The American system of voting leaves a lot to be desired and is certainly not one of the areas where we are the shining example of efficiency for the rest of the world. Conservative David Frum penned an excellent piece shedding light on some of the issues just prior to the election that is definitely worth the time to read. But the most worrisome and talked about problem in the United States at this time are the attempts by the right to try to suppress the rights of law-abiding voters across the country.
To be fair, if the shoe was on the other foot and Democrats were desperately looking for ways to win elections they were trailing, they would likely employ similar methods to try to win. It is the nature of the beast and parties will look for any advantage they can get regardless of how immoral and reprehensible the tactic may be. But for now, the offending group is the Republican Party and their methods are due some well-deserved criticism.
The most important factor to keep in mind is simply the effort being made. People are looking through state election laws, deciding where to attack the hardest and make voting most difficult for likely Democratic supporters, and veiling the measures with the unrealistic idea voter fraud is a problem. In short, time, money, and manpower is being used just to keep people from voting. Which, underneath it all, means one critical reality for the Republican Party: they can’t win elections on their party platform and policy positions alone and they fully recognize this.
If you, as a political party, are trying to win races by making sure the supporters of your opponents don’t vote, you are acknowledging you cannot win people over on the issues and are using other means to influence the outcome. Every dollar spent and every hour of work by someone devoted to this activity is recognition of your policy failures. This is not an act that can be spun by the most hard-right media into something noble or patriotic or anything else other than what it is. They have the choice to knock on doors or run more ads or print brochures selling their positions and they are choosing not to do this. Instead, they are making the conscious decision to suppress voters as opposed to engaging them.
There is no spinning this as an act of healthy democracy or patriotism. It is an act of desperation, immorality, cruelty, and class warfare. The attempts at voter suppression in the pre-Civil Rights era were about fearing race. The attempts in 2012 are clearly because of a fear of populism and this is just as shameful as the racism of the past.