One thing that every US politician can agree on, regardless of party, is that the constitutionally enshrined right to vote is at the base of our democracy. Every few years, the people get together and vote for who they want to represent their interests. It is unthinkable that upon election, a group of politicians would attempt to remove this vital right from portions of their population simply for partisan gain right? Enter the new Kamikaze styled Republican/Tea party, who care little for policy just as long as they don't raise taxes and are elected again. When the Republican majority was elected during the 2010 midterm election the issue that they ran on was jobs and the reason that they won was that the opposition's base was thoroughly apathetic. Little did everybody know at the time, that the new majority would not only ignore jobs but would begin a massive push to rig future elections in their favor for the future. While most of these new laws are in fact legally valid, they violate the spirit of the constitution and seek to usurp the vote of the majority by removing a portion of that majority from the vote. The two largest mechanisms of election fixing that the Republicans have been utilizing are voter registration legislation and recently, electoral college manipulation.
In many of the states which the GOP gained control over during the recent election there has been a slurry of voter registration and voter disenfranchisement laws pushed through the legislature. The given rational as to why voter registration legislation is so necessary is that there have been many cases of voter fraud in recent years; all 9 convictions over the entire country during the past election clearly point to a massive electoral problem in our country which must be redressed. Voter registration restrictions, such as those requiring photo ID, can be targeted to disproportionately effect certain groups of the population. Using the photo ID example, minorities and the poor are both primarily Democratic and have a large percentage of the population without ID; by targeting this smaller group of the population, the Republicans can gain a comparative advantage over the Democrats. While only instituted in Florida during recent years, the disenfranchisement of convicted felons targets not only minorities, but also the poor and those who are users of drugs. Rick Scott's attacks on the rights of those who have been sent to jail will disproportionately effect Democratic leaning voters (poor and minority citizens are more likely to serve jail time and thus be barred from voting in future elections). If the electorate is pared down to a point where the voters allowed to vote are disproportionately of one party, a minority of the country can rule over the majority. The manipulation of voting rights for partisan gain is a complete perversion of our democratic system and a sign of the disdain that the right has for the constitution when it doesn't follow their warped views.
Electoral College Manipulation
Possibly the most disturbing electoral manipulation in recent years is that of electoral college manipulation to benefit one party. In Pennsylvania, the Republican legislature has recently been discussing whether or not to change the apportionment of electoral college votes in order to allocate votes by using congressional districts. Currently the electoral votes in PA are given in a winner take all approach where the winner of the popular vote wins the state, regardless of the voting distribution of the voters in the state. If the potential changes are enacted, the electoral votes will be decided by congressional district, giving the rural (primarily Republican) portions of the state the ability to give their votes to the Republican candidate even if the popular vote goes to the democrat. It is potential if not likely that PA could vote Democratic in the popular election but give a majority of its electoral votes to the Republican (Or vice-versa in coming years.). There is a similar situations in Maine, but this was not brought about because of partisan politics, and the the majority of the electoral votes would be guaranteed to the winner.
In my opinion, this issue is both extremely worrying and highlights a need for the removal of the electoral college. Almost half of our government (Read: the right half) has decided that they don't care about the will of the people and are willing to corrupt the electoral process for their own gain. I would expect these attempts at electoral rigging in third world "Democracies" where there is only one name on the ticket, not in America. The Pennsylvania electoral college strategy is not only against the concept of democracy, but will lead to a massive disparity in the power of the vote. Different places in the USA will have different levels of influence in the national elections due to how the votes are apportioned rather than sheer numbers of votes. I don't care which party is trying to fix the vote, the very action is corrupting on the fabric of our democracy and should not be tolerated. I would support an elimination of the electoral college as a relic of the pre-mass transport world and deciding elections on the popular votes alone. Only through the practicing of our ideal of "one person, one vote" will we not only standardize the value of a vote across the USA, but will we protect ourselves from electoral gerrymandering.
DISCLAIMER: I do not attempt to be polite or partisan in my articles, merely truthful. If you are a partisan and believe that the letter after the name of a politician is more important then their policies, I suggest that you stop reading and leave this site immediately--there is nothing here for you.
Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.
I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com