Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Votes Will Not Be Stolen. No Matter How Hard You Try.

One subtext of Tuesday's stunning election results is just how little return GOP statewide officials who tried to suppress the black vote got on their investment. For months, we'd read (most read, cable news didn't really touch this in any substantive manner) about GOP-led state legislatures that had enacted arcane "voter ID" laws to supposedly crack down on "voter fraud". You know, doubling down on that whole silly ACORN thing that allegedly delivered Obama the election in 2008, ignoring the thousands of black people lined up outside polling precincts as if waiting to enter a free Frankie Beverly & Maze concert. Sports betting sites for USA players could have told you that these were actual real life voters, not "fraud".

In state after state, legislators put in place myriad laws requiring a driver's license or some other arbitrary ID simply to vote, all in the name of fixing a "problem" that only resulted in a miniscule number of bad votes in the first place. It was the epitome of baby/bathwaterism, and I for one will admit that I ignorantly misunderstood the scope of this nonsense repeatedly on this very blog. I'm sorry for that. Genuinely.

In any event, it's now quite clear that despite a litany of efforts to prevent early voting, absentee ballots, and these voter ID laws that actions which were clearly in place to suppress the black vote backfired. And backfired epically.
For many African Americans, this election was not just about holding on to history, but also confronting what they perceived as a shadowy campaign to suppress the black vote.

Black voters responded with a historic turnout here in Ohio and strong showings across a range of battleground states, according to exit poll results. Buoyed by a sophisticated ground operation by the Obama campaign, African Americans helped provide the edge in Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and perhaps Florida, which remained too close to call Wednesday. Their support narrowed President Obama's losing margin in North Carolina.

African American voters described broad support for Obama, despite some disappointments, and a deep feeling of empathy for the political attacks he endured while attempting to revive a disastrous economy. Expectations for his second term are sky-high, many said.

Analysts, voters and politicians said that a series of episodes here in Ohio — where exit polls showed black voters accounting for 15 percent of Tuesday's electorate, up from 11 percent in 2008 — were seen by African Americans as efforts to keep them from voting, stirring a profound backlash on Election Day.

When the Obama campaign successfully sued to open polls on the final weekend of the early-voting period, black voters thronged many polling stations.

The story was similar, if less dramatic, across much of the nation as black voters maintained or heightened their enthusiasm levels from 2008, when Obama was elected the nation's first black president. Their staunch support helped protect his vote totals as white support shifted to Romney; 95 percent of the Republican's voters in Ohio were white, exit poll results show.

The effort to enact a voter ID law in North Carolina — which passed the General Assembly but was vetoed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat — was arguably the biggest factor in getting black people to the polls, said William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Here's why the GOP's outward introspection about needing to pander to Hispanics in order to win future elections comes across as so hollow. These very suppression efforts, clearly aimed at stopping the black vote, also effected Hispanics. More than simply changing tone, the party needs to also change it's policies. When you feel your best way to regain power is to literally stand in the way of the Democratic process, you've got some deeply embedded issues that simply tossing out a Macro Rubio or a Mia Love won't fix.

Simply put: you don't win people's votes by attempting to prevent them from voting in the first place.

So yeah GOP, your whole "regaining the minority vote" talk... good luck with that.

Question: Will the GOP need to better explain and atone for this blatant attempt to suppress the black vote if they hope to "expand the tent"?

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