Voter Suppression

Talk about suppressing the vote.

Image result for votingThe four states have canceled their GOP presidential primaries believing that the incumbent president cannot lose. I wonder which crystal ball they are using to predict the future.

Now, as reported, this is nothing new.  The Democrats have done this in the past as have the Republicans. But this presidential election is different. This coming year it will be South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas that have canceled their presidential primaries.

There is another problem with canceling primaries in 2020. These same states are refusing to allow challenges to those holding GOP state seats, a breach of our democratic process. By suppressing the vote in these four states, the GOP is guarantying the re-nomination of all federal and state incumbents in 2020.

Trump has crossed the line too often, committing political sin after political sin. Yet the faithful, GOP political and right-wing religious, have forgiven him at every turn. He maintains an 85-plus approval rating from his party.  The Democrats would not have stood for these transgressions. George Jean Nathan said, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.” Worse officials are elected when the vote is suppressed.

The president has at least three challengers to his seat: Former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

In an op-ed on Friday, September 13, they wrote “The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party. Let those voices be heard.”

Not every Republican is enamored with the president. Most polls show at least 12 percent of GOP voters having an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. Not a large number, but if given a choice of other candidates, that number may be significantly higher.

The Supreme Court has ruled in by a vote of 5-4, “that courts should stay out of disputes over partisan gerrymandering – that is, allegations that redistricting maps were drawn to favor one political party at another’s expense.”

Many Republican state legislatures have passed voter ID laws which discriminate against people of color, the elderly and the poor.

If there were other ways of eliminating the vote of possible Democratic voters, the GOP lead legislatures will find a way.

Here in Missouri, like voters in Colorado, Utah, and Michigan, voters decided to alter the redistricting process.

“Amendment 1 created a position called the non-partisan state demographer, which was tasked with drawing state legislative districts.”

Even though the Missouri constitutional amendment passed with 62 percent of the vote, the GOP legislature attempted, though unsuccessfully this year, to circumvent the new constitutional amendment. This will not preclude the legislature from trying again in January 2020.

We must prevent the state’s GOP from suppressing the vote of their party members. Republicans and Democrats must watch the process carefully to prevent Missouri and other states from becoming another Kansas, deciding without voters’ input that Trump has the unanimous support of the party regardless of challengers.

Both Republicans and Democrats need to encourage the Sanford, Walsh and Weld to file suits in the four offending states to force a primary against Trump in 2020.

We need to support the democratic process laid out in the Constitution. We need to select our political leaders by a fair and open vote.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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