This article was written well ahead of scheduled publishing in order to accommodate my travel plans.
I predicted the possibility of massive voter intimidation in 2022. For the most part I was incorrect. However, I fear I may have just been premature. The Republicans severely underperformed in 2022. Their MAGA base will never blame it on bad candidates and/or the lack of a platform that addressed the voters’ concerns. The professional political class of Republicans have spent at least since 2009 ignoring the issues and are simply obsessed with winning at any cost including American democracy and the welfare of much of their current base. In fact, their goal is eventually to eliminate voters from the equation.
Today I want to concentrate on voter suppression and voter intimidation – the voter nullification gambit suffered a severe setback in 2022 thanks to the electorate.
It was actually the Democrats who started voter suppression in the wake of the Civil War. Despite the law it was all but impossible for a Black male to vote in many southern states until well into the 1960’s. I worked the 2012 campaign in North Carolina and still faced a few Blacks who were too afraid of retaliations to vote. Post World War II, over a period of roughly 20 years, the parties changed positions on race and the Republican party became the voter suppressors.
The right is pushing the supremacy of state legislatures mainly because the Republicans currently control a bunch of states. Remember the success of project Red Map in the 2010 election. As with judges the Democrats were slow to pick this up. In fact, I contend that for the most part the Democrats are still basically asleep at the wheel on this issue. The biggest decision the Supreme Court will issue in 2023 will be in Moore v Harper, on the surface a redistricting case, which comes out of North Carolina where the Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly and the Governor is not involved in redistricting.
The right wing reaction to Tuesday’s underperformance has included proposals to raise the voting age back to 21 to prevent young people from voting for Democrats and some sort of proposal I don’t quite understand that would make young women get married in order to be eligible to vote. The strategy is obvious: until they completely nullify the voters the Republicans want to limit voters to those who fit their preferred demographics.
For the most part voter intimidation in 2022 was limited to some armed people playing dress up and “monitoring” drop boxes in Arizona in an obvious effort to intimidate people and hope they never did end up casting a vote. Eventually the courts stepped in but it still took a few days. They will not be so stupid the next time around. They will make their big intimidation push on Election Day when any court action will be too late to matter.
There is a good chance that Trump messed up the 2022 election so badly that he will not be the Republican nominee in 2024. If that is the case, who do you think they are going to run, a Bernie Sanders stand-in? Trump may or may not be gone by then but Trumpism will still be on the ballot in 2024. My fear is that we have someone like Ted Cruz or Ron DeSantis. They are both as evil as Trump but unlike him are smart and actually have some political talent.
I was wrong about voter intimidation in 2022 and am happy to admit it! I just fear that my error has a time limit.
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