Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Report on the Banana Republic of America

From Hullabaloo courtesy of Eschaton:

This is a travesty for our democracy:

"Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

'Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,' said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, Minn.

'There is absolutely no evidence that (voter impersonation fraud) has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States,' Schultz said."

More here.

The obvious conclusion to take from this information, of course, is that there is no need for all these strict voter ID laws being passed by Republican dominated state legislatures throughout the land.

In spite of my continuing despair that our democracy has devolved into a near state of theater without much real consequence, we haven't gotten all the way there yet. That is to say, voters do continue to have some choice over how our nation will be run: the Republicans will take us at teeth-rattling full speed toward economic and cultural collapse; the Democrats will take us there hesitantly, in starts and fits, with a lot of kind words and apology. Personally, I prefer a soft-landing, which is why these voter ID laws matter.

The Republicans would have us believe that voter fraud, that is, people pretending to be other people so they can vote two or more times, thereby giving a false electoral count, is such a dire problem that we need strict identification laws to prevent it. Come to find out, however, that there is no problem with voter fraud--statistically speaking, it just doesn't exist. So these new laws accomplish nothing as far as their ostensible purpose goes. But they do guarantee that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters will not get to vote. It just so happens that most of those among the bureaucratically disenfranchised are within demographics that traditionally vote for Democrats. And a lot of them are also people of color. So what we have here is a nakedly partisan attempt to suppress the vote for Democrats, with a vile and racist secondary impact of essentially re-imposing Jim Crow style marginalization of non-white communities.

I'm not sure how many of rank-and-file Republicans actually understand what's going on, but the elected GOP state representatives who are getting this crap passed are certainly aware of what they're doing: they're rigging the system to maintain power in spite of the collective will of the voters. It remains to be seen whether the racism is intentional, or whether people of color are just being targeted for their voting patterns. In the end, of course, intention doesn't matter. It's a racist result, and that makes it racist.

So the Republicans are literally showing contempt for democracy, and therefore America, while at the same time engaging in blatant racist oppression, something they insist only happened in the past. If you're not disgusted by this, you're not much of an American.