There are a couple of ways to win an election. One can work hard, put together a sincere platform that addresses the concerns of the people, talk to the people, make sure your name and platform are well advertised and hope for the best. Or … you can spread lies and ‘disinformation’, pick and choose your audience, take money from special interest groups to bombard the airwaves and social media with your ads, and if all else fails, make sure those who wouldn’t vote for you don’t get to vote. It is my opinion that if you have a viable platform and reasonable ideas for improving the welfare of the nation and its people, your best bet is the first method. However, if you have no real platform for your plan is to profit from the office you seek, if you care not a whit about the ‘average Joe’, then you will likely choose the second path.
Throughout history, there have been crooked politicians in both parties, and that will likely never change. However, in this, the 21st century, corruption runs rampant mostly in the Republican Party. It is republicans who are in the pockets of the NRA. It is republicans who deny climate change and instead support the fossil fuel industries, for that is where they get their large donations. It is republicans who aim to cut social safety net programs and who fight against subsidized health care in any form or fashion. And it is mainly republicans who have redistricted their states in order to minimize the effect of the minority vote. It was the republican candidate running for president in 2016 who encouraged the tapping into private information of his opponent and making it public.
There is an all-important election coming up in just over 17 months, and the republicans are already hard at work. Not, mind you, developing strong ideologies and working on plans to help the poor and working classes be successful in their lives. Not working on a plan to improve our failing education system. Not working on plans to develop renewable energy sources or clean up the environment. But rather, among other things, they are working on ways to keep ‘the other side’, the democrats, away from the polls.
Texas is one state that has a two-week ‘early voting’ period, and in the past, mobile polling stations have been used in areas where residents might not otherwise be able to access a polling place. Elderly, poor, and college students are among those for whom access is often difficult, so these mobile polling stations would set up shop in places like assisted living communities, food banks, college campuses, and even office buildings. However, this week, a bill has been passed by both chambers of the state legislature that would ban the mobile polling stations. Initially, the bill would have exempted nursing homes and retirement homes from the ban, but the state senate blocked the exemption. The bill is now on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s desk awaiting his signature.
The ‘justification’ for this bill … “Supporters of the bill say it keeps authorities from giving some people an easier way to vote, while excluding others from that opportunity.” Is that not the biggest crock of you-know-what??? The true reason can be none other than to keep the elderly, disabled, poor, and college-students from voting. Those groups tend to be more likely to vote for a democrat, for their interests are more closely tied to humanitarian causes than republicans. I call foul on this one.
I now turn from Texas to Florida …
In 2018, after years of the Republican-dominated state legislature’s resistance to the idea, Floridians included a referendum measure, Amendment 4, in the statewide midterm ballot that would automatically restore voting rights to convicted felons once their sentence has been served (except those convicted of murder and sexual offenses). The people of Florida overwhelmingly approved the measure with a 65% majority. In fact, Amendment 4 received more “yes” votes (5.1 million) than any single candidate in the state last November.
However, the state legislature has now passed a bill that is only awaiting Governor DeSantis’ signature, that would place an additional requirement on those returning to society … they must fully pay any and all restitution and court fees before being allowed to vote. Think about this one … they’ve been in prison, so they have no job and it will be difficult for them to get one, but in order to restore their rights as a citizen, they must come up with sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. First, it was likely their poverty that led them to whatever crime they committed, and now they are even poorer with no means to even rent an apartment or buy food, but they are expected to pay fees that they may not have even known existed. Again, just like the Texas law, this law would disproportionately affect the poor and minorities.
Those are just two of the current attempts to disenfranchise the people who are most likely to vote for a democrat. Restrictive voter ID laws, gerrymandering, closing or reducing the hours of polling places in poor and minority neighborhoods are happening all around the country. I can only conclude that the Republican Party has no viable platform on which to run honest campaigns, thus they must resort to all manners of trickery. GOP once stood for Grand Ol’ Party. No longer is there anything ‘grand’ about them.