There was a time in America where Black voters were allowed to vote just like their fellow citizens. They were given the right by Amendments to our Constitution filed during and after the Civil War which was fought to keep Black folk enslaved. They had these rights during the ten or so years that followed but slowly, inexorably, those who participated in the Rebellion Against the Union again gained power. They systematically took from the Blacks their ability to vote.
For example as a result of a Constitutional amendment in Louisiana the number of Black registered voters dropped from 130,000 before the new constitution, to just 5,000 by 1900. By 1904, the number had dropped to just 1,000.
I am sure there were many in New England who looked at fondness at how this was accomplished and wished they had been wiser when giving the rights to others to vote. It was through the vote that the Irish were able to gain power, help their people by passing laws beneficial to them, and protect themselves. No doubt some figured they should have come up with a mechanism like they did in the South to prevent such a thing from happening.
As we all know there are a majority of Republicans now going around saying the Democrats rigged the last presidential election. The say this because the guy that lost – probably the only Republican who lost in most Red States – refuses to put on his big boy pants and accept the will of the people. They assert that the Democrats were able to rig the election for president but unable to rig the election for U.S. senator or member of the House. It would seem to me, but what do I know, that if the Democrats had the ability to rig an election they would do it down the line and put all Democrats in office. I note that in the Red States the Republicans have been pretty successful rigging their laws to to keep the Democrats out of office.
Take a look at Wisconsin. Democrats received 46% of the statewide vote for State Assembly and 47% for State Senate. They won only 38% of the seats in the Assembly and 36% in the Senate. Now that’s how you rig things.
But that rigging was done subtly with small changes but now the gloves are off. Having lost the presidency because more people were able to vote than at any time in our history there is a mad rush to make it more difficult for folk to vote. That’s what happens when you are a minority party. You want to eventually restrict the vote to your own people.
One legislator in one state has jumped ahead of all others in figuring out how to maintain Republican domination in all elections. This Arizona Republican has proposed legislation that would allow state lawmakers to ignore the results of presidential elections and decide themselves which candidate would receive the state’s electoral votes. It reads: “Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, the Legislature retains its legislative authority regarding the office of presidential elector and by majority vote at any time before the presidential inauguration may revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certification of election.”
This is a brilliant idea but why is it limited to the presidential election? Why not extend it to the statewide elections for the House and Senate? The folk in the Legislature can keep their seats forever. If anyone of them is defeated by the voters, the Legislature can vote to disregard that vote and keep the defeated legislator in office.
Who needs Gerrymandering or Voter Suppression or any other tools to keep the folk from voting? The vote can even be extended to non citizens. No longer is there any worry because the Republicans have conjured up the best and simplest way forward. They will let people vote and then just ignore their votes.
That’s an even better idea than Louisiana came up with to restrict Blacks from voting. Although I suppose I should not give the Arizona Republican too much credit. His idea does have echoes of the voting under the Soviet Union where over 99% of the folk that voted routinely choose the Communist candidate.