Thursday, December 6, 2012

How The Republicans Almost Stole the Election

Well it turns out that the Republican-led Great Voter Suppression Effort of 2012 was a spectacular failure, in every way.  Not only did most of the laws get struck down, but it also fired more minority voters to go out and vote who otherwise would have stayed home.  The schadenfreude is delicious with this one...follow me below the fold....

First, we have a former GOP leader admit that changes in the voting laws there were about voter suppression, not voter voter fraud, and were designed deliberately to inhibit Democrats from voting:

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”

An examination of provisional ballots shows in one Ohio county showed that 73% of the provisional ballots were cast for the Democratic candidate. 

But the after election analysis showed a curious thing.  While minority enthusiasm for voting originally was down, attempts at voter suppression made it more likely for minorities to go to the polls.

Unfortunately for those Republican strategists' plans, however, other Republicans in legislatures across the country were on a quest to impose restrictions on voting, chasing the ghost of in-person voter fraud.    

Those Republican legislators flipped a switch with the African American vote, Hardy said, rekindling whatever enthusiasm had waned after 2008's historic Obama win.

"We'd been struggling for many years in our communities with how we make the argument that our parents and grandparents had handed down to us: 'you must vote, because people fought and died for you to have the right to vote.' It starts to become a little less motivating the further away you get away from those really visceral memories of what it took to get to the polls," Hardy said. "But then you bring back a 35 state assault on our ability to vote and it starts getting really reminiscent. All of the things our parents were telling us and our grandparents were telling us become visceral to a new generation."

A lot of the polls which misfired, like Gallup, relied heavily on the assumption that minority voters as a share of the electorate would be way down compared to 2008.  But thanks in part, ironically enough to failed attempts to suppress the minority vote, the share equalled or surpassed 2008 numbers, especially in some key battleground states like Virginia.

Will the knowledge that their attempts to suppress minority votes essentially boomeranged on them cause Republicans hearts to grow three sizes and abandon such attempts?  Probably not.  My guess is that they will redouble such efforts.  Unfortunately life rarely turns out much like a heartwarming holiday cartoon.

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