GOP Disrupts the Ohio Vote

Election '04

You know what the Republicans are up to?

The party of pre-emptive war is trying to pre-empt democracy.

They couldn't find any weapons of mass destruction, now they're trying to manufacture weapons of mass disruption ... to disqualify likely Democrats from voting.

It's all over the news. In Ohio, the state Republican Party has challenged the eligibility of 35,000 newly registered voters. ... It's necessary they say, to prevent fraud in a state where polls show President Bush and John F. Kerry are in a statistical tie. Most of the 35,000 you'll not be surprised to hear, live in urban, which is to say, multi-racial, which is to say, Democratic, areas.

The Party's also announced that it's dredging up some dusty old law to send thousands of recruits to polling places Election Day to challenge the qualifications of Americans as they try to cast their votes. Ohio election officials said that the parties' challengers would have to show "reasonable" justification for doubting the qualifications of a voter before asking a poll worker to question that person. The challenges could be made on four main grounds: whether the voter is a citizen, is at least 18, is a resident of the county and has lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days.

Hmm. Let's see, what chapter in U.S. history does that remind you of?

Officials in other swing states, from Arizona to Wisconsin and Florida, say they are bracing for the same thing. It's all part of an organized effort by Republicans to challenge new voters at the polls.

In Philadelphia, Republican operatives made a last ditch attempt Friday to relocate 63 polling places – many of them in Black neighborhoods – all of them in districts where Democrats have an advantage ... luckily the move came too late ... but it's a sign of the times – the Bush and Cheney crew are freaked.

They don't call it the GOP – the Good Old Boy Party for nothing.

But you know what? That was Jim Crow America, Mr. President, Mr. Cheney. That was the America of Jim Crow.

This is the America of Barack Obama. This is Tiger Woods' America.

Majority America is not going to let democracy be denied us forever.

We've lived through that century already.

Dredge up dusty laws from history? Can't you do any better than that? We've fought that battle before, Mr. President and guess what, our side won. For all of the 20th century, Democracy's been on the rise. Blacks got the vote, women got the vote, 18-year-olds got the vote – African Americans have had to fight the same fight many times over, just like immigrants.

Voting in America's never been easy. The rich white guys who wrote the rules, set it up that way. But that just means the upstarts get smarter and better organized.

Why is the GOP so darn freaked? Because 21st century America, the New America, Majority America is turning out in droves.

The Washington Post reports that record numbers across the country are voting early – and they're disproportionately Democratic. When it comes to new voters, Dems have out-registered Republican voters from coast to coast.

The union movement reports the largest member mobilization in its history.

Students are registered as never before – 87 percent, and they intend to vote, they told a Harvard poll released this week. And 52 to 39 percent say they'll vote for Kerry over Bush. Even children polled by the TV channel Nickelodeon say they'd prefer Kerry over Bush 57 to 43 percent. They may not be voting age yet, but for the last four presidential elections the Nickelodeon poll's been right.

Your down-with-democracy days are over Mr. President.

The same Majority America that never voted for you the first time, is going to make sure you're defeated once and for all a week from Tuesday.

Because there are two Americas, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney. Ours is new and yours is old.

And if you think you're going to take us back, with your dusty old laws from American Apartheid history ...

And if you think your attorney general and your Supreme Court judges are going to hand our country over a second time ...

Well let me remind you, Mr. B: That attorney general of yours was defeated by a dead man.

And that chief justice we already know. He's an old hand at voter supression. He's got no credentials when it comes to supporting democracy. He spent his early year intimidating voters in minority precincts in Arizona. That's right, William Rehnquist was part of a GOP voter challenge effort that tried to prevent blacks and Hispanics from voting in Arizona in the 1960s.

We know these tactics Mr. President, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Attorney General. We've been down that road.

And this is a new century. A new rainbow century of democracy and diversity.

And sooner, not later, the American Majority is going to send you throw-backs home.

This commentary first appeared on The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio.

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