Meanwhile, first-time voters cast almost 69 percent of their ballots for Obama. While that reality could have—or more to the point should have—signaled an opportunity for the GOP to reexamine its platform, the sclerotic hardening of the “conservative” notions that moved the Republican Party from centrist right to right-wing made it increasingly difficult if not impossible to adapt the GOP’s policies to address the overriding concerns of this wave of newly engaged voters.14 One party official, while offering assurances that racism wasn’t the driving motivation, admitted, “It’s simply that the Republican Party gave up a long time ago ever believing that anything they did would get minorities to vote for them.”15 Trapped between a demographically declining support base and an ideological straitjacket that made the party not only unresponsive but also unpalatable to millions of Americans, the GOP reached for a tried and true weapon: disfranchisement.
Once it became clear that the voter turnout rate of blacks had nearly equaled that of whites, as Penda Hair of the progressive Advancement Project has noted, “Conservatives were looking at it and saying ‘We’ve got to clamp things down.’ They’d always tried to suppress the black vote, but it was then that they came up with new schemes.”16
Anderson, Carol . White Rage (p. 140). Bloomsbury Publishing.
After the election of Barack Obama, the Republicans understood they could no longer win elections based on their policy proposals and initiatives and so they decided to cheat by engaging in voter suppression.
These efforts at voter suppression undermined American democracy long before Donald Trump ran for president. The Republican party was already corrupt before Donald Trump arrived on the scene to take advantage of the moral decay which had set in.
Hans von Spakovsky, a former George W. Bush appointee to the Federal Elections commission was the chief architect of the new Jim Crow efforts to suppress the black vote. You can read more about it in Jane Mayer’s article, “The Voter Fraud Myth,” published in the New Yorker on October 29, 2012.
What can you do about voter suppression?
First check on the policies about voting with your Secretary of State and your county election commission. What are the rules about voter registration? What are the provisions for voting itself: where, when, how? Do voters engage in voting activity differently based on age, race, social class?
Second, share the results of your research with others.
Three, form a group, formally or informally to make changes to assure the opportunity for voting for all eligible citizens.
Four, assist voters to get to the polls and actually vote. When you go to vote, take a family member or friend with you.
Five, only elect candidates who support fair and equal voting policies and practices. Our democracy depends on it.