Republican efforts to suppress the vote legally or illegally are nothing new. It is almost a knee-jerk reaction conservatism to protect the very lucrative status quo, which makes Trump’s claim to be some sort of outside, counter-elite champion of the people all the more laughable.
And now we are seeing those efforts in action as long lines queue up to vote in state after state. CNN’s Carol Costello called the lines of people waiting in Raleigh, NC, where it was 36 degrees this morning, “incredible” and Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker magazine reminded her that there is a reason for these long lines, and it has to do with the Republican “decision…to cut the number of places” to vote.
CAROL COSTELLO: I want to put up that shot from Raleigh, North Carolina, of the people in line waiting to vote because it’s incredible. This was taken when the polls just opened. I don’t know what this says about voter turnout because this is just a snapshot, right? But still it’s a beautiful thing to see democracy in action, right? That’s a beautiful thing. I just wanted to put that up to remind people what this day is about.
RYAN LIZZA: Although one thing about these long lines in North Carolina is you can’t forget that this was a decision made by the state to cut the number of places. There are not enough places in some of these states, and as beautiful as it is to see people online getting ready to vote, we shouldn’t have long lines in this country. We should be making it as easy to vote as possible.
COSTELLO: You’re right about that. There should be a lot of polling places to accommodate voters so they don’t have to stand in line.
DAVID SWERDLICK: Yeah. This is something that’s going to carry over, again, to subsequent elections, right, Carol? This idea that only in states controlled by Republican legislatures has early voting been reduced, or have the number of polling places like North Carolina been reduced. And as demographics shift and as subsequent presidential elections take place, we’re really going to see if this winds up being effective for Republicans or if Republicans are going to be forced to expand the number of, the demographics of their voting base.
As David Swerdlick of The Washington Post explained to Costello, there is a direct correlation between these events and Republican legislatures, as it is only in states controlled by the GOP that early voting has been reduced, creating scenes like this, from Raleigh:
Line at 6am at Bedford Clubhouse (Precinct 13-10) in Raleigh. Polls open at 630am. It's 36 degrees. pic.twitter.com/cEF2oPSSkk
— Victor Blackwell CNN (@VictorBlackwell) November 8, 2016
It is to the Republican Party’s advantage if people don’t vote, particularly minorities, and it is past time the mainstream media take a good hard look at voting suppression efforts that harm our democratic process.