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.