Ari Berman’s “The GOP’s War on Voting”
American politics has never been messier. With Fox News, CNN and MSNBC relentlessly competing for our ears, the result is a cacophony of competing ideas. To be sure, our current political climate is a stormy, confusing one; with an endless array of twists, turns and doublespeak that make it nearly impossible for the busy, everyday person to keep up.
And that’s exactly what certain politicians and political power brokers want. A confused populace makes it that much easier to quietly pass devastating pieces of legislation like those currently coming down the pike in state houses across the country; each one expertly designed to keep American citizens from exercising their right to vote.
Rolling Stone writer Ari Berman’s phenomenal article “The GOP’s War on Voting” is a horrifying read. Berman delves deep into a coordinated campaign to suppress entire demographics of the United States electorate. And this campaign stands to succeed because the Republican Party has mastered the art of the trumped-up crisis. Under the guise of cracking down on alleged widespread “voter fraud,” inane restrictions on voting are cropping up in state houses across the country. And the stakes are high. Berman writes:
“All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.”
Berman outlines four key areas central to their efforts to disenfranchise voters. These areas include (1.) unnecessary, bureaucratic barriers to registration, (2.) cuts to early voting, (3.) requiring a Government-issued photo ID, and (4.) disenfranchising ex-felons.
Their tactics will disproportionally impact young people, minorities, students, immigrants, ex-felons and the elderly.; demographics central to the historic turnout that opened the doors of the White House to Barack Obama in 2008. The GOP knows exactly what they’re doing. And they’ll succeed as long as we remain uninformed and uninterested in making our voices heard in America’s ongoing political discourse.
They want you distracted by Kardashians and Katy Perry songs. They want you watching ESPN instead of C-SPAN. They are betting on you not giving a shit. Prove them wrong.
We implore you to check out Berman’s article; get informed, get angry, and get turned on to the shady political dealings of the GOP.
Because in the words of Ralph Nader, “If you’re not turned on to politics, politics will turn on you.”