For years, Republicans have connived to make sure that you couldn’t vote. Today is the day when you march to the polling place, and stand proud in the long lines that their conspiracy has delivered to tell them NO!
Republicans have been scheming for years to deny or suppress the Democratic and minority vote. Under the ruse of voter fraud, they attempted to pass voter ID laws in swing states with the intention of disenfranchising young people, minorities, the poor, the disabled, urban dwellers, and the elderly.
These targets were chosen because they were the heart of the Obama coalition in 2008. The face of the electorate was changing. It was getting younger and darker, and the Republican Party saw itself surrounded by older white faces.
Republicans faced a choice after the election of Obama. They could have either embraced the oncoming demographic changes and moved their party to the center right, or they could dig themselves a deeper trench, hunker down and try to fight the forces of irresistible change. When the Obama coalition was dispirited and didn’t vote in 2010, their decision was made.
Republicans saw in that midterm election a path to victory in 2012. They could win if all of those Obama supporters didn’t show up, and the best way to make sure that they didn’t show up was to make it as difficult as possible to vote. Their task became easier after the 2010 election gave them control of the electoral process in critical swing states. They tried to keep you out with voter ID laws in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They tried to discourage you by cutting early voting in places like Ohio and Florida.They tried everything they could think of make sure that 2008 never happened again.
But to their dismay, this wasn’t the America of 2000 or even 2004. Their moves were met with media attention and public outrage, but more importantly, their moves were challenged by an administration is Washington that holds voting sacred. Voter ID laws and cuts in early voting were challenged and defeated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Texas. Rick Scott in Florida cut early voting hours, but couldn’t eliminate early voting.
For the last two years when they tried to tell us that we couldn’t vote, Barack Obama had our back.
The president did us a solid. Now it is time for us to return the favor.
It is cold in much of the country. In some areas, it is raining. In others, it is snowing. The grim cleanup and task of rebuilding after Sandy looms large for many others. In places like Florida and Ohio, the Republicans got their way. The lines are long. The potential for chaos is ripe. In those lines there is one last final unspoken message from Republicans, “We don’t want your vote. See how long these lines are? Why don’t you just go home?”
They want you to sit this one out. They want you to be discouraged and afraid. Republicans around the country hope that you spend your day doing anything other than the one thing that they desperately don’t want you to do.
Mitt Romney is counting on you to not vote. All of the Romney campaign’s polling assumes that the electorate is whiter and smaller than in 2008. In order for Romney to win, all of the public polling has to be off by 4 points. Romney gets the four points he needs, if you don’t show up to vote. But what is at stake is larger than the selection of a president. What is at stake is your place in our democracy.
If Republicans win, the voter suppression of 2012 will become the new normal. What no one is talking about is that Republicans are trying to win their war against the nation’s changing demographics by making sure that those young and old black and brown faces can’t vote. This election isn’t only about suppression and disenfranchisement in 2012. Republicans are trying to permanently suppress and disenfranchise you.
The good news is that you control your own fate.
Bring a book, bring a chair, bring a friend, turn their long lines into a celebration of your glorious freedom and loud voice. You can undo all of the scheming and backroom planning of Republicans and their billionaire backs simply by showing up.
Voting is acting of defiance against a will that the wealthy few are trying to impose on the many.
Your mission today is to stand in the rain, stand in the snow, stand tall and stay in that line for however long it takes. Make your voice heard by defying those who are trying to suppress your vote.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association