Donate

It's easy to blame Georgia's Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a less charming Boss Hogg-style villain, for the blatant voter suppression efforts in the state: electronic voting machines not working because someone "forgot" to send electrical cords for them, and the four-and-a-half hour lines in black districts as if the polling places were holding one-night-only concerts with the ghosts of Prince, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin. It may be a winning campaign strategy: "I'm not racist. I'm just incompetent. Hell, I'm probably both. Make me governor." But Kemp was only in position for such large-scale corruption because the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled to make Jim Crow great again and gutted the Voting Rights Act.

"Our country has changed," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. "While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions."

Roberts was correct the the country had changed. Barack Obama won re-election in 2012 with a smaller percentage of the white vote than Michael Dukakis in 1988. Racial demographics had changed dramatically in almost a quarter century: White voters had gone from 85 percent of the electorate to 72, with a corresponding -- and concerning for Republicans -- increase in the electorate for blacks and Hispanics. After Mitt Romney's defeat, there were "autopsies" that argued the GOP would have to expand its tent and reach out to minorities. This was all superficial talk. Immigration reform flopped in the Senate the same month the Supreme Court gave Republicans an easier path to retaining power: cheating.


It didn't take long for states such as North Carolina to get to work "fixing" the system once the Roberts court had untied their racist hands. You wouldn't think a country with such appallingly low voter turnout (just under Estonia!) would also have a problem with rampant voter fraud, and you'd be right. It's a myth, a targeted effort to disenfranchise specific groups that's cloaked in a white sheet of supposed "election integrity."

A lot of white liberals who are attached to the "myth" of "good" conservatives explain away Roberts's decisions on voting rights and affirmative action as just racial naïveté. But Roberts is a right-wing true believer who has had the VRA in his sights since his early youth in DC. He clerked for the man he'd eventually replace -- William Rehnquist, a repugnant bigot, who once argued that "Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be re-affirmed." Rehnquist also was the devil on Barry Goldwater's shoulder advising him to oppose the Civil Rights Act.

It was a surprising 1980 decision that likely shaped Roberts's longterm views. The Supreme Court ruled that "racially discriminatory motivation is a necessary ingredient of a Fifteenth Amendment violation." Basically, you have to wear Klan robes and apply for the right permits to have your actions correctly described as "racist." Otherwise, "good" white folks can just whistle quietly to themselves and pretend they don't notice what you're doing.

However, in 1980, you arguably couldn't drastically alter election results, at least on a national level, by suppressing the minority vote. Mass incarceration was already playing its part. Why be greedy? You didn't really need to when 85 percent of voters were white. Mondale won a roughly similar percentage of the black and Hispanic vote in 1984 as Obama and all that got him was Minnesota's 13 electoral votes (barely).

Republicans had reached a sweet spot by 2013 where they had plausible deniability of racist intent in their suppression efforts. "We're not racist. We just play to win," they might argue. And what's "wrong" with partisan redistricting and even closing polling places in areas that don't vote for Republicans? Democrats would do the same if they were in charge and had brains in their heads. (They wouldn't.) Even when Republicans admit to targeting blacks specifically, they claim their motives aren't "racially discriminatory." It's just simple politics. If this doesn't seem to pass the laugh test, consider caucuses. They are arguably biased against the poor and minorities, as well as the disabled, but few liberals who promote them over primaries view them this way.

Roberts argued that legislation related to voting rights should speak to "current conditions," and that's just what happened. Pacific Standard columnist David M. Perry tweeted last week that "we are a center-left country with a massive vote suppression problem." But as last night's election returns repeatedly demonstrated, America is more accurately described as a white conservative, fascist-flirting nation that does everything in its power to keep a separate but hardly equal center-left minority nation in check. Brian Kemp, with all his guns and bluster, still had to cheat to beat (maybe) a black woman in the state where General Sherman had one hell of a bonfire. And he couldn't have done it without the Chief Justice's help.

Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter.

Yr Wonkette is supported ONLY by reader donations! Politicians aren't begging you for money any more so give us some!

How often would you like to donate?

Select an amount (USD)

Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins runs from March through May at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo.

$
Donate with CC

An unhinged wannabe fascist who tweets about golden showers did a news conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon. Also, Donald Trump was there.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is in town, and everything about today's public appearance with Trump and Bolsonaro has been real stupid, just like how it was real stupid when Bolsonaro's stupid son was the stupid guest of honor the other night at a stupid Steve Bannon event at the stupid Trump trash palace hotel in DC.

During their pool spray, Trump excitedly told reporters that he was making plans to give NATO privileges to Brazil, because of how Brazil elected a big gross dipshit just like America did. Of course, considering how Trump treats actual NATO countries, Bolsonaro might want to reconsider whether he wants that.

Then a reporter asked him about his blubbering whiny-ass attacks on John McCain, who is still dead.

That's right, Donald Trump didn't even avoid the question about his very embarrassing behavior. He spoke about McCain as if McCain were still alive, whined about McCain killing Obamacare repeal, and concluded by saying, "I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be." As for McCain, he will continue living rent-free in the president's nightmares and his face will be the face of Trump's insecurities, because we guess that's what happens to John McCains when they die.

But enough about the pool spray! After they met in the Oval Office and did whatever fascists who should be prohibited entry to the White House via an electric doggie fence do (sniffed each other's butts, probably), they entered the Rose Garden and proceeded to hike their legs on democracy some more.

Keep reading... Show less
$
Donate with CC
Yep, we're breaking out the Wikimedia kitten image for this one.

CNN is out today with a story on members of the anti-vaccination/pro-disease movement who have found a delightful new way to win converts to their side in the war on science: find parents (mothers, generally) who have recently lost a child to a preventable disease, and then harass them on social media, because after all, good people refuse vaccines and anyone who advocates for vaccines must be burned to the ground. As your lawyer (we are not a lawyer), we advise you to secure any hurlable heavy objects near you before reading.

Keep reading... Show less
$
Donate with CC
Donate

How often would you like to donate?

Select an amount (USD)

Newsletter

©2018 by Commie Girl Industries, Inc