Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the voting booth, Republicans across the nation are busy writing new laws to make it harder to vote. They did well in many state elections this past November, but they lost control of the Senate, gained seats but remain a minority in the House, and lost the White House to Joe Biden.
Normally, a political party in this situation would be taking stock of its positions and trying to figure out how to attract more folks, but not the Republicans. Instead, realizing their base may no longer be large enough to carry an election, they are not trying to get more votes. They are trying to keep the other side from voting, proposing new laws in many states, all restricting the right to vote.
According to an NPR article, “A recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice found that 106 bills have been filed by Republican lawmakers in 28 states that would restrict voting (the group also found 406 bills in 35 states that would expand voting access). Many of the bills would limit voting by mail, add new voter ID requirements, make it more difficult to register voters and give states greater leeway to purge voter files if voters don’t consistently cast ballots in every election.”
So after “the most secure election in American history” and one which saw record voter turnout, the GOP is looking for a way to make it better — that is, make Republicans win and Democrats lose. OK, I can’t prove their intent, and of course Republicans would say they are concerned about potential election fraud, but I think I know what they’re trying to do. They are the party of the wealthy, and the wealthy make up a tiny minority of the voting public. The only way they can take power in a democracy is to convince the rabble that tax cuts will make everybody rich (and incidentally hurt minorities), and to disenfranchise everyone else.
Democrats, on the other hand, are bringing 400 bills in state legislatures aimed at expanding voting rights, so all is not (yet) lost.