What Will It Take to Stop Republicans from Maintaining Structural Racism in Our Voting?

Thom plus logo Yesterday we saw the Republican's number one voter suppression strategy on display, as black areas in Georgia were absolutely deprived of enough voting machines and polling places to accommodate their citizens, producing lines as long as six hours to vote.

While that is infuriating in and of itself, the real crime here is that the media continues to refuse to report on this for what it is: structural racism that produces naked voter suppression.

The media continues to be amazed and surprised, reporting on these long lines as if they are some sort of natural disaster. There's nothing natural about them at all.

The Republican's number one strategy for voter suppression is, and has been for decades, to make it difficult for black and Hispanic people to vote, while making it easy and fast for people in white neighborhoods to vote.

Louise and I lived in Georgia for 13 years, in upscale northern Atlanta suburbs, and I never waited more than 15 minutes to vote. At the same time, every single election, we read stories in the local press about black people in downtown Atlanta having to wait three, five, even eight hours to vote.

But it was never called "voter suppression" in the Georgia media when we lived there, and that was 30 years ago. It's only rarely called voter suppression in the mainstream media today, either, which should shock us all.

Instead, the media narrative is that Georgia was using new machines and had poorly trained workers who just weren't "prepared" to deal with the new systems. But that problem was limited to black neighborhoods, as has been every other serious voting problem for over a century.

Because forcing long lines represents the GOP's number one most effective voter suppression technique, and it requires forcing people to show up at the polling place to vote in order to work, Republicans, from the RNC to Trump to statewide Republican parties, are screaming and suing and doing everything else they can to block voting by mail.

Oregon, where I live, has had voting by mail for more than 20 years and never had a problem. In fact, we have one of the highest voter participation rates in the country.

The simple reality, as LeBron James recently pointed out, is that when Republicans hold the power to regulate voting systems, they structure them in ways that produce racist outcomes. It is, literally, structural racism.

It's time to update our Voting Rights Act to include a requirement that every state provide citizens with the ability to easily vote from the comfort and safety of their own homes by mail. and it is essential that the media start calling this what it is: Republican voter suppression.

What Georgia did yesterday was criminal, a racist crime against our democracy, and it's time to criminalize voter suppression once and for all.



Legend 2 years 50 weeks ago

Disgrace thaat it works in some states and not Red states.

avn013's picture
avn013 2 years 50 weeks ago

I agree wholeheartedly, but i sense a diverting shift. I can accept that it is structural racism, which is a subset if racism. But i disagree with reducing the issue to a political one. Racism, even structural one, does not discriminate along political lines. I wish the oriblem was as easy as voting one party out, but it won't do the trick (based on past experience). Simoly because the parties voted in, will continue much of the same. Even in the 21st century and despite the progress in science, art and technology, the advancement in resolving intellectually basic issues, such as racism, appears painfully slow. We will get there eventually, at least that what Trevor Noah claims/hopes.

Social changes that require paradigm shifts apparently need time, time and time. Paguarizing Mark Vernon ("Plato's podcasts", page xx): ....Well ask yourselfwho wrote this:"Today most people favour the life of consumption and pursue pleasure or wealth or fame." It was Aristotle 2500 years ago.

Allegedly, i have not been living for that long to have first-hand experience.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 50 weeks ago

Haha, good one. That might be a little before my time also.

It probably depends on the unique cultural makeup of each community as far as racism in the political sense; but by and large, in Trump's America at least, chances are that if you are a racist then you will vote Republican this fall.

Anecdotally, I grew up in a small town that was and mostly still is about 98 percent white. It was true then that there were unconscious bigots, if not full-fledged racists, who belonged to both major parties. Now, however, as the world gets smaller and people become more self-aware of their own prejudices, it seems that racism does fall along political lines.

Legend 2 years 50 weeks ago

I also grew up in a small town called Los Angeles.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 50 weeks ago

Well, once it was a small town. Those old-age drugs are really working out well.


avn013's picture
avn013 2 years 50 weeks ago


It is hard statistically to have racism fall along political lines in USA, unless all political parties are cosidered to be more or less racist.

If 98% of a place are yellow avocados and 2% red avocados, it is highly likely that the latter will be discriminated, and probably 98% of the time the discriminated against and 2% of the time for. It is in the avocado nature. Nature evolves, slowly but securely. To the extent that racism goes against it, it will eventually disappear due to natural selection. An after death experience in my case, but since i do not believe in afterlife such an experience will go unnoticed, so far as i am concerned. Still, evolution should continue at least for 2500 years after mi expiration date, and possibly more.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 50 weeks ago

Fair points.

I'm just wondering if we have enough sand left in the evolutionary hourglass before we destroy most life on Earth. If one follows the science at our current rate of carbon emissions, it ain't lookin good.

When's the last time climate change hit the front pages amidst all the nonstop coverage of the Trump lunacy? Humans are great at ignoring dire emergencies. The most powerful nation on Earth is largely acting like we're past the pandemic. We're not. And we're acting as if climate change is no big deal. It is.

De-evolution can't be ruled out.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 2 years 50 weeks ago

Voter supression is in the RNC's DNA. If Pelosi and Schumer were real leaders they'd call them out on it. But, IMO, they're more interested in kissing up to the eilites who fund their election runs. They serve the most powerful, unnamed party in politics, the party of "Big organized money", as do the majority of both parties.

You can't change a system you never mention...

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