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Republicans Tearing Down America's Democracy With Massive Voter Suppression

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The Republicans have laid down the gauntlet, they have made it clear that they fully intend to regain control of the U.S. Senate in the upcoming November elections; and accordingly, they have launched a massive movement in both GOP-controlled and some swing states to suppress the vote, their key to winning.

Nate Silver, the political statistician, has determined that there is a 60% probability that Republicans will win back the Senate in the fall. What he didn't say, because he is a statistician not a strategist, is that the Republicans intend to accomplish this great achievement by using strategies that are cleverly designed to suppress the votes of minorities; Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and others.

Republicans know that the secret to winning is to significantly reduce voter turnout; that these minority voters who typically support Democratic candidates by large margins must be kept away from the polls. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats are fully aware of what's the GOP is doing but they seem to be largely caught up in a state of political paralysis instead of working tirelessly to counter this insidious Republican plan.

One simple, but yet very meaningful, definition of democracy is: "a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting." You would think that in this democracy we would be seeing political parties working to increase the number of people voting. Not in the American of today in which we see the GOP doing exactly the opposite. What they are doing is severely weakening this democracy, not strengthening it. And what this should tell the American people is that Republicans have now become enemies of our democracy.

These voter suppression tactics are being aggressively pursued in the 20 GOP-controlled states and key swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. The tactics include strict state government-issued photo ID's, reduced early voting days, elimination of same-day voter registration, less weekend voting, restrictions on absentee ballots, and reduced numbers of polling locations. And to top it off voters in some states will need proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or, if you can believe it, a passport.

This treacherous political entity's main objective is to find ways to make it so difficult to vote that masses of voters will give up in anger and frustration. This insidious plan and strategy comes straight out of the political playbook of Lee Atwater, the brilliant, but very devious GOP strategist of the early 1980's, who determined that Republican's chances of winning elections depended entirely on their ability to restrict the votes of America's minorities.

So while the GOP is accelerating this voter suppression process, what exactly are the Democrats doing to counter this blatant attack on America's democracy? Well, their initial reaction to Silver's conclusions has been to completely dismiss them as lacking substance and depth. But with the knowledge that this suppression technique is being advanced in so many states, these projections should sound the alarms and mobilize Democrats to fight back with all their might and resources to stop this process in its tracks.

To be fair, Democrats have actually been challenging these suppression laws in these rogue Republican-controlled states by taking the issue before the courts to try to reverse them; and, while that is commendable, it's a long and difficult process and far more needs to done. The national Democratic organization needs to pour funds into defeating these suppression efforts in the key states right now rather than saving them for the campaigns leading up to the November elections when it will be too late to reverse the damage that will already have been done.

So here's the strategy that Democrats should use to prevent this catastrophe from happening. They have to realize that they will never be able to match the monumental amounts of money that the GOP candidates will secure from billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. So they need a completely different strategy to address voter suppression; one aimed directly at minorities.

This must entail an aggressive national movement to educate millions upon millions of Americans on the most pressing issues facing this country and warn them of these voter suppression tactics; to facilitate voter registration, to help them obtain appropriate voter ID's, and then use every means to get them to turn out en masse in the November elections.

What is the potential for substantially increasing this voter turnout, does it even exist and, if so, to what degree? The answer is that the potential is there and all that is needed is for the Democratic Party to tap into it. Here are the statistics to support that conclusion:

The current U.S. population is approximately 315 million people. Let's call this the gross eligibility of voters. Now from that number let's subtract the number of minors (76 million) to get a subtotal of 239 million adult Americans. Then let's subtract approximately 20 million felons and non-citizens, and we arrive at a net total of approximately 219 million eligible voters.

Now let's compare those 219 million eligible (not registered or likely) voters with the typical number that show up for a presidential election -- about 118 million. That amounts to no more than 49% of eligible voters who typically vote. When 51% or about 100 million Americans sit out the elections and don't vote, that's pathetic, that's ludicrous and a disgrace to this democracy. And that's exactly what Republicans want.

Want to know how bad America's voter turnout actually is, what a disgrace to this democracy it has become? Let's compare it to the turnout that is found in various other countries around the world. This article indicates that there are 58 other countries that have a far greater voter turnout than that of America. There is Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan , Venezuela , East Timor and even Iran; as well as 53 others. Unbelievable! America, the nation that likes to proclaim itself as the world's greatest democracy has a voter turnout that ranks below many third world countries.

The Democrats must target those millions of Hispanics and African Americans who want nothing to do with the GOP and its twisted ideology and convince them that their vote is crucial in defeating the devious plans of these agents of suppression. The same is true for the women of America who have been, in so many ways, belittled and insulted by these macho Republicans who think that they can control their bodies and their thinking. The women of this nation should turn out in record numbers to drive these tormentors out of office.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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As this important election gets closer we are goin... by michael payne on Thursday, Apr 3, 2014 at 11:14:09 AM
Under the Democrats corporate money and power has... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Apr 3, 2014 at 2:40:30 PM
Thanks for your very in-depth and very insightful ... by michael payne on Thursday, Apr 3, 2014 at 4:42:07 PM
And here you are Michael, blaming the victim. ... by Doc McCoy on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 5:23:46 AM
You are right, the present demise of Democracy ha... by Dennis Kaiser on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 6:06:43 AM
You are correct in all points. For me to keep up ... by Hosea McAdoo on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 11:53:38 AM
you say... , "it just might be because the majori... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:04:28 AM
Spoken like a true progressive / liberal.  Av... by Doc McCoy on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:40:36 AM
Pal: "1.) Most adults vote, I believe. 2.) Ea... by michael payne on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 10:24:09 AM
You want to change human nature. Fact of matter i... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Apr 5, 2014 at 11:51:14 AM
No, I'm not trying to change human nature becaus... by michael payne on Sunday, Apr 6, 2014 at 10:57:36 AM
Most people are not lethargic or lazy, they are ou... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 7, 2014 at 4:23:21 AM
Pal:I've been giving more and more thought to also... by michael payne on Monday, Apr 7, 2014 at 10:19:50 AM
Thanks Paul.  I believe many sincere people w... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 7, 2014 at 12:03:02 PM
Wnat should Democrats do?The PEN' interviewed by J... by Charles Roll on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 6:43:42 AM
Great thoughts and there may be a chance albeit a ... by Hosea McAdoo on Friday, Apr 4, 2014 at 11:47:25 AM
Hosea, I had to agree with you on this, but I do. ... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Apr 7, 2014 at 12:05:03 PM
I think we need to begin thinking out of the box ... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Apr 5, 2014 at 11:46:07 AM