 50 voted GOP while 60% of those under 40 voted Democrat in 2016.
- Democrats can suppress votes too. Remember Democrats are the party that suppressed a large block of their own members with super delegates to ensure Hillary’s victory. It is not hard to imagine elitist Democrats like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry trying to suppress the votes of likely Republican voters; such as working class whites, suburban whites, rural residents, members of the military, veterans and the elderly. Such efforts are probable after the surprise Trump victory.
- Protecting voting rights, protects Republicans right too. At least some Republicans were undoubtedly victims of voter suppression. With today’s close elections the GOP needs every vote it can get.
Voter suppression is wrong and a bad policy. Every Republican who is concerned about his or her party’s future should contact the White House and tell President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana) to end the vote suppression effort. If they do not the Republican Party might face a very bleak future.