The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Connect The Dots USA, The Vote and 2014

Voter apathy kills democracy while handing our governments over to the GOP
Connect The Dots USA on a civil responsibility your cannot shirk!

Photo: Just in time for the midterm elections... a new presentation by ConnectTheDotsUSA: Get Out The Vote!

Democracy is not a spectator sport: You can’t win the game if you don’t play, or if you sit out every other election. After we drill down on turnout numbers, we’ll take a look at what’s driving voter apathy and what’s behind the recent wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the country.

Photo: The Republican vote suppressors hide behind the boogeyman of “rampant voter fraud” to try to justify their crackdown on voting. This is a bunch of B.S. 

In fact, From 2000 to 2010, there were 649,000,000 votes cast in general elections and only 13 cases of in-person voter impersonation — the only kind of fraud that could possibly be stopped by a photo I.D. That’s an infinitesimal 0.000002%. To put it in perspective, during that same time, there were 47,000 UFO sightings and 441 Americans killed by lightning. In short, voter photo I.D. is a solution in search of a problem.

A more recent comprehensive study by Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola University Law School, found only 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation out of a total of more than one billion votes cast in general, primary, special and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. He found more danger of fraud with absentee ballots, which are not affected by current voter I.D. laws.

The infinitesimal rate of voter impersonation is hardly surprising considering that voter fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and, if you’re an immigrant, deportation. Why would someone risk that for such a miniscule benefit to themselves, especially when they can instead do grassroots activities to get other like-minded individuals registered and out to the polls? More bang and totally legit.

Nor does fear of mythological voter impersonation explain all the other GOP suppression schemes like reducing early voting, poll locations and registration drives. No, it’s just a lot of misdirection: To quote Justin Levitt, “I see you have a cold, so I have to amputate your arm.” (interview on Rachel Maddow Show, August 6, 2014). The real issue all these voter restrictions are designed to address is not mythological voter fraud, but rather changing demographics. Photo: Indeed, since the November 2010 midterms when Teapublicans took over many of the state houses and governors’ mansions, there have been a rash of voter suppression schemes implemented in at least half the states. These schemes, which are designed to make voting harder for likely lefty voters, include...

• Require Specific Photo I.D. At Polls: For example, Texas’ new I.D. law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university I.D.s. Hmmm...

• Reduce Early Voting Days: In 2008, more than one-third of voters cast ballots before election day. And Republicans certainly don’t want a repeat of the electorate that showed up in 2008 or 2012. The vote suppressors even unabashedly eliminate specific days like the Sunday before election day — when black communities have traditionally conducted their “souls-to-the-polls” after church.

• Eliminate Same-Day Registration: Because states with Election-Day registration have 7 to 12% greater turnout than states without. And Democrats benefit from higher turnout.

• Curb Registration Drives: Because 12% of minority voters report registering through voter drives, twice the rate of white voters. And we saw how Democrats win minority voters by wide margins. What’s more, 80% of the 75 million eligible voters who sat out the 2008 election were not registered to vote. Getting folks over the registration hurdle increases turnout, which is bad for Republicans.

• Reduce Poll Locations — especially in certain areas that are heavily minority or student.

• Obstruct Ex-Cons Regaining Vote: Because this disproportionately affects the Black vote. 38% of the 4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences but are still disenfranchised are Black.

Note: Voters in Arizona approved a referendum in 2004 requiring documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. It is currently held up in the courts.

Source: “UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud,” Mother Jones, July 3, 2012:

Photo: When that sleeping giant finally awakens, however, Republicans better watch out. Here we see that Democrats win by a huge margin with minority voters. They win Black voters by about a 90% margin and have been steadily winning Hispanics and Asians by wider and wider margins as ugly Teapublican bigotry and xenophobia take over the Republican party. Photo: When you hear political prognosticators say “demographics is destiny” or “Republicans can’t win another national election if they don’t start appealing to Hispanic voters,” these two graphs illustrate what they are talking about. 

On the left we see that Whites, while still the vast majority of eligible voters, have been steadily losing share — approximately two percentage points, or about 4 million eligible voters, from 2008 to 2012. Meanwhile, the Hispanic eligible voting block has been steadily growing — increasing by about 3.3 million during those four years. 

But as we saw in an earlier post, Hispanics as a voting block do not show up and exercise their growing untapped power: Half don’t vote in the Presidential elections and two-thirds stay home during midterms. Republicans count on this apathy so they continue to disrespect and disregard Hispanics with impunity.

In particular, Hispanics need to stop blaming supporters like President Obama and the Democrats for failing to pass immigration reform and start blaming themselves for not punishing Republicans who blocked the Dream Act in 2010 with a filibuster in the Senate and who now refuse to let the 2013 Senate immigration bill get to the floor of the House. 

Every single one of the 54 Senate Democrats voted for the immigration bill last year, joined by a lukewarm 14 out of 46 Senate Republicans. See how your Senators voted here: 

And virtually all 199 Democrats in the House would vote for the Senate bill if Speaker Boehner (Republican) would put it to a vote — requiring only a meager 18 to 20 out of 233 Republican votes to send it to President Obama for signature. 

So this gridlock is hardly “equal on both sides”: Democrats are the full-throated champions and Republicans the bitter enemies (or at best foot-dragging supporters) of comprehensive immigration reform. And Presidential executive orders, while giving temporary relief, only lull Hispanics into more voter apathy.

Photo: That’s why the Republican vote suppressors couldn’t care less that more than 20 million voting age U.S. citizens don’t have the type of photo I.D. required by recently passed state voter I.D. laws and might have trouble getting it. 

And it’s no accident that these potentially disenfranchised folks are disproportionately minority, young and lower income — you know, likely lefty voters. Photo: In addition to voter suppression efforts, we must also combat rampant voter apathy — a sort of voter self-suppression. 

As we saw, even in a Presidential election, approximately 90 million
eligible voters don’t show up. And in midterm elections, more eligible voters sit on the sidelines than cast votes. 

Reasons for voter apathy fall into three broad categories, which we’ll explore in the next few posts.

A Few Words for Connect The Dots USA....

With three weeks until the election, it’s time to really ramp up our Get Out The Vote efforts.

Check out the new “GOTV: Democracy Depends On It!” presentation and graphics from ConnectTheDotsUSA:
“If voter turnout is a reflection of the health of a democracy, then America’s democracy is severely anemic. When we drill down on the turnout numbers by race, age and income, we start to see why our country is working better for some groups and not so much for others. Democracy is not a spectator sport: You can’t win the game if you don’t play, or if you sit out every other election. Then we’ll take a look at what’s driving voter apathy and what’s behind the recent wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the country.”

The Koch brothers via their shadowy money networks and slick conservative operatives won the 2010 mid-term elections and received a humble bow and this from President Obama. "We took a shellacking!"  

A "Shellacking." 

The Koch Tea Party and the Koch Freedom Works organization were two tools the Wichita oligarchs used to leverage historic low progressive voter midterm to win the US House of Representatives. The win was a far greater tragedy then a mere political shellacking. The 2010 GOP win resulted in not only an infestation of wacky tea party candidates in the US House, it locked-in a GOP majority in the US House until after the 2020 mid-term elections. You, me and the DEMS were caught without our "gerrymandering protection" and we contracted the resultant (diseased) House of Representatives. 

The following graphic shows the extent to which progressive votes influence elections. The 2012 presidential clearly shows the extent to which minority voters have the power to shape their lives. While the data appears stark as to race, it is critical to note a moderate majority of white voters will vote GOP (regardless of platform or candidate). 

We are very fortunate moderately less than half of white voters are conscious of how the GOP wins elections and are intellectually gifted such they vote against all things "FEAR" from the GOP. They reject the racial divides promulgated and nurtured by the GOP. The same voters recognize the GOP is a party of fiscal incompetence ,despite loud and frequent proclamations of "fiscal conservatives." Of course, it is fiscally conservative as it relates to raising revenues (raise no taxes) and cutting spending on human services programs (cut human services program to the bare bones).

While President Obama is not on the ballot this fall, and ,despite the unfathomable success of Right-wing campaigns against the president and subsequent Democrat candidate aversion to Obama (in fall 2014 the electoral process), the minority vote is critical.

Prior to the 2012 Elections, many progressive media exhorted minority voter participation even greater than in 2008. The minority vote turned the tide for President Obama and the nation. Mitt Romney was sent home (with his aversion to 47% of voters) and Paul Ryan was relegated to his House seat (and re-invigoration of his conservative fiscal mission).  

A July 2012 piece from AddictingInfo's Ayla Ryan delineated the the minority vote as critical. 
Despite the minority population growing at a much faster rate than whites in the United States, there is a disconnect when it comes to voter eligibility. According to the Brookings Institute’s latest census data analysis, while whites make up approximately 63% of the population, they represent 71% of eligible voters.
Unfortunately, the 2012 election is even more dependent on the minority vote than ever before. Obama’s 2008 victory was attributed largely to a higher than usual voter turnout rate for minorities and a slightly weaker turnout for whites. Both these factors contributed to the  significantly higher democratic vote margins in 2008 compared to 2004 leading to Obama’s election.

In mid-2013 the Brookings Institute reported on the significance of the minority vote in the 2012 elections. Brookings admitted the study of 2012 had been undertaken from every imaginable angle, but the Institute felt it critical to show the specific impact of the minority vote.

From purely an accounting perspective, shifts in election outcomes can be viewed as a product of (1) demographic changes in the eligible voter population; (2) changes in the turnout of different groups of eligible voters; and (3) the candidate preferences of those who vote. A look at the patterns for the three previous elections shows a striking move toward the Democrats on each of these dimensions.
With respect to eligible voters, the (typically Republican-leaning) white share of the electorate declined from 75.5 to 71.1 percent between 2004 and 2012 (Figure 1). During this period, the (typically Democratic leaning) combined black and Hispanic electorate rose to approach nearly quarter of eligible voters—a fraction that will rise in the future as more U.S.-born Hispanic children reach age 18. 
In contrast to the constant shifts in eligible voter demographics, racial and ethnic trends in turnout and voter margins take a sharper turn after 2004.
White turnout continued to dive after the 2004 election when it was at a post 1992 high (Figure 2).  In contrast, minority and especially black turnout moved in the opposite direction. The black turnout rates of 64.7 percent and 66.2 percent in the past two elections were the highest since 1968 when Census surveys began. Hispanic and Asian turnout improved markedly after 2004.  For both groups, turnouts for the 2008 and 2012 elections were higher than any year since 1992.
The vote counts!

Life after the 2010 "shellacking" has been both fiscally challenging and filled with GOP Obstruction. Republicans in Congress vote in lockstep and they vote against all things Democrat or progressive. Regardless of your politics and social paradigm, you could not have found solace in GOP aversion to bailing-out GM and Chrslyer. You couldn't have found the Standard and Poors lowering the US Credit Ratings palatable. The Ted Cruz federal government shutdown at $24 billion against GDP could not have sit well with that part of your brain that handles rational thought. How about the real, yet unspoken, threat of "impeachment" from a GOP that continues to punish Barack Obama for his election as 44th President of the United States of America?

And, yes the GOP is about voter suppression. It worked in 2000, thus providing a basis for the election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. If you are truly committed to free and open elections, a healthy democracy, continued economic improvement and preservation of sanity in media and in elected office, you must vote....and you must vote BLUE

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Connect The Dots USA has granted permission to re-post a "Framing Guide" for those who not only fight the political battles prior to November, the guide is also the perfect reminder of how sanity and information can successfully defeat GOP tyranny and demagoguery.

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