I had started writing this prior to Thom’s article “Are We Past the Point of No Return.” His essay puts the focus on the damage being done by the GOP but fails to address what I believe is the real issue that needs to be resolved. That problem is Interstate Crosscheck and voter suppression. Putting Democrats in control can reverse whatever the GOP does, but putting new people in office is the first problem that needs to be resolved. Without the power of the ballot, we the people can do nothing to change the course of this country.

Every week, Representative Pocan visits Thom and every week there is at least one, if not three or four, concerns brought up about the matter. The answers put forth are always policies and a bill.

Let’s address the bill first. No matter how noble the bill, does anyone really believe that it would pass under a GOP majority Congress, much less signed by a GOP president? Sure, the Democrats can use the GOP voting against the concept of an American freedom, but it would require language that the Democratic Party does not have the ability to say it in a concise manner. I can hear it now. GOP: “The Democrat party want illegals to vote.” The Democrats: “We want the voices of every U.S. citizen to be heard and this bill allows….” SNORE! Half of America just fell asleep.

If the argument can’t be bumper sticker short, then the argument is lost. The only people who will grasp the details are the people who are already politically aware of the facts of voter suppression. Which brings us to the second issue of voting: dealing with the GOP’s ability to deny access to ballots.

Many have said that the Democrats need to address the issue head on. The counter argument from within the party is that people will lose faith in the process and will end up only losing more voters. So the answer is, as given by both Thom and Congressman Pocan is policy. By addressing policy, they believe it will bring out voters in such numbers that suppression won’t be enough. Can the idea of having candidates with more popular policies bring out the voters and possibly create party crossover, thus overcoming the suppressed votes? To a small degree I believe that to be true, but when we are talking about the 2018 midterms, will that be enough to sway enough outcomes in gerrymandered districts? Because midterms are more geographically targeted, we just might end up with “more Democratic votes, but still more GOP elected.”

If this is the outcome, then I am afraid it will be over for the Democratic Party. Frustration will eventually seep in and the idea of better outcomes will subside, buried deep in voter frustration. The adage that “my vote doesn’t matter” will become more true to the average voter.

Thom is generous in giving three years for the ugly path to take a turn into oblivion, but I believe if by 2018 the Democrats are not control of at least one half of Congress, then I believe that will be the point of no return and I believe the only alternatives left to the frustrated will be submission or violence. The Democratic Party has less than thirteen months to turn things around.

It is of my opinion that if the DNC does not directly address the issue of how votes are being negated, it will eventually sink the party. Better policies should be less a strategy and more a given, and making people aware that there are “behind the scenes” efforts to deny them a voice is more productive than otherwise. Ads need to be run telling voters to be proactive on their voting status and if they are left to using a provisional ballot, they must follow through to make sure their vote is counted. The Democrats should even provide any necessary aid to any person denied their ability to cast a vote. If it means having to physically drive people to the appropriate office to prove their vote is valid, then money should be set aside to do so. If it means having volunteers to oversee polling places to assure voters don’t get sent away, then it should be done.

It would seem there are a host of options available. If voting rolls are public, then start collecting the names now and start a direct mail campaign to create awareness. Americans don’t like sneaky tactics being used against them and will push back when given the tools to do so.

I don’t believe the majority of voters will become cynics of the process if they are informed of the effort against them. If anything, it would embolden many to tackle it head on, especially if they have been a victim. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the 2018 elections to see if the Democratic plan of “policies” works. Personally, policies and informing the public would be the best plan, but the Democratic Party seems to be willing to admit to not being able to walk and chew gum.


Steven PBarrett's picture
Steven PBarrett 2 years 1 week ago

What transpired in Hamburg last weekend was nothing less than the near total capitulation of the United States to a neo-Romanov Russia led by an Alexander III wannabe, President Vladimir V. Putin. Trump made the first initial attempt to shake hands and put the issue behind us. Trump went along fully with the crazy notion that the Russians could be trusted to work with us to form an alliance to fight cyber crime. Apparently Russia's foxes must be looking for something to do besides guarding her hen houses.

Don't overlook the coincidence that all this crazy talk of forming an alliance with Moscow in the wake of President Trump's flagrantly overt coziness to the Kremlin is taking place at the same time Chris Knoblach, the Kansas Secretary of State is flogging his counterparts in the remaining 49 states plus our territories abroad to send in every registered voter's name to be placed in a national file or bank of legit voters' names. Oh boy, they've gotta make everybody "accountable" and their identifications ever so transparently displayed for everybody to see, even crooks and guess what, spies in the old KGB, now FSV headquarters in Moscow. Maybe that's not what Knoblach or even Trump wants to see happen now or soon. Pray to God it isn't. But who's to say this isn't what the current administration has been working towards all along? After all, real instances of voter fraud are amazingly few and far between. And what a coincidence that Knoblach's methodology has been called out for its real purpose: To discourage poorer and minority voters from casting their votes. This can only help one party, today's Republican Party, pitiable pale reflection of the party championed by Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and even both Bushes. Not even Nixon was this venal in the drive to suppress the likelihood of voters least open to voting for Republican candidates and their ideas as things stand nowadays.

What's next, requiring voters to own property before they can register to vote? Where do they draw the line to [fairly] divine what kind of property owned by citizens aspiring to keep their legal voter status alive will allow them to qualify? Not everybody is physically or fiscall able to afford the labors and costs associated with owning a home? In Massachusetts, and I'm sure in other states as well, apartment dwellers qualify for "property tax-paying" full citizens so their vote counts as much as a property owner. Why should somebody who's too old, frail for other reasons or just doesn't want to be bothered with the burdens of taking care of a house and the land it's built on. Should they have their full rights as fellow citizens taken away because they prefer living in an apartment building/complex or elderly long-term assisted living facility and or nursing home? How 'bout this folks, the GOP and their supporters when it comes to limited voting rights might grant a little leeway for apartment dwellers provided they live in condos located within gated communities. How kindly of them.

I don't want to be too harsh on them after all, they might relent and allow for people who live in their cars or even the worst rust-buckets for trailer homes because they are property, and property within GOP circles grants them a special cachet of status and respectability. Yeah, they'll be fine because they're not going to stay too long and are not likely to bring down the property value of the property that matters most to Republican party bosses; the nicest and most expensive homes their local realtors can entice more wealthy folks from other towns. (Let's hope the local municipal welcome mats are open to people of all political persuasions. Otherwise we're just creating more playgrounds for our oligarchs and ever newer Tsarskoe Selos, the former "hometown" of the Romanovs.

The Republicans first used crass racism when President Obama was first elected and had the gall to stay a full eight years despite their hardest efforts to have him tossed on the weakest grounds possible since they couldn't beat him where it mattered: polling stations on presidential election days. Only Democratic complacency allowed the GOP to catch the former flatfooted during the midterms held during the Obama years. And I guess we can say a future president's sham campaign to "prove Barack Obama wasn't a native-born American" had some effect along with the rising popularity of hate radio and one hate "news network" that gave even fake news a bad name before Donald Trump decided he'd have some fun smearing the press with that gem, and that was after he spent an ungodly time using his twitter device to belittle our national security apparatus.

Small wonder voter suppression programs designed to discourage the less powerful, the poor, those hailing from more disadvantaged neighborhoods from bothering to even think about voting. And now Trump and his Fuhrer for Voter Suppression have an even more significant new partner in this sham: Vladimir Putin, and he could care less about creating higher numbers of qualified voters. After all, if people really want to get ahead in a Trump-Putin axis of power era, they only need to know that so long as their soul's for sale and they'll do what their puppet masters expect of them, who knows, maybe their paths to a nicer lifestyle will be paved with golden bricks? It worked for Tammany Hall, and history is full of stories about what happened to those who fell afoul of Boss Tweed and his tigers in the public square.

Ya und Da, money does make the vorld go 'round!

Add comment

Login or register to post comments

Come Cruise with Thom Hartmann in July 2020

Join me for an exciting Bermuda getaway aboard Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line. Set sail on the reimagined Insignia for 7 nights beginning July 25th 2020. Take advantage of Oceania Cruises’ OLife Choice promotion, where you can choose shore excursions, a beverage package, or onboard credit – Oceania Cruises also includes Wifi! You'll also receive complimentary gratuities, a $50 onboard credit and two exclusive cocktail parties. Did I mention we are planning special onboard events with yours truly? Prices start at $1199.

Reserve your stateroom today by contacting Keene Luxury Travel, and mention the Thom Hartmann Group 800.856.1155

What Do Democrats Really Want?

Thom plus logo Thomas Friedman, the confused billionaire, told us decades ago that "free trade" is what made the Lexus a successful product when, in fact, it was decades of Japanese government subsidies and explicit tariffs that did so.