We’ve had plenty of coverage on today’s Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, here, here, here and here.
Conservatives all around the country now have the green light to push every effort to disenfranchise voters—from curtailing voting hours, to imposing draconian identification requirements, to the dilution of the voting power of communities of color via even more egregious gerrymandering.
Remember, conservatives are on the outs with the changing face of America. Mitt Romney won the white vote by 20 points, 59-39, those white voters were 72 percent of all voters, and Republicans still lost the election. Last year, more white people died than were born, for the first time perhaps ever. And of the 2.4 million new Americans last year, just seven percent were white—and all of those were immigrants (hence, our whites, not theirs).
So what’s left? Keep those brown, black, young, and Asian people from voting. Make it impossible for college students to cast ballots on campus. Limit the number of voting machines in urban precincts so Democratic base groups have to wait hours in line to vote (many will abandon their effort), while ensuring there are plenty of machines available in suburban Republican precincts. Keep felons off the voting rolls, even after they’ve paid their debt to society. Create voter ID laws so restrictive, that even drivers licenses aren’t good enough to vote.
In 2012, voter disenfranchisement efforts backfired on the GOP, as African Americans voted in record numbers—outpacing white turnout rates. But Republicans don’t have any other answers, so the partisan Supreme Court gave them a hefty assist. None of the five judges on the majority want a Democratic president naming their replacement. This is it, their final play for any semblance of long-term viability. If this fails, they, as a party, have failed.
Things are going to be ugly over the next few years, as the GOP’s war on voting gets amped to whole new levels. We on the left must remain vigilant, educate our voters about these efforts, make sure those disenfranchisement efforts continue to backfire.