Discovering hypocrisy on the right these days is tantamount to discovering water in oceans, especially with Republicans denouncing the ability of government stimulus spending to create jobs, while privately requesting stimulus funds for their districts on the grounds of the number of jobs created. The fact that Republicans’ pseudo patriotic rhetoric about freedom and democracy coexists in contradiction with its efforts to circumvent both the spirit and practice of democratic governance with false and misleading propaganda and voter suppression likewise is a “the sun is hot” sort of revelation.
But as pernicious as many elements of the class war against the middle and working classes are, whether it is redistributing the tax burden downward, installing privileges and incentives for the wealthy and powerful in the tax code, suppressing wages for workers while inflating CEO and executive pay, choking off wherever possible government’s efforts to empower and improve the lives of ordinary citizens in multifarious ways, perhaps nothing is so manifestly vile as the efforts not only to buy elections and buy the government but to literally prevent that bottom 99% from redressing the economic attack upon it at the ballot box by erecting obstacles to the ability to cast votes.
If you long ago deemed your own candid agenda publicly indefensible to America’s voters and therefore are long past debating ideas in the public square, doubling down on hard propaganda and voter suppression, then a coordinated effort like the one currently underway across the states to deter voting is a logical extension and a hardening up of the ongoing anti-democratic mission.
Common sense informs that the better off voters upon which Republicans depend enjoy a time and transportation flexibility, as well as comparative financial ease not available to lower income and elderly voters for instance, meaning finding just the right petty hardships to throw in the way of likely Democratic voters doesn’t require a lot of thinking, only avarice. In some democracies, and perhaps in this one at one time, when a party takes a couple of successive beatings at the ballot box such as Republicans endured in 2006 and 2008, a customary response would be a reconsideration of the party’s priorities, a softened ideological edge or perhaps an effort at broader appeal. But the natural response of today’s Republicans after the Obama landslide was simply how to deter those additional voters from exercising their right to vote again.
The kinds of raw power plays brazenly undertaken by Republican governors and legislatures in so many states, either reducing the ability of the 99% to defend itself politically through attempts to cripple the unions advocating for middle-class workers in the political realm, or bluntly erecting barriers to casting votes should be as loudly and prominently denounced by the Occupy movement as the other strategies and tactics of the economic elite and its conservative political minions in the escalating war against the rest.
And a war is exactly what it is. Many of us long have been impatient with well-meaning but misguided insistence that these are ordinary political times calling for liberal fidelity to “reasonable debate” to parlor disagreement with the opposition, mild language and tempered responses to the other sides’ crude aggression. But American conservatism and its Republican representation reached a level of extremism and absolutism that surpassed conventional politics long ago, and now fits snugly with the literal definition of war, having rejected political back and forth and democratic engagement as squishy anachronisms inadequate to the purer goal of utter domination, to annihilation of the political opposition as well as irreversible solidification of the economic order. Class war, emphasis on war.
Of course, Republicans have voter suppression in their DNA by now, physically manifested with tactics such as (to list a few):
-get out the vote phone jamming.
-misleading and misinforming mailers targeting low income or minority districts.
-“security guards” at polling places for the purpose of intimidation
-“poll watchers” who show up at polling places to “challenge” voters’ credentials.
-purging voter rolls (if you have the same name as an ex-con ineligible to vote, you’re probably out of luck, which is the point exactly)
-caging, which is sending registered mail to an address, and if the resident either isn’t there to sign for it or refuses to sign, the voter’s residency status is subsequently challenged. Heavily Democratic districts are targeted with caging mail of course.
In the latest ratcheting up of the offensive, early voting periods are being greatly reduced, Sunday voting before election days is being eliminated, photo id is being required in order to cast a vote, college students are facing obstacles to voting away from home, and fines are being enacted for procedural errors by organizations engaged in voter registration drives. Clever, huh?
Indeed, the class warriors of the one percent are not embodiments of courage by any interpretation, whether it comes to factual debate, straightforward presentation of political agendas or a truly democratic decision at the ballot box. Rigging the game is the game, politically and economically. Naturally those who cling greedily to their questionably attained and retained privileges, and those in the political world who advocate for them are inherently weasely, so various methods of chicanery to avoid a fair fight always will be the name of their game. But slimy, weasely and craven though its tactics may be, and as emulative of the rodent as its soldiers in the battle are, voter suppression is an essential component of the one-percent’s class war, and one that should not be overlooked or underestimated.