David Shadrick “Ponders The Future Of The GOP”

David Shadrick “Ponders The Future Of The GOP”

Dave is ba-a-a-c-c-k-k! In this week’s videocast Dave takes a look at the GOP. The GOP has over the last several years identified itself with white supremacists, big money, voter suppression,  and an anti-government movement. How much longer can a political party supporting such an offensive platform continue as a viable force in U.S. politics.

OPINION: Watching Democracy Die

OPINION:

Watching Democracy Die

By D. S. Mitchell

Wisconsin Outrage

Television images captured thousands of voters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin standing in three block long lines, face masks in place, showered intermittently with hail and rain, risking exposure to COVID-19; to exercise their right to vote. This did not need to happen. This should not have happened. Voting should not be an obstacle course. Voting should be one of the easiest things, we as citizens, ever do. It should be as easy as licking an envelope. The vote by mail push is meeting stiff resistance from the far right, particularly from Donald Trump. The politicians fear it would endanger their grip on power. Republicans in Wisconsin, and other states have used voter suppression to shrink the electorate and limit access to the polls for decades.

Anger

I was disgusted at the sight of what was happening in Wisconsin. Furious to my core. So angry, I was crying. Tears are not always shed in weakness, or defeat. Some tears are a physical manifestation of a rage so great that when held back can lead to plate smashing, door slamming, and window breaking. At other times tears are shed because the injustice of events is beyond the understanding of the human heart. In 2018, according to the Brennan Center For Justice “17 million Americans, or 8% of the nation’s electorate, were removed from voting rolls.” The clear intent was to deny particular segments of the population the right to vote.

The Whigs

In the first days of our country there was no such thing as voter registration; white men just showed up and voted. In the mid 1800’s voter registration laws began to emerge. These laws, were designed to limit participation, not encourage involvement.  One of the first voter registration laws in the country was written by New York state Whigs. The Whigs wanted to limit the voting power of Irish Catholic voters in New York City. The Irish were mostly Democratic party voters. But, the Whigs had a plan, and the legislative power to suppress the power of the growing Irish Catholic vote.

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The Electoral College Problem

The Electoral College Problem

By D. S. Mitchell

Losing While Winning

I believe whoever wins the most popular votes should become president of the United States. Unfortunately, with the Electoral College system that is not what happens. Twice in the last five elections the candidate that became president of the United States lost the popular vote. Donald Trump, won by less than 80,000 votes in four key electoral college states. He simultaneously lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

The GOP Solution

The Electoral College system has become a tool for the Republicans in their effort to lock in one party control of government. Elie Mystal in a recent editorial in The Nation magazine wrote the GOP solution to changing demographics is to “forge a new theory of government where the rule by a white minority can withstand the popular will”. The nature of that effort was clear during Trump’s recent impeachment trial. Republicans desperate to acquit Trump wrapped their arms around a group of discredited legal theories. The Senators embraced a view of executive power and privilege, that ultimately denies our democracy and anoints a king.

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The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights 

By Jones William & D.S. Mitchell

Fundamentals

Voting is fundamental to our democracy. The right to vote however has been the target for disenfranchisement since the founding of the country. Our Constitution (before amendments) does not clearly stipulate who can vote. In the early years state legislators voted for the president.

Another Amendment

From the beginning many of the states used every means available to limit voting. At the origin of the United States, many groups, including slaves, landless white men, women and free blacks could not vote. But many  amendments to the Constitution (XV, XVII, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXVI) significantly expanded voting rights and other political freedoms to previously unprotected groups.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

The passage of multiple constitutional amendments was geared towards enhancing voting rights for all citizens. The federal government was spearheading the expansion of voting rights throughout the United States. Numerous states, particularly the states of the old confederacy, habitually passed laws that did not specifically bar black citizens from voting but placed unrealistic burdens on them. Poll taxes and “guess how many beans are in the jar” kinds of absurdities. For that reason, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law.

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