Maryann Tobin

Despite poll numbers that told Minnesota Republicans that 80 percent of the people supported voter ID laws, a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot that would have required all voters to show photo ID was defeated.

When all the votes from the Nov. 6 elections were counted, 52.2 percent voted against voter ID laws and only 46.2 percent supported the change.

It’s hard to say exactly what changed voters’ minds when they got into the voting booth. They either didn’t think voter fraud was as big a problem as Republican lawmakers had led them to believe, or they simply thought voter ID cards were just another obstacle to voting that they didn’t want or need.

Either way, Republicans are not taking "no" for an answer when it comes to voter suppression efforts. Supporters of voter ID laws plan to pressure state lawmakers to either put it on the ballot again, or find a way to force it on Minnesota voters through the legislative process.

Voter suppression has been a top priority for Republicans since many state legislatures were taken over by the GOP. But it wasn’t enough to bring them victory this year.

“After the 2010 election, in more than a dozen states, Republicans passed voting restrictions aimed at reducing the turnout of Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant”—young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics. The strategy didn’t work as intended. Ten major restrictive voting laws were blocked in court over the past year, and turnout among young, black and Latino voters increased…A backlash against voter suppression added to this increased youth and minority turnout,” The Nation noted.

Voter suppression is basically a way to try to win elections by bypassing the fundamentals of majority rule. Since Republicans are the ones pushing for strict voter ID laws, widely viewed as voter suppression by opponents, it must mean that Republicans don’t think they can win elections with either their candidates or their regressive message.

There is something fundamentally wrong with trying to rewrite the rules of democracy simply because there are not enough voters left to take Republican candidates to victory.

The 2012 elections signaled a major change in the mood of the country, or at least a shift made visible that was being ignored by conservatives.

The right-wing media has been making a lot of noise over the years with their backward social agenda and pro-millionaire tax and slash budget policies. But they remain the puppets of lobbyists with a single focus on wealth redistribution to the rich via tax policy and deregulation.

Has it not occurred to the conservative fundamentalist who have taken over the GOP that Americans do not want the government to vanish into oblivion other than having the authority to tell women what to do with their bodies and sex life? This is a representation of stale ideas that voters said was not working for them. Are Republicans politically blind and deaf? Or do they honestly believe that they can somehow grab enough power to govern only for the benefit of the rich?

The 2012 elections should have told the GOP that the country is ready to move on, with or without their help. The more they obstruct and defend tax cuts for millionaires, the more they are exposed as frauds.

The people of Minnesota said "No" to voter ID laws. That does not mean supporters of voter ID should ignore that vote and attempt to pass it anyway through some back door.

With every new move against the message of the 2012 election results, Republicans look more like they prefer dictatorship to democracy. There is simply no other way to explain their defiance. However there is a way forward for ignored constituents.

Money in politics can be both good and bad. It can and does cause corruption. But it also speaks to reality. If Republicans continue to ignore voters who don’t agree with their agenda, they will continue to lose elections. At some point, their source of funding will dry up. Smart business people will not throw good money after bad indefinitely.


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