To win reelection, Barack Obama will have to overcome “the worst thing that has happened to our democratic election system since the late nineteenth century, when legislatures in southern states systematically negated the voting rights blacks had won in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.”
That’s the considered opinion of Elizabeth Drew, whose award-winning credentials on political crime include covering Richard Nixon and Watergate four decades ago.
“This national effort to tilt the 2012 election,” Drew reports, “is being carried out on the pretext that the country’s voting system is under threat from widespread ‘voter fraud.’ The fact that no significant fraud has been found doesn’t deter the people pursuing this plan.
“Myths are convenient in politics. Want to fix an election? No problem. Just make up a story that the other side is trying to rig the election—-and meanwhile try to rig the election. (Jon Stewart recently concluded a searing segment about the imagined voter fraud by saying: ‘Next, leashes for leprechauns.’)"
The Tea Party’s blatant effort to suppress minority voting is fascism with a straight face, after eight states pass Voter ID laws requiring a state-approved document with photograph to register or vote, identification that an estimated 11 percent or over 21 million of American citizens, mostly minority members and poor people, don’t have.
This outrage is so clear that not only Jon Stewart but the season finale of HBO’s “Newsroom” have injected it into the popular culture.
Says Rep. John L. Lewis, who was with Martin Luther King on "Bloody Sunday," the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery:
“I am surprised, shocked and deeply disappointed that there isn't more public protest or condemnation of what has happened in America. People are not being beaten and trampled by horses or tear gassed, people are not being shot and killed. The obstructions are not as obvious, but the effect of what state legislatures and party officials are doing will damage the integrity of our political process for generations to come, if it is not corrected.”
Six months after that bloody march, President Lyndon Johnson signed a landmark civil rights law. Can the Tea Party undo it this year?
Update: In a Fareed Zakara interview, Bill Clinton expresses worries about voter suppression:
“How much will the vote be lessened or reduced by the fact that in Florida, except for four counties, the pre-election voting, the advanced voting's been cut down to eight days and doesn't include the Sunday before the election, which is an arrow aimed straight at the heart of the African-American churches who pull up the church buses on the Sunday before election and take elderly people who have no cars or people who are disabled to the polls so they can vote.
“How much will those things work in Ohio where the legislature and the governor eliminated advanced voting unless the local election council voted for it?...
“Never in my lifetime, nobody's ever done anything quite this blatant.”