Friday, October 22, 2010

Voter Suppression and Intimidation: Is There Anything More Anti-Democratic?

There’s nothing new about voter suppression, and while it’s no surprise that its current incarnation comes from the far right, it’s nonetheless startling to see what lengths its Republican Tea Partiers will go to intimidate, discourage, and fear monger folks into not voting—especially when those folks are African and/or Hispanic American and more likely to vote for Democrats.

Consider a campaign ad run by a conservative front group, Latinos for Reform, urging Latino Nevadans not to vote: "Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted." It’s hard to imagine a more baldly cynical manipulation of the voting electorate—though no wonder at all that Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle, as of this writing, remains silent. She benefits from this racist maneuver.

Whether you’re white, brown, black or blue, if this doesn’t drive you to the polls in November, nothing will; and it should drive you with equal vigor away from the party willing to resort to any strategy to win.

This same group “shook up the 2008 elections, when they cropped up in Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Mexico with an ad campaign that sought to drive racial divisions using a supposed allegiance of then candidate-Obama to African-Americans over Latinos.” It’s the old divide and conquer strategy adapted from the Republican book of dirty tricks. Whether the tactic is to divide the working class poor from the indigent, blacks from browns from whites, men from women, gays from straights, the goal’s the same: keep the citizens who have the most to lose by a Republican majority in Congress whose middle aged white male wealthy employ them at survival wages—black, brown, female, non-Christian, young, and gay—from voting.

Consider the Wisconsin Tea Party’s (astro-turfed by Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin) documented plan for the November ballot: “The Republican Party of Wisconsin will use its “Voter Vault” state-wide voter file to compile a list of minority and student voters in targeted Wisconsin communities. Americans for Prosperity will use this list to send mail to these voters indicating the voter must call and confirm their registration information, and telling them if they do not call the number provided they could be removed from the voter lists. The Tea Party organizations will recruit and place individuals as official poll workers in selected municipalities in order to be able to make the challenges as official poll workers. On Election Day, these organizations will then “make use” of any postcards that are returned as undeliverable to challenge voters at the polls, utilizing law enforcement, as well as attorneys trained and provided by the RPW, to support their challenges.”

Need to see any more?

The Tea Party Republicans are not a party—they’re an organized hit squad for their corporate controllers at America, Inc. My critics are right—it’s no longer sufficient to call this party racist. With despicable strategies like this, they’re in fact corporatized fascists whose primary operatives clearly know one thing: If THE PEOPLE voted, the Tea Party would be exposed as the front for corporate greed it is, their true-believers left empty-pocketed, their ill-got power history.

Voter suppression: brought to you by your Tea Party Republican (and fake Libertarian) friends whose defense of the Constitution is nothing but a ruse to sucker your attention while they make millions—on your foreclosures, your credit defaults, your need of a living wage, and your inability to recognize the difference between blind loyalty to their profit margins and genuine patriotism.

Wendy Lynne Lee (589 words)