The real purpose of the “vote fraud commission” appointed by President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) might be to suppress young people’s votes.
The purpose of this commission must be questioned because its reason for existence seems spurious. The available data; which Trump and his team are undoubtedly aware of, indicates that vote fraud and illegal voting are not major problems in the United States today.
For example here were just four documented cases of vote fraud in the United States in 2016 even though 135 million people voted, The Washington Post reported. Only 30 documented cases of voting by noncitizens were discovered in a survey of 23.5 million votes cast last year by the Brenan Center at the New York University School of Law, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.
Demographics Show Why Republicans want to Suppress the Millennial Vote
The popular theory is that the Commission; headed by Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana) and former Kansas Secretary of State Chris W. Kolbach, is trying to suppress nonwhite voters. Polling and demographic data point to something equally troubling; Republicans are trying to suppress younger voters, especially the so-called Millennials
The reason Republicans want to suppress younger voters is made disturbingly clear by Pew Research data. It was persons over 65 that made last year’s GOP electoral upset possible. Persons over 65 preferred Trump by a ratio of 53% to 45%, Pew found. The same data showed that persons between 18 and 29 preferred Clinton by a margin of 55% to 37%.
That means all Republicans would have to do to win some elections is suppress a small percentage of the younger peoples’ vote and it may have already happened. Trump won Wisconsin by around 22,748 votes, The Nation reported. New GOP voting restrictions in that state may have kept 200,000 people away from the polls, a Democratic Political Action Committee called Priorities USA alleged.
The real purpose of the Pence/Kolbach commission might be to propose legislation that would implement such restrictions nationwide with a federal voter ID law. What is most bothersome is that law would be aimed straight at younger voters.
Suppressing the Millennial Vote is why Republicans want a Nationwide Voter ID Law
There is a good reason why Republicans are so anxious to get a nationwide voter ID law in place. Younger voters now outnumber Republican-leaning older voters who are dying off.
Census Bureau data indicates Millennials; person aged 19 to 35, now outnumber Baby Boomers (those 52 to 71) Pew Research reported. There were 74.9 million Baby Boomers and 75.4 million Millennials in 2015.
The gap is even wider when Generation X (persons aged 37 to 52) is thrown into the mix. There were around 65.8 million Generation Xers in 2016, CNN reported. If these numbers are accurate there are 141.2 million Generation X and Millennial voters out there.
Things get worse when one adds the Greatest Generation (persons born before 1924) and the Silent Generation (those aged 72 to 92) to the mix. There were around 1.9 million members of the Greatest Generation and 29.8 million members of the Silent Generation alive in 2016 according to CNN. That makes for a total of 31.7 million Americans over 72.
That means younger likely Democratic voters now outnumber Republican-leaning older voters 141.2 to 106.6 million. This explains why a terrible; and extremely unpopular, Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton was able to get three million more popular votes than Trump.
Why Republican Voter Suppression Efforts will Get Worse; their Supporters are Dying Off
The GOP’s voter suppression efforts are likely to get more aggressive in the years ahead because likely Republican voters are dying off fast. Pew predicted that the number of Generation Xers will exceed Baby Boomers in 2028 that’s just 11 years from now.
The number of Baby Boomers has fallen by 3.9 million since the turn of the century, Pew Senior Researcher Richard Fry noted. There were 78.8 million Boomers in 1999 and 74.9 million 2016. Their numbers will drop steadily and fall to 16.6 million by midcentury.
Things will be especially bad for Republicans because one of their largest groups of voters is whites without a college degree; 67% of whom supported Trump in 2016. Since such people are less likely to take care of their health; or have access to decent healthcare, they will die at a slightly higher rate. Death rates for middle-aged white Americans are already rising; a study by Nobel Prize winning economists Angus Deaton and Anne case found.
This predicament gives Republicans one of two choices they can either:
- Change their platform to attract younger voters. For example accept marijuana legalization and gay rights as inevitable and launch a real outreach effort to minority voters. Such strategies are unpopular with incumbent office holders because they present the risk of offending and driving away reliable older voters.
- Try to suppress younger voters.
Disturbingly today’s Trump-led GOP has chosen the second option. Largely because it keeps lazy Republican politicians in their cushy high-paying jobs with minimal effort.
How Republicans will Use Voter ID Laws against Younger Voters
A classic example of such efforts is a Texas law that accepted a license to carry a handgun as a permissible form of voter ID, but banned the use of student ID cards for voter identification.
Persons with gun licenses are likely to be older, white and rural in other words; Republicans. Students are more likely to be younger, nonwhite and urban, likely Democrats. It is no coincidence that the Trump Justice Department has pulled out of a lawsuit challenging that law.
Another tactic is to require government-issued photo IDs with a current address (usually driver’s licenses) for voting. This targets younger voters who are more likely to move, and Millennials; a large percentage of whom do not drive. A study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Institute found that 20.3% of people aged 20 to 24 did not have a driver’s license, USA Today reported.
We can expect the GOP to try and implement such tactics on a nationwide scale with potentially devastating results. The last time an outnumbered minority; the Southern Slave Power, tried to rig the American voting system to preserve its power the result was catastrophic. It was the slave-owning plutocracy’s efforts to maintain political control that eventually triggered the Civil War and caused the deaths of around 600,000 people on the battlefield.
Republican voter suppression efforts need to be stopped now if we want to preserve civil order. If such efforts succeed, America will see a wave of civil unrest and violence that will make the turmoil of the 1960s look like a picnic in comparison.