I had to turn off Morning Joe this morning. There was entirely too much focus on what the Republicans need to do now in order to win, and of course the unspoken assumption that Obama MUST "reach across the aisle", which the Republicans can choose to go along with or not, as suits their fancy.
But wait a minute. We need to discuss voter suppression. What was it? Why did it or didn't it work? One of the first sentences in Obama's speech had to do with fixing it. We cannot allow this to be swept under the rug in the rush to make a "Grand Bargain." It's more important than the mainstream media want to make it out to be.
Ok, so what was voter suppression?
Clearly it was a way for Republicans to come to terms with demographics that were and are continuing to move against them. If you can't win with the voting population you have, change the voting population. "Voter Fraud" was a clever way to do that, without admitting that was what you were doing. And the mainstream media never, for the most part, went beyond "on the one hand, Democrats say, on the other hand, Republicans say" analysis. Therefore, that this was a profound attempt to change the rules went unmentioned in "polite society" It was nothing less than an attempted sellout of the 1960's Civil Rights movement, an attempted latter-day "end of Reconstruction".
It didn't work, but let's not forget about it just yet. Why didn't it work? In the first place, the most egregious efforts on voter suppression were struck down or postponed by the courts. Beyond that, an important point is that voter suppression produced a mighty backlash of people who were mad as hell that they might be disenfranchised and were determined to vote come hell or high water. It helped supply the missing enthusiasm for our side that the mainstream prognosticators thought would not be there.
It didn't work, but that doesn't mean they didn't try to do it. If the courts were a little worse than they are, it might have. If the surprise backlash weren't as strong, it might have. We dodged a bullet and we can't forget that voter suppression was an essential part of their campaign strategy. It fits perfectly into the Romney 47% worldview which thinks voter suppression is okay because "those people" don't REALLY deserve to vote anyway. That's what they think. REALLY.
This falls in the pattern of other Republican efforts such as Citizens' United, right-to-work laws and the rest. If you can't compete with the electorate you have, change the electorate by using the power of the government to weaken your opponents. We cannot afford to think these efforts will not continue.
Democrats have not been as adept at this game. But we ought to be better. We need to fight, in this era of "grand bargains" for which we will be under great pressure to accommodate to, to establish firmly the principle in law if necessary, that all citizens have an equal right to vote. This should be part of any "grand bargain". We should not be making any grand bargains at least until we've established that this will not happen again.
UPDATE: wow, I wrote this thing yesterday after getting practically no sleep on election night. It didn't really feel solid in my mind, and I figured that, like most of what I write, it would soon be forgotten. Now here it is in the Spotlight. On reading it again it hangs together better than I thought. Guess I should try writing without sleep more often.
As a solution, what about a Federal ID that could be used, and mandatorily accepted, if provided by the voter, in all federal elections. Say, a tax return, or some other document with address. if a state was being really shitty about making IDs hard to get, this could be an alternative ID for voting. Worth a thought.
and then we have this:
Turd Blossom Speaks
Now they are trying to muddy the waters by equating negative campaigning (which Republicans would NEVER, EVER DO) with voter suppression. "You're the voter suppressors, not us".
We must not let them get away with this crap. They are equating using the power of the state to prevent people from voting with at worst persuading people to stay home. And I don't even accept that. Obama's ads were designed to get people to vote for him. The fact that someone would never ever vote for Obama even though they are convinced by his ads to also dislike Romney is NOT OBAMA's FAULT.