In a close election, the Republican plan could call into question the legitimacy of the next president. An election conducted on this basis could lead to turbulence on election day and possibly an extended period of lawsuits contesting the outcome in various states. Bush v. Gore would seem to have been a pleasant summer afternoon. The fact that their party’s nominee is currently stumbling about, his candidacy widely deemed to be in crisis mode, hasn’t lessened their determination to prevent as many Democratic supporters as they can from voting in November.
This national effort to tilt the 2012 election is being carried out on the pretext that the country’s voting system is under threat from widespread “voter fraud.” the fact that no significant fraud has been found doesn’t deter the people pursuing this plan. Myths are convenient in politics. Want to fix an election? No problem. Just make up a story that the other side is trying to rig the election—and meanwhile try to rig the election. (Jon Stewart recently concluded a searing segment about the imagined voter fraud by saying: “Next, leashes for leprechauns.”)
I've been saying this since it became apparent that the GOP was trying to de-legitimize the Obama presidency since day one, since my own senator Mitch McConnell announced that the GOP's aim was to make President Obama a one-term president. The "by any means necessary" was implied. And 2010 put them in precisely the situation they needed to be in in order to carry out the plan: in charge of a number of state legislatures and governor's mansions in a redistricting year.
The Republicans have been making particularly strenuous efforts to tilt the outcomes—in most of the “swing states”: Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. The Republican leader of the House in Pennsylvania, previously considered a swing state, was careless enough to admit publicly that the state’s strict new Voter ID law would assure a Romney victory in November. In fact a state document submitted in court offered no evidence of voter fraud. On September 18, Pennsylvania’s supreme court sharply rebuked a lower court’s approval of the law, questioning whether the law could be fairly applied by the time of the election. This battle continues despite the fact that the Romney campaign in mid-September suspended its efforts in Pennsylvania because polls show that Obama was substantially ahead. Even if the state’s electoral votes are not in question the outcome could still decide whether a great many people will be allowed to vote in November, and could also affect the popular vote.
Eight states have already passed Voter ID laws—requiring a state-approved document with a photograph in order to register or vote, a form of identification that an estimated 11 percent or over 21 million of American citizens do not possess. But these laws are just part of an array of restrictions adopted to keep Democrats from voting. Some use other means to make registration difficult, or put strict limits on the number of days before the election that votes can be cast , or cut back the hours that polling places can stay open.
And news now that Ohio Republicans plan to implement strict voter ID laws in 2013 just brings all that home. The GOP plan to win elections hinges on limiting the number of people who are allowed to vote through disenfranchisement of millions of minorities, elderly, the working poor, and students. If these laws stand, they will be red for another generation...and remember that Republicans are now on record as wanting to limit voting to as few people as possible.
This is the real thrust of the 47% attack.
How far is it to go from saying "Boy, these moochers and looters don't pay any income taxes" to "And why should they be allowed to vote?" Not very, especially when the groups you're trying to blame for America's economic woes are the same ones you're blaming for electing the people who you say "aided and abetted" in those woes.
If you don't see the 47% as Americans, as your fellow citizens, or even as fellow humans, why would you resist the effort to disenfranchise them, especially when it means your vote becomes more powerful as a result? The last gasp of white privilege is a powerful siren song to resist, something that could give the GOP the legislative and executive branch power they need to control the judicial...and then the game is really over.
If you think your vote is worthless now, sit out this election and the next few and see what happens. 2010 was just a taste.