If there’s a single issue we should be voting on for the foreseeable future of US politics, it’s voting rights. This goes for conservatives as well as liberals. Do you care about democracy? Then you should care about voting rights. If you care about voting rights, whether liberal or conservative, then you should be voting for Democrats. Not forever! But for the next several years. Hear me out.
When voter turnout is high, Democrats do better in elections. When voter turnout is low, Republicans do better. This is because the demographics that favor Republicans are more reliable about voting. BUT ALSO the demographics that favor Democrats are more vulnerable to voter suppression.
I’m not saying the Democratic party is perfect. I’m just saying they’re the party that is actually interested in governing. It doesn’t have to be that way forever. That’s how it is now. Furthermore, since their candidates have better outcomes when voter turnout is higher, the Democrats are the party with a built-in incentive to maximize voter turnout and abolish voter suppression.
For the foreseeable future, the US democratic process depends on Democratic politicians.
There’s a reason why Trumpty Numpty recently disbanded his Voter Fraud Commission. It’s because even when they were utterly determined to find evidence of voter fraud, they couldn’t find it. The US does not have a problem of people voting fraudulently. It simply isn’t happening. We do, however, have a problem of people being unfairly kept from voting, and it will continue to be a problem as long as Republicans are in power. This is not a moral judgment, it’s a question of incentives. When more people are kept from voting, Republicans have an easier time winning. Thus, Republicans have no reason to address voter suppression.
For an example of how this happens: voter ID laws. Ostensibly, the purpose of a voter ID law is to make sure nobody votes more than once, or in the wrong district, or without the legal right to vote. However. If the voter ID law were actually intended to make sure every vote is valid, then the same jurisdictions instituting voter ID laws would also be making it much easier for all citizens to get state-issued IDs. The demographics that are mostly likely not to have state-issued IDs are also some of the demographics that most reliably vote Democratic. Not limited to, but especially including African-Americans. Many don’t have state-issued ID, but they do have the legal right to vote. Realistically, the way these laws work out is that a state says everyone needs to show ID at the polling place, and then the same politicians in the same jurisdictions also start cutting DMV hours in the areas with the highest concentration of African-Americans. Shorter DMV hours means it’s much harder for someone who doesn’t already have an ID to get one. That’s because the real purpose of these laws is not to prevent fraud, it’s to make it harder for certain populations to vote.
Again, this cannot be overstated: the US does not have a voting fraud problem. You could round up every single person in the US who votes fraudulently per election cycle, and you could bus them all to my house, and I could take them out to lunch at one of our local restaurants. They’d fit. I could afford to pay the bill.
So, again, we have one party that is actually interested in governing and which benefits from higher voter turnout. And we have another party which is more interested in fucking everything up, which benefits from voter suppression, and which paved the way for Trumpty Numpty to squat in the White House. At this point, a one-party system would be better.
So here’s the plan I propose for fixing the democratic process:
- Vote for Democrats in 2018. Paint the House bright blue. For those Senators up for reelection in 2018, turn their seats blue. This part alone is simply damage control. We should not expect Congress to accomplish anything major as long as Putin’s Pup and his enablers have their paws on the Executive Branch. The purpose of Congress, between the 2018 elections and whenever we evict Trumpty Numpty (hopefully no later than 2020) should be to refuse to give the Commander-in-Cheeto what he wants.
- Vote for Dems again in 2020, for both houses of Congress, and also for POTUS. Send Bitch McConnell home to cry in his wife’s lap. After all the shit he’s pulled as Senate Majority Leader, he should not have a career.
- Once the Dems are in control of Congress and the White House, we start lobbying the fuck outta them to fix voting rights. Such measures would include, but not be limited to:
- Abolish voter ID laws. Fuck that noise.
- Abolish gerrymandering. Set up a bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw the districts to be compact and contiguous.
- Enable weighted voting. This is where you can vote for first, second and third choices of candidates, rather than just choosing one. This is the sort of thing that would allow third parties to get some traction.
- Abolish the Electoral College. Please note that I’m not suggesting this because it would mean more Democratic presidents. For instance, Clinton won his second term despite losing the popular vote. We need to chuck out the Electoral College because it gives states a disincentive to maximize voter turnout. Whether a state has 90% of its eligible population vote, or 9% (or less!), it gets the same degree of electoral power. This is a problem.
- Make sure all districts have lots of polling places, so voting is easy. The longer people have to stand in line, the more people end up not voting. The districts that tend to get fewer polling places tend to be—surprise!—areas whose populations favor Democrats. Ergo, the Democratic party is the one with the incentive to fix the problem.
- Require all states to restore voting rights for ex-convicts. You finish your prison sentence, you should regain the rights of citizenship.
- Once we have our electoral shit together, the Republicans are going to lose again. This is fine.
- They should keep on losing until they change their platform and their attitude in such a way that a majority of the population can actually be convinced to vote for them. How many years the Democrats have a monopoly on the government depends on how many years it takes for the Republicans to get their heads out of their asses.
- Once we get to a place where Republicans can get elected without undermining the democratic process, then the Democrats will have to change their attitude to something more productive than just “You don’t want THOSE assholes to win, do you?” This will be a good thing for everyone.