Across the land, Republican state legislators have shouted “voter fraud, voter fraud” to justify various schemes to restrict voting. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now leading the charge, which makes sense since the phony fraud redounds to his benefit.
Legislative actions, written by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, are intended to hamper African-American and Latino voting. Legislators have all but said that they can still smell the Rio Grande on new voters. But they cry wolf and have created a public understanding that in no way reflects reality. As is well known by those who’ve bothered to investigate, voting restrictions are the true fraud.
The disputed Bush-Gore election of 2000 galvanized Republicans, keenly aware how America’s unfolding demographics threatened to make them a permanent minority national party, overwhelmed by emergent, enlarging blocs of ethnic voters long antagonized by the GOP. Since then, we have been victimized by carefully calibrated public relations campaigns alleging that loyal, upstanding, law-abiding Americans are being negated by voter corruption. It is not true.
Make no mistake: This is a Republican, corporate-funded effort to exclude American citizens from the voting process. Fifty years ago, we battled to expand the American electorate to include those deliberately excluded; today’s battles are intended to reverse that achievement. Richard Nixon, a man with sharp political antennae, enthusiastically endorsed voting by 18-year-olds, seeing the potential for Republican support. It may be hard to believe, but Nixon once was a young man very much attracted to the then-progressive wing of the Republican Party. His insight proved prophetic when young voters flocked to Ronald Reagan.