A dime's worth of difference

A dime's worth of difference

by digby

There are many reasons one might say that there's not a dime's worth of difference betweeen the parties, but this is one very clear cut case in which they couldn't be more different. And depending on your perspective, it may be most the important reason of all:

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century," says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

I suppose if you've given up on democracy and are leaning toward revolution, then you might not care about this. But everyone else should. Particularly young people, who have been specifically targeted:

A New Hampshire measure that ultimately failed earlier this year stoked Democratic concerns about the law’s true intentions. The law would have ended same-day registration and prohibited most college students from voting from their school addresses.

New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien, a Republican, told a tea party group that allowing people to register and vote on Election Day led to “the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do — they don’t have life experience, and they just vote their feelings.”

This long term Republican project is a slow, inexorable erosion of the voting franchise, making it as difficult as possible for people of color, the elderly and the young to vote.It is an assault on the democratic process itself, the fundamental method by which we choose our representatives. Now, it's true that we often choose unwisely and that the people are often duped into thinking that their representatives are one thing when they are another. But it's the only method we have for democratic government so if you want to change things, this is one function that must be protected.

Both parties are woefully corrupt and inept, but only one of them is engaged in systematic vote suppression. It doesn't make the other side heroes, but it does show one important distinction between the two.