Grand Theft Voting Rights

The commission was drowned in lawsuits and forced to disband before it could achieve anything concrete. But it was emblematic of the way in which Trumpian bravado — which on its face can appear to be a stark departure from the more sedate form of traditional Republican statesmanship — corresponds comfortably in practice with well-established conservative policies.

The results of the 2016 election were deeply marred by Republican-led voter suppression efforts, and the upcoming 2018 midterms stand to follow much the same pattern.

That’s because despite all the advances in voting rights that have been made since the days when only educated, property-owning European males could legally participate in the U.S. political system, the manipulation of laws by the ruling parties to prevent people from participating in the political process remains common today.

Voter suppression is an openly racist and elitist affront to the basic principles of democracy, but though most of today’s overt voter-suppression efforts are the work of Republicans, aimed at depressing turnout by constituencies who traditionally vote Democratic, it’s a mistake to limit the discussion of voter suppression solely to the racist New Jim Crow tactics of the right wing.

Increasing the ability of the public to participate in the democratic process through the ballot box is the goal of all those who wish to fight voter suppression efforts. But this inevitably leads to a whole raft of questions about whether the current system is democratic to begin with.

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Today in Georgia, the Republican-controlled state government has suspended 53,000 pending voter registration applications on the eve of the midterm elections, 70 percent of which belong to African Americans.

This comes on top of a purge, led by current Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, that had nullified the registration of over…

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