Monday, June 8, 2015

Voting Rights

Last week Hillary Clinton proposed a series of ideas to get more Americans to turn out at the polls on Election Day.  They include automatic voter registration when citizens turn 18 with an opt-out option and 20 days of early voting.

Those sound like reasonable and good ideas, so naturally the GOP went off like they usually do when a Democrat comes up with something.

The Republican National Committee, for example, called Clinton’s remarks “misleading,” though it has not yet pointed to anything from the Democrat’s speech that’s untrue. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), whom Clinton called out by name, said her plan “defies logic” – he didn’t say why – adding, “Clinton’s extreme views are far outside the mainstream,” as if most of the country is hostile to expanded voting rights.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came up with the best response: he said that Ms. Clinton doesn’t know anything about New Jersey and that such a plan would empower voter fraud.  Oh, really?  Is there something about the state of New Jersey elections that the governor would like to share?

Look, we all get it that the Republicans must reflexively respond negatively to anything a Democrat — especially the front-runner for the nomination for president — proposes, and they will use whatever boilerplate excuse is at hand to attack, including the tried-and-true “outside the mainstream” and “extremist” lines even when it’s about something as fundamental as free and unfettered voting.  That’s normal.

What’s really at stake for the Republicans is that they know that the more people who vote in an election at whatever level, the more the Republicans lose those elections.  It’s simple math: there are more Democrats registered to vote than Republicans.  So the only way the GOP can win is to get more people to vote for their candidates.  One way would be to come up with good candidates with good ideas for the country that benefit everyone.  Another way is to make it harder for the Democrats to vote by coming up with scary stories about non-existent voter fraud or by making it really hard for minorities and poor people to vote.

Which do you think the Republicans will go for?