Democracy is a precious instrument needed to prevent dictators from overcoming the Will of the People. Democracy assures freedom and liberty for everyone. However, the very core of democracy is threatened when political parties of any affiliation work to block and rob certain minorities from voting.
Any American that you ask will tell you that freedom is important to them. No one wants government to control him or her, no matter what political party they belong, if any political affiliation at all. Unfortunately, so many Americans do not choose to exercise their very basic right to vote. It is because we have the right to vote that we have freedom and liberty at all, and without it, dictators can rule and those who are in power can usurp the rights of those who they wish to suppress, such as the right of free speech, right to assemble or the right of habeas corpus .
The Republican Party feels threatened for its viability. It is because it feels threatened that some of its members have begun a campaign to assure its continued viability. Instead of changing to fit a changing nation, it has chosen to try keeping the nation from changing. The method that its members have chosen, at least at the state level, is to find ways to block certain demographics of that state’s citizens from voting.
First, we must realize that these Republican state legislators and governors are not consciously trying to block all African-Americans or all Hispanics from voting, only those who vote Democratic, because they are the very people who threaten its viability. Their method is to block the poor and their main attack is on the poor and those who live in urban areas and vote mostly Democratic. Already, and for a long time now, urban dwellers have had a more difficult time when it comes to voting, with long lines, fewer polling places, and fewer voting machines per capita, though it is by design or by intentional voter suppression.
America’s outdated Electoral College already guarantees that states with smaller populations, which are mostly conservative states, have an equal amount of representation in our federal government. The votes of much smaller demographic, rural, and small town voters disenfranchise large cities that have huge populations.
Voter ID laws, shorter early voting and the end of same-day voter registration, along with other efforts by Republican lawmakers – with very little reason, except to block voter fraud, in which there have been little problem with – have added to the difficulty that the poor and those who live in poverty-stricken areas have when it comes to voting. These efforts show desperation on the part of the Republican Party as a whole. Let us not forget gerrymandering, which Republicans, but even some Democrats, have used to keep their seats in office. All of this takes away from democracy as a whole.
Then, there is a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court who have aided and abetted the Republican Party by knocking down parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This has allowed southern states to be free once again to create laws that would block certain minorities from voting, thereby helping Republican lawmakers to secure their power in government, at least for a while. I say “for a while” because the ruling from that conservative majority on the highest court in the land still has its limits. America’s demographics continue to change and America continues to grow more liberal. The Hispanic population continues to grow, even while the base of the Republican Party refuses to recognize those numbers, perhaps thinking that if they can continue to refuse to cooperate when it comes to immigration reform, which would allow millions of Hispanics to become citizens, they can hold on to the power the party currently holds.
However, it is not the undocumented immigrants that Republican stalwarts need to concern themselves with, it is the Hispanic citizen population, where generation after generation have grown up in this country and continue to grow larger and larger each election cycle. These numbers will finally overthrow a political party that has refused to recognize its needs and its interests.
In addition, for many years, the GOP has been able to count on reliable wedge issues, such as gay rights and same-sex marriage, along with immigration reform. A majority of Americans was especially against gay rights, but now, those issues are no longer a wedge issue with a majority of Americans.
Americans also use to look up to the GOP when it came to foreign policy and protecting America from its enemies. Then, along came the George W. Bush administration and its failed war in Iraq, which soured many Americans on the credibility of the Republican Party when it comes to foreign policy, especially now, with things once again turning for the worse in Iraq. Obviously, the same members of that administration who led us into that war, are now popping up to give their unwarranted advice, like former vice president Dick Cheney, who I consider a war criminal, advising us to send more troops to Iraq. This will only serve further to alienate many Americans.
The GOP needs an entirely new direction that is more in tuned with a changing America. Using voter suppression to block minorities from voting, especially those who Republicans should be winning over at this time in history, will only challenge those minorities to vote even more, despite Republican efforts, and will further cause the American voter, at least gradually as a whole, to drift further and further from voting Republican. It may be many more years in the making but it will come, and the only real losers will be the blind Republican fools who refuse to see the inevitability of their blunder.