February 11, 2016

Yeah, We Know.

I like politics.
I like what it is, how it makes people act, the performance art that it creates and the flop-sweat and emptiness it often leaves in its wake. I like seeing action inspired by motivation, the maneuvers and manipulations (successful and failed) of people vying for power, and how hard they'll fight for how much effect. It's _fun_ for me.
Possibly my favourite part is when people try to justify what is clearly evil done for evil motivations, all in public. There's no one out there who actually thinks, for instance, that the Voter ID laws established in a handful of states were actually put into place to prevent voter fraud - a crime that doesn't actually happen to any degree that influences election results. Even the Heritage Foundation had to go back to examples from (seriously) 1844 and 1948 to try defending the proposed laws.
In 2013 the Supreme Court of the US decided, in possibly their worst decision since money = free speech, (you know a law's bad when one of the biggest beneficiaries says it's a bad law; granted, he wants to make it worse, but still) that individual states shouldn't have to get the federal government's permission to change voting laws. That law was originally put into place specifically so pro-segregation states would not be able to put up road blocks against blacks voting. Any guesses which states were the among first to start changing voting laws the instant this decision went through? (In case you're wondering, the full name of the federal version is the "Help America Vote Act of 2002: Because We've Never Heard Of Orwell" edition.)

It's not that voter fraud doesn't happen at all; but the laws do exactly nothing to stop absentee voting fraud, which is by far the largest type - though still not enough to affect any elections. Unless you think 40 votes out of the 197,000,000 cast would have been enough to change the 2012 US election, that is.
You could see the laws' defenders throwing up handfulls of glitter in the hopes that no one would notice that the buckets they were pulling it from started life under big, blue cabinets... It was incredibly obvious to anyone who bothered looking that the laws were proposed and enacted to make it more difficult for poor people to vote.
You know, those same places where polling stations have been eliminated, shrunk, and had 'unusual' wait times. Neat how those are the same places that tend to vote Democrat, huh? Can you guess who tends to champion the Voter ID laws?
However, not enough time has passed (elections taken place) to determine the actual effect of the new voter laws - until now. The TL/DR version is this: yep, minorities and the poor have a more difficult time voting, to the tunes of hundreds of thousands of people being disenfranchised. Surprise!
So now what? Will the media respond at all? Will the Democrats challenge the laws, or leave that to advocate groups in their patented Someone Else Do It For Us technique?
Most interesting to me: will establishment Republicans (and their backers) challenge the laws themselves in an act of short term self-sabotage if either Trump or Cruz actually manage to steal the nomination from their picks? Such a move could possibly gain them some good PR, especially among minorities, and reduce the odds of success for their recalcitrant rebels. Most likely they'll do nothing other than their usual bellows of outrage and fear-mongering about Those Dark People Coming To Steal Your Votes And Probably Kill You In Your Sleep I Dunno Just Sayin'. Whatever they decide to do about it (if anything), I'm keeping popcorn at hand!

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posted by Erin Butler at 3:13 pm

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