The Republican Party can hear the sound of their death knell. As Americans turn against the GOP establishment in greater numbers, conservative lawmakers across the country are turning to any scheme or trickery they can pull off in a desperate attempt to tilt the odds back into their favor.
Their favorite strategies are restricting voting rights and gerrymandering voter districts. While we can’t do anything about the gerrymandering until the next U.S. Census, judges and activists are striking back against voter ID laws. Disguised over sudden concerns of all the “voter fraud” that the Republicans themselves are perpetrating, these laws make it harder for young people, blacks, Latinos, and the elderly to vote by restricting what kinds of ID they can use to exercise their voting rights- even though the voter fraud the GOP is so worried about doesn’t exist.
ThinkProgress reported that “a Wisconsin study, for example, found just seven cases of fraud out of 3 million votes cast during the 2004 election — and none of these seven cases were the kind of in-person voter fraud that is prevented by a voter ID law.” It’s no coincidence that the people who are most affected by these laws are much more likely to vote Democrat- Texas’ own investigation found that “found that 4% of eligible White voters lacked SB 14 ID, compared to 5.3% of eligible Black voters and 6.9% of eligible Hispanic voters.”
But, a day before the Voting Rights Act’s 50th birthday, a federal court handed the people of Texas a big win when the Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit- one of the most conservative courts in the country- struck down Governor Greg Abbott’s voter suppression law for blatant violations of the VRA. They affirmed that there was overt discrimination in the bill, confirming what was already clear to everyone.
It’s a huge win that sets an important precedent for similar battles that will be going down across Red America as the 2016 election approaches. As the Republican clown car careens off a cliff under the boorish leadership of Donald Trump, cheating may be all they have left.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.