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Voter ID laws are only the beginning.  Voter ID is the least of what they have in store to suppress the vote.  They only did it first to test the waters, see just how far SCOTUS will let them go in having their red states limit the suffrage, the most basic aspect of citizenship, but the aspect of citizenship that our basic constitutional scheme leaves the most in the hands of the states.

They have no choice.  If they don't do something to counter the demographic tide, and do it soon, they are finished as a party and a movement.  What they do can't be small, it can't be just voter ID laws.  The demographic tide is too high, it will wash over the meager barrier of voter ID.

They need to restrict the franchise by wealth.  Legally, this will be no problem.  The constitutional precedents are quite clear.  Most states had some sort of outright property ownership requirement for voting at the time the Constitution was written, and no amendment has ever been passed making it impossible for states to revert to such requirements.  Oh, SCOTUS could find in any restriction of the franchise based on wealth the intent or effect of disenfranchising by race or color, which has since been forbidden, by the 15th Amendment.  The Warren court almost certainly would have been able to see such racist intent in a property requirement.  Good luck with the Roberts Federalist Society majority finding racist intent anywhere.

No, I don't think that even the reddest states would adopt an open, honest property requirement, even though it would be as legal as church on Sunday.  Public opinion is not ready for that, it isn't ready for open and honest oligarchy.  But since when have these people limited themselves to the open and the honest?  

Probably the easiest way for them to get an effective property restriction of the franchise without making that explicit, will be by packaging their proposal as a fraud protection measure.  Voter ID laws only purport to close off a small part of the potential vulnerability of the system to fraud created by imperfections of the voter rolls.  Sure, the rolls are not corrected perfectly, with perfect timeliness, to remove the names of people who have died.  And since the dead can be trusted not to show up to vote and expose your fraud, anyone who wants to use impersonation fraud has to resort to impersonating the dead who are still on the rolls to avoid having their fraudulent voters caught red-handed if the voters they are impersonating have already voted.  But the voting rolls have a much larger defect than the dead voter lag.  When people change address, and some of us do that a whole lot more often than we die, there is also often a lag in updating the rolls.

Now, it so happens that the some of us who tend to change address a lot more often than the one time in life that we die, tend to vote Democratic.  Students, the young in general, the working poor in general, working people in general, tend to live in apartments rather than fixed abodes.  A law that required a stable residence -- a year, five years, why not ten years? -- at the same address as a precondition for the vote, would tend to have the same effect as limiting the franchise to homeowners.  An exception in practice could be made to keep people who own their homes from having any waiting period, as the deeds that record ownership could be made to convey the franchise at the time of sale.  You wouldn't necessarily need a fixed time limit against the apartment dwellers, you could simply make the process of being certified as being of stable residence -- to prevent fraud, mind you, and not at all to keep the non-wealthy from voting -- automatic for people who purchase homes, and difficult and onerous for people who rent.  Yes, the burdens could well include some sort of registration fee.  Of course our side will call that a poll tax, but we're not the majority on SCOTUS are we, so who cares what we think?

What our side thinks would become completely irrelevant if they can get apartment-dwellers excluded from voting in states where they control the state lege.  Most definitely, apartment dwellers will not like this developement, and would vote to throw the bums out.  But, oh, apartment dwellers won't be voting in those states, will they?  States like PA would become red states overnight, and red at all levels; local, state, and national.  

Sure, these laws will further blacken the name of their party in our states, where working people will still be voting.  But the idea is that they get such laws in enough states to control 51% of the EC, and 51% of the Senate and the House.  If they do this, and that should be quite doable in a nation that is close to evenly split even before they edit the voting rolls, the states with the limited franchise control at the federal level, and forever.  There will be no federal intervention to give the franchise back to the working class.

The only thing that's going to stop them is our side getting the trifecta this election, before they have a chance to implement, and passing a law federalizing all elections in this country, including the Holy Grail of voting, defining the franchise.  It's not who votes that counts, it's not even who counts the votes, as Stalin cynically observed, it's who counts to vote that is the most fundamental to getting and holding power.

This ultimate and final voting law will destroy their party by making the franchise universal, as surely as their property restriction would destroy ours by limiting the franchise to the wealthy.  If we do this -- pass a law pre-empting state control of the franchise -- make no mistake, we will have no choice but to exempt this law from SCOTUS jurisdiction, because there is no way the Federalist Society junta on the court would let this law stand.  To insure that the other side cannot regroup to frustrate reform, this law would have to leave no measure of universality on the table.  We will have to grant citizenship, immediately, to all who live in this country, documented or not, to all felons who have served their sentences, and we would have to do everything possible to make sure they all vote.  We align elections at all levels with federal elections, we allow and facilitate early voting and voting by mail, we set aside a Saturday for in-person voting, and finally we make registration and voting mandatory to avoid a tax penalty.  We can get 99% of adult Americans registered, and 95% of them voting in every election  -- other countries do this -- and if we do, the Rs are as dead as the Whigs.

If we don't, we're as dead as the Whigs.

A half century ago, our party did something extraordinary.  It repudiated the segregationist franchise, and thereby threw away the formerly Solid South.  The other party would not have won a single election at the federal level since then without the votes of the segregationists.  Repudiating the segregationists ended the lock on power we had enjoyed from the time of FDR, but it had to be done no matter what the immediate practical consequences.

The other side understands this struggle clearly.  Only by taking advantage of the racism of a sizable minority of Americans, have they have they been able to claw their way back to parity from the political graveyard their party inhabited 50 years ago.  And now they see their hold slipping away forever as a combination of hated minorities approach majority status in key states, minorities for whom they can so little disguise their hate that they have passed the point of no return on ever getting their votes.  They must deny the vote to these voters they can never hope to win, but once having done that, they can rule undisturbed.

Our party must complete what we started 50 years ago, or even the gains of 50 years ago will be lost.  We must give all Americans citizenship, full citizenship including voting rights, and then get them all voting.  We will not have government of and for the people until and unless we get government by all the people.    

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:42:22 PM PDT

  •  The other factor in this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins, Smoh

    is the role of corporations--now considered to be persons--who are attempting to become the new lords in a neofeudal society.

    •  The ownership society (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug, Smoh, Ojibwa

      Of course the Malefactors of Great Wealth would directly favor restricting the vote to owners of substantial property, and not just for the indirect reason that such a restriction would tend to keep undesirable races from voting.

      Granted that the moderately well-off, people who own homes, for example, have interests not so clearly and diametrically opposed to the truly wealthy as the working poor, this middle class still mostly has interests that align more closely with the poor than the wealthy.  The other side is well aware of this, so they are constantly harping on their idea of "the ownership society" as one way to gull the middle class into believing themselves more in line with the wealthy than the poor.

      The basic idea is a variant of the same more general idea that Romney was pushing with his 47% comments.  The 47% have no true and abiding interest in the good of the commonwealth because they do not contribute to its upkeep, they are tax eaters, not taxpayers.  This is exactly the sort of thinking, similar even in phrasing, to the rationale early in our history for restricting the franchise to people who met certain property ownership requirements.

      In application to voitng in particulat, Rasmussen had this revealing pet idea he pushed a while back (for all I know, he still does this, but I haven't subscribed to his site since less biased sources of polling data have become avialable, so I haven't examined his site myself since 2004), of reporting his polling results separately for members of "the ownership society" (which he defined as voters who owned stock, even as little as 401K holdings in mutual funds), vs voters who weren't "owners".  The idea was that only the former really counted, only they had informed and stable opinions.  It's a small jump from that idea to the idea that only members of the ownership society be allowed to vote.

      The opposite end of the idea of the ownership society can be seen in Dubya's plan to privatize SocSec.  Part of the rationale was that investing payroll tax collections in the NYSE rather than distributing the money to current retirees, was the supposed greater returns the retirees would get.  But part of it was that the privatized plan would enlist everyone who collects a paycheck into the ownership society, get them all invested in NYSE, and thereby make them all give the hostage of their retirement savings to the continued good health of the NYSE.  The poorest of the working poor would acquire an interest in making sure the NYSE stayed profitable, and lose any interest in keeping the average wage level into the future increasing, which is the worker's interest in a social insurance system such as SocSec.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thankfully Most of the Voter ID Laws (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, thomask, gtomkins

    Were stopped this time around however, many of them are likely to be implemented for the next time around and we must do everything we can to fight these laws.

    •  2012 isn't their big year (0+ / 0-)

      There are many other indicators that the other side has viewed the 2012 cycle as a rebuilding year, not a time to seriously contest full and final control of the federal govt.  Their A team stayed away from the presidential race, leaving it to a very weak field.  And presidential cycles are systematically bad for them, because turnout is highest in presidential years.  Better to wait until 2016, when the Ds won't have the incumbency advantage, to make the big push for the WH.  And better to wait for 2014, with no president on the ballot to push turnout up, for the big push to finish taking over Congress.

      So, sure, they advanced voter ID laws too late for most of them to be, mostly, enforced this year, because of the issue of timeliness, that it is too late for them to be implemented without being so unfair as to make even R-friendly judges gag.  Big deal.  They will be in place by 2014 and 2016, when they will be needed for the big push.

      More than that, these laws will have gotten all the way through judicial review by 2014-16.  The results of that review, plus the resutls of the review of the Voting Rights Act that Roberts has promised us for 2013, will define the contours of what the other side will be able to get away with in 2014-16 in the way of voter suppression.  Voter ID is important, because even one % point is important in a closely divided country, but it is small potatoes compared to what they might do.

      Again, my fear, as expressed at greater length above, is that their big target is to use fake concern over voting fraud to go after a bigger target, mobility of residency as it creates the fake danger of fraud by making it hard to maintain perfectly updated voter rolls.  They will know much better what the Roberts court will let them get away with in that effort to disenfranchise apartment dwellers, and thereby the working class, in time for 2014-16.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 10:05:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    Recommended by:
    Smoh, gtomkins

    The Right in America whether it is the old Dixiecrat Right or the new Tea Party Right have used methods to disenfranchise American citizens from the decision-making process via the ballot box.  Tactics have changed, the ideas remain the same.

    The Dixiecrats employed Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, "literacy tests", and physical intimidation( the Klan burning a Black registrant out of house and home on the evening of an election). The junior version of the Dixiecrats the Tea Party, pushes for more ID laws to get rid of the impoverished, the elderly, college students from voting. As Joseph Lowrey once commented in a speech in Cleveland,"Everything has changed,not has changed."

    Last year, Think Progress highlighted a Tea Party fanatic floating the idea of having property owners vote in elections. This idea along with abolishing the Voting Rights Act(Todd Akin), challenges to the Section Five provision of the Voting Rights Act, abolishing the 17th Amendment concerning direct of election of US Senators by the voters all but spell a pattern of what the far Right wants to do: stick obstacles on the way to the ballot box.

    Yes, with changing demographics happening before our very eyes, we can expect the Koch brothers through their arm ALEC to make a push in the Statehouses to do such a thing with the AM radio shows, think tanks, bloggers hyping the movement.

    Thank you for this diary. This should be on the Sunday Kos feature section.

    •  ALSO (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, gtomkins

      purging voter rolls, "ballot security"(William Rehnquist denied he ever done it),and billboards are used by Tea Party activists and their supporters.

      •  True the Vote (0+ / 0-)

        They have organized the efforts you are referring to as the True the Vote movement.

        If they also had voter suppression laws along the lines I talk about in this diary, laws creating complicated restricitons based on residence, that would make their True the Vote effort that much more effective.  The two would work in synergy, as many people who could comply with the complicated provisions of the new laws would be deterred from even trying by the example of other people being sent to prison for failing to dot every i and cross every t as they tried to register and vote.  

        We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

        by gtomkins on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:25:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The same segregationists (0+ / 0-)

      The point, which I make at greater length in the diary, is that these are indeed the same segregationists, with the same ideology, as in Jim Crow days.

      There is this huge difference between now and Jim Crow days.  Back then, these people were Bourbon Democrats.  They had no higher ambition then but to maintain apartheid only in their own states, only in the old Confederacy.  And the practical state of federalism then was such that they could get away with that, the rest of the country wasn't going to enforce the 15th Amendment on them (nor the 14th for that matter).

      Then we got the Warren court on the judicial side, and the Johnson administration on the legislative side, to break the corrupt bargain whereby the Bourbon Democrats had been allowed to maintain their system of slavery by another name in their states.  The federal govt and the national Democratic Party started enforcing the 14th and 15th, and Jim Crow's legal framework was destroyed.

      The segregationists have never given up, and our party's expulsion of the Bourbon Democrats has given them their chance to claw back.  The South did not turn entirely Republican entirely overnight (much more rapidly at the presidential level, much more slowly the more retail the political level), but by now the other party has almost completely taken over the Solid South, solid now for the other party.  

      But they can no longer rebuild a segregated society just in one corner of this country.  Now they have to win at the national level, they have to control the national courts and the national legislature, and they therefore have to spread their system to enough states to control the whole.  They have to make segregation viable everywhere, just as their Slavocrat spiritual ancestors had to make slavery viable everywhere, just to preserve it in their corner of the country.

      This is now an unavoidable fight to the death between the two parties.  They either suppress the effective right of minorities to vote in enough states to relaibly and permanently control the federal government, or they will be destroyed by the demographic tide.  We either keep them from doing that by imposing true, practical, universal suffrage, or their scheme works and we are permanently out of power.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 09:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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