Tag Archives: mitt romney

Welcome to the Republicans’ 21st Century Jim Crow voting laws

All the signs look good:

As of Sunday night, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight gives President Obama an 85.5 percent chance to stay in The White House. Princeton Professor Sam Wang gives the president a better chance: 98 percent. The president has yet to trail in Ohio in any legitimate poll (sorry, Rasmussen) for months and leads in Florida in a few of the latest polls. Obama is even ahead in nearly every national poll despite trailing for most of October.

Even some Republicans, like Matt Lattimer, who worked for Newt Gingrich’s campaign, wrote that the entire right-wing punditry have deluded themselves into thinking the Romney has a chance:

What is propelling Team Romney and their cheerleaders in the media appears to be wishful thinking, not empirical evidence.

With all this data, I should feel like this election is game, set, match. But I don’t.

It’s not because Obama is a “weak” candidate, as Michael Medved suggested in an asinine column, “Why the Long Face, Democrats?

Not even the Romney campaign’s decision to start airing ads and having rallies in Pennsylvania and Michigan is making me nervous. These are signs of desperation and suggests that Romney & Co. are preparing to lose in Ohio, Nevada, and, possibly, Florida and Virginia and need to find a new pathway to victory.

I am worried because 12 years ago, an election was stolen and the political run-up to this one has some similarities.

I’m OK with Al Gore defeating President Bush in the popular vote, but losing in the electoral college–that’s the U.S. electoral system. And the Republicans didn’t really “steal” the election when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was too late to start a recount. That election was stolen when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had purged tens of thousands of voters who should have been able to cast ballots and, statistically (most would have been from Democratic constituencies) at least, would have reversed the outcome of the entire election since Gore lost Florida by only 537 votes.

Voter suppression is happening again.

Earlier this election season, Florida representatives purged eligible voters from the rolls. The Florida secretary of state tried to cut early voting hours. So did Ohio. The Buckeye State and Pennsylvania have tried to implement Draconian voter I.D. laws that would prevent mostly Democrat voters from casting ballots. At least 14 other states have attempted to suppress turnout with new laws meant to prevent the mythical voter fraud.

Just this Friday, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a declaration which could invalidate some provisional ballots. In Florida on Sunday, early voters needed a court order to cast their ballots because the Republican secretary of state had ordered polling places closed despite long lines of waiting voters Saturday night. The longest lines were primarily at “polling sites in urban areas and locations most convenient to college students, senior citizens and minority voters.” All of which are Democratic constituencies.

The Republican strategy for winning an election is clear. Republicans who rule in several states are enacting the 21st Century’s versions of Jim Crow’s literacy tests and grandfather clauses: Voter ID laws and voter roll purges. These voter suppression laws create low turnout, especially among minorities and college students, and have been the driving force behind Republican efforts to rig elections for more than a decade.

These measures also seem to be the only way Romney wins.

However, for Romney to win, with state polls as they are, the GOP must undertake a gigantic conspiracy. There has to be massive voter suppression and other funny business (like losing boxes of ballots) in multiple states with no one whistle-blowing. I can’t see that happening…

Still, you never know.

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On abortion and Mitt Romney

Now that Mitt Romney has the same exact stance on Roe v. Wade as President Obama, why would single-issue Christians still vote for him?

Oh, you haven’t heard? Romney wouldn’t challenge the Supreme Court ruling.

On Fox News (of course) a few days ago, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson dismissed abortion as a campaign issue:

“I’ve had one person talking about the abortion issue during this entire campaign. It’s just — it’s not even an issue here in Wisconsin, it doesn’t even move the radar at all.”

Maybe that’s not a super clear statement about Romney’s position on the issue. But yesterday, another Romney surrogate, Norm Coleman, clarified that, if elected, the “pro-life” candidate wouldn’t do anything to hurt Roe v. Wade:

“President Bush was president eight years, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. It’s not going to be reversed.”

And, for good measure, Romney’s sister Jane (described as a bit of a loose cannon) said last month that Mitt would NEVER ban abortion:

“Women would take to the streets. Women fought for our choice, we’re not going to go back.”

Translation: Romney is personally opposed to abortion, but would do little to overturn the ruling that makes it a constitutional right to have one.

In other words, Romney has the EXACT position as President Obama on the issue.

Those single-issue Christian voters could have a problem with that. Especially considering that the rest of the Republican platform goes against Christian doctrine. Caring for the poor isn’t exactly a top priority of Paul Ryan’s budget plan.

There’s a long-standing belief that leading Republicans know that if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, it will probably destroy the party. The moderates will leave. Women will leave. And single-issue Christian voters could leave if they aim to follow Christ’s teachings.

Romney has three choices: 1. State clearly that he opposes Roe v. Wade and wants to see legal abortion outlawed (he says he wants states to decide the issue – clearly a cop-out); 2. He can admit that he is personally opposed to abortion, but will do nothing to help overturn Roe v. Wade; 3. He can say nothing except some lame platitudes about how he wants it legal only for the health of the mother and in cases of rape.

I praise candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana for his comments that he opposes rape in all circumstances, even in the case of rape. His belief is consistent and principled. That is admirable.

Romney doesn’t have those kinds of principles. Anti-abortion Christians, he doesn’t deserve your vote.

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What to read this week: Sept. 2

Here is a collection of articles that I read and liked this week:

Paul Ryan – The liar, exaggerator extraordinaire

If one fact about the Romney-Ryan ticket was made clear this week during the Republican National Convention, it’s that the two candidates aren’t afraid to lie. Now I know that politicians from both sides stretch the truth, but to the extent that Rep. Paul Ryan did during his vice presidential acceptance speech might be unprecedented. Both of these articles document his lies:

“Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches” by Michael Cooper – The New York Times

“Ryan’s VP Spin” – FactCheck.org

Even more disturbing seems to be Ryan’s willingness to tell small, meaningless lies, like he told during an interview with Runner’s World Magazine. He told the magazine that he ran a marathon in two hours and 50 minutes–a very impressive feat. Unfortunately, it took him more than four hours to finish the only marathon he ever ran. I’m OK with this lie since under “Ryan time,” I can tell conservatives that I ran my three hour and 45 minute marathon in two hours and 30 minutes.

But what does this mean for the campaign? Well, it isn’t Kim Jong Il-world’s-greatest-golfer disturbing, but it’s not too far off. Joan Walsh nails Ryan’s free reign under the media.

“Paul Ryan’s Marathon Lie” by Joan Walsh – Salon

Last week, Ryan also mentioned that he’s a huge Rage Against the Machine fan (who isn’t?!). Unfortunately, their music doesn’t exactly fit his politics. Group leader and guitarist Tom Morello let him know:

“Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against” by Tom Morello – Rolling Stone

Republicans and Race

Talk to a Republican and bring up race and he or she will flip. “Why do you have to bring race into this?” “You guys always bring up race.” “I have black friends.” “Marco Rubio is my favorite senator.” But it’s obvious that Romney is running a campaign meant to tap into the base of the Republican Party–lower-middle to middle class white men.

Generally, I don’t believe Republicans are purposely racist or even know that they are racist or harbor racist tendencies. (Even though some from the GOP base did throw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman saying, “This is how we feed the animals” or chant “USA! USA!” when a Puerto Rican Republican woman started speaking.) But I do believe that white, middle class men do feel a certain, albeit it understandable, anxiety about their place in the United States today. They are becoming a minority.

Tapping into this anxiety is what Romney hopes to accomplish with his disproved claim that President Obama is gutting welfare reform. This superb analysis by Ron Fournier, a former Associated Press Washington bureau chief, explains why this Romney tactic is “playing the race card”:

“Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card” by Ron Fournier – The National Journal

Exciting Links

PressThink by Jay Rosen

Rosen is a professor of journalism at New York University and media critic. I found Fournier’s story about race through Rosen’s post “#pushback.”

Rosen doesn’t waste his time or the reader’s time with talk about the “liberal media” or the “conservative media.” He just writes and explains what he sees out there.

Start with the “About” section in which he explains what “PressThink” means.

Read “#pushback,” which is about the GOP’s dismissal of the fact-checking news media.

Then read “‘You’re not entitled to your own facts’ vs. That’s your opinion. Kiss my ad.” It’s an amazing take on what “facts” mean in today’s political landscape.

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