Republican voter suppression tricks only fool stupid, uninformed people who shouldn’t be voting anyway. That statement make you angry? Good. Because that's what too many on the right believe and are even willing to say in public forums. That's what we're up against.
Before we get into the attitudes on the right, a brief review. There's a War on Voting going on out there in our country today. Here's just one recent example that presumably you’ve read about:
Some African American, Spanish-speaking and elderly voters in Florida and Virginia are apparently being targeted by anonymous voter-suppression groups trying to trick them or intimidate them into not voting in the November presidential election, according to election officials and voter protection organizations.Meteor Blades described the phenomenon in more detail here.
The Virginia State Board of Elections is warning residents that "some Virginia voters, particularly older Virginians, are receiving phone calls from unidentified individuals informing voters that they can vote over the phone. This information is false."
In Florida, the 866-OUR-VOTE election protection hotline run by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has received a report of a similar calls in Florida.
Now let's talk about the attitude of some who have reacted to these efforts with a particular disdain for the intended victims.
Here’s a comment from Dan Froomkin’s Huffington Post article cited above:
“If you're so easily fooled by these types of calls, it's not really a good sign that you'll make a good decision in the election.”Now, this commenter also condemned the tricksters as well, but nevertheless, this attitude is quite revealing. I’ve seen it elsewhere when discussing this matter with other conservatives who have essentially said that anyone stupid or gullible enough to believe these lies doesn’t really deserve to vote anyway, or at least that as a country we'd be "better off" if they didn't vote.
This attitude is at the heart of the modern right-wing, which divides Americans into two categories: the worthy and the unworthy, the makers and the takers, the producers and the moochers. It derives from Ayn Rand, and her belief that the wealthy are virtuous, by definition, and everyone else is essentially a loser.
We saw this attitude on display when Mitt Romney revealed his true beliefs to a fundraiser in Florida, where he uttered his infamous comments about the 47% of Americans whom he claimed:
“are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”The Randian elitism of Mitt Romney parallels the feelings about “stupid” and “gullible” voters who might be fooled by Republican dirty tricks. If you aren't able to get past the obstacles placed by those ever-so-helpful stewards of the voting process, then you didn't deserve to vote in the first place. Oh well. The entire right-wing worldview is about dividing American into “us” and “them.” It centers on division, plays on anxiety, and exacerbates fear.
Let’s be clear, I have no problem with logical, rational arguments in favor of conservative policies, arguments that attempt to prove why they are superior to the policies our side favors. But ultimately, the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals want policies that benefit all Americans, and believe that all Americans are worthy of concern, worthy of a real opportunity to succeed, and capable of being productive citizens. Conservatives really are ready to write off a large percentage of the population. That's the harsh truth about conservatism.
PS-Please check out my new book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity, published last month by Potomac Books, where I discuss these issues in greater detail. You can read a review by DailyKos's own Greg Dworkin here.