Connect with us

Politics

Here’s where I try to explain the Voting Rights Act like we’re in 3rd grade Social Studies.

Allow me, as a super-regular person, to explain what happened for other super-regular people to digest.

Published

on

Now that the furor has died and warm feelings have passed because SCOTUS struck down DOMA, let’s rewind and talk about the VRA.  In light of the progress made on behalf of gays and lesbians, SCOTUS’ earlier ruling on the VRA is even more heinous and I’m going to try to explain it to you in five parts.

What did SCOTUS even rule on?
What’s the big deal with needing an ID to vote?
Does it matter where people vote?
What’s gerrymandering?
Does this even matter anymore?

I’m not an expert and all of this will be in simplest terms because the law isn’t my wheelhouse.  If this were Basketball Wives, I could really dig into the issue.  So allow me, as a super-regular person, to explain what happened for other super-regular people to digest.

In my opinion, part of the reason less people paid attention to the VRA was the fact that nobody really knows what it is.  Gay marriage is easily understood by a lot of people so the joy over DOMA’s demise far outpaced the outrage over the VRA.  That’s why I feel this information is necessary so we can all break it down together.

What did SCOTUS even rule on?

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.  Between Reconstruction immediately following the Civil War and the VRA of 1965, blacks in most of the country were unable to vote due to a series of roadblocks specifically set up to target them.  Poor whites in many locales also felt the consequences of those barriers, but the focus was to keep blacks from voting.  If blacks couldn’t vote, they couldn’t elect people to take up their cause and would by default remain on the lower rungs of society.

SCOTUS ruled on the part of the VRA related to states that have to apply for pre-clearance before enacting voter legislation.  Southern states with a history of racial prejudice are allowed to make changes to their voting regulations but only if they receive the OK from the Department of Justice.  If Justice says, “No, Mississippi, you’re only making these changes so less black people can vote,” then Mississippi doesn’t get to enact those changes.

SCOTUS invalidated the list of states that have to apply for pre-clearance.  Technically, the rule is still on the books, that some states need to be pre-approved, but now there is no standard by which to choose those states.  As a result, it is now open season in the Deep South and southern states can make any changes they want without approval from Justice.

What’s the big deal with needing an ID to vote?

Many people around my age don’t really see an issue with needing an ID to vote because we’ve always assumed that it was necessary for everyone.  Older people hadn’t needed one previously.  Under today’s laws, first-time voters in most states who register by mail must present a photo ID, a copy of a current bill, or a bank statement.  In a few states, they recommend bringing some form of photo ID but it’s not expressly necessary in most locations.  Prior to 2006, no state required a voter to produce government-issued ID to vote.  You registered, got your voting card, and that’s what you used.  A lot of older people who’ve never had an ID and never needed one to vote are now forced to get one.  There are countless stories of older people in their 80s and 90s who’ve been voting for longer than our parents (or grandparents) have been alive who would now be required to obtain a photo ID for the first time in their lives.

11% of voting-age US citizens don’t have a government issued ID.  They wouldn’t be able to vote.  Of those 21 million citizens, the majority are young people, Hispanic, poor, and/or have not gone to college.  That’s a big swath of Democratic voters that Republicans are attempting to disenfranchise.

Also, IDs are not without cost in many locations.  Requiring someone to pay $25 to secure a photo ID just to vote is akin to the poll taxes which kept many poor blacks from voting prior to 1965 because they couldn’t afford to.  $25 doesn’t sound like a lot to most of the people reading this right now, but if you are dependent upon the government for your livelihood (and most likely a voting Democrat) and you budget your finances down to the cent, $25 will many times deter you from attempting to vote at all.  Additionally, factor in the process and cost to secure the necessary documents to get a photo ID (for example, an elderly woman born in rural South Carolina who now has to petition the state for her birth certificate) and you have a situation where people are paying time and money just to vote.

Republicans found a “solution” to a problem that never existed.  They claim voter ID laws will cut down on voting fraud when the overwhelming cause of voting fraud comes from absentee ballots and officials who try to change the voting results.  There have been less than 100 convictions for voter ID fraud over the past 5 years.

Does it matter where people vote?

The last presidential election showed a staggering number of people waiting in line for hours and hours to cast their vote.  Most of those people in line were minorities at their neighborhood voting location.

For an example of voting location changes struck down because of the VRA, we can look at Houston.  In one suburb, there were 84 voting places and they wanted to reduce the number to just 12, most of which were in white neighborhoods.  The location in the neighborhood with the highest percentage of white people was slated to serve 6,500 voters.  The location in the neighborhood with the highest percentage of minorities was slated to serve 67,000 voters.  Clearly the second location would have prohibitively long lines, causing many voters to stay at home or go to work because they couldn’t afford to wait all day to vote.  SCOTUS didn’t approve that scheme and that legislation died.

What’s gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is the process by which voting district lines are re-drawn to capture certain demographics.  I’m going to try to explain it in the simplest terms.

This below is Square City and it’s standing in for any number of metropolitan areas throughout the US.  I’ve divided the city into four districts.  Red is where Republicans live and Blue is where Democrats live.  I did it this way to capitalize on the prevailing thought that most inner-cities have minority residents while all of the white residents have moved to the suburbs.

gerrymandering

In the first Square City example, you see the district is drawn simply and evenly with 4 identical sections.  Sections 1 and 3 will probably elect a Democrat while Sections 2 and 4 will probably elect a Republican.  Let’s say that statewide, Republicans control congress and they want to ensure that they keep a Republican majority.  Square City is an easy way to add more Republican representatives during the next election through gerrymandering.  They propose to redraw the voting districts this way.

gerrymandering2

Now, the inner city is all one section and the other three are Republican suburbs.  My example is super-simple.  In practice, Republicans have carved out some truly outlandish shapes in order to essentially rig future elections. Check out North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District that makes absolutely no sense at all.

nc district 12

After Obama won in 2008, the country’s Republicans fired up their constituents and won countless elections in 2010.  Gerrymandering became the hot topic and every piece of voter ID legislation was introduced by a Republican majority legislature aside from the state of Rhode Island.

Does this even matter anymore?

SCOTUS’ decision apparently rested on the fact that,  to quote Justice Roberts, “Our country has changed.“  They feel that the 60 years that have passed since the VRA more than makes up for the 100 years that passed between Reconstruction – when blacks were voted into office for the first time before the Klan and their intimidation tactics put a stop to that – and the 1960s.

Nice thought.  Racism is over.  Warm Fuzzies all around.

But.

The very same day SCOTUS came down with their decision, Texas said they would enact their voter ID laws (which reduce the acceptable forms of ID from 8 photo & non-photo categories to just 4 photo categories) and would re-start legislation to redraw many of their voting districts.  Texas’ previous attempts to do just that were denied by the justice department for being unfair to minorities.  Newly-minted national hero Senator Wendy Davis owes her seat to the fact that Texas was unable to redraw her district into a shape more favorable to Republicans.

Mississippi is now moving forward with their voter ID laws.  The same goes for Alabama.  Both states were denied by the Justice department under the very same parts of the VRA they just struck down because the country has apparently changed.  North Carolina didn’t even bother to petition the Justice department to approve their voting legislation because they knew it would be denied.  With the new ruling, they’re going full steam ahead with a plan to enact new voter ID rules, reduce early voting (which disproportionately affects African Americans working for hourly wages), and eliminate Sunday voting (which led directly to Obama’s election, as massive numbers of black churches organized their congregations to vote after church).  This would have been deemed racist under the VRA, but now they can do it.  Since the year 2000, 74 different pieces of proposed voting legislation were denied by SCOTUS under the VRA…but Justice Roberts says the country has changed since 1965.

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court just turned the clock back to the 1960s and the South is beginning to do all they can to place as many restrictions on voting that are legally possible, restrictions that are primarily put in place to keep minorities from voting.  Congress can take up the matter and draft new legislation, but considering they can never agree on anything, the outlook isn’t that bright.

I advise you to call your 90 year old great grandmother on social security and tell her to start collecting her coins to buy an ID so she can vote in the next election.  That is, unless the South can think of some other creative ways to keep Democrats away from the polls.  Let’s hope dogs and fire hoses don’t come back in style.

 

facebook.com/SoLetsTalkAbout/
twitter.com/RafiDAngelo
Email: rafi@soletstalkabout.com
Venmo: Rafi-DAngelo
CashApp: $RafiDAngelo
paypal.me/soletstalkabout

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Politics

Trump sues the Internet, because he needs money.

He’s filing a suit he can’t win so his cult will give him more cash.

Published

on

Donald Trump sued Twitter, Facebook, and Google yesterday because he misses being able to shit in America’s face whenever the mood strikes, and because he needs money.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he will lead a lawsuit over alleged censorship against Twitter, Facebook and Google – three tech companies that removed him from their platforms after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

The lawsuit will be a class-action, with Trump as the lead plaintiff, claiming that he’s been censored by the companies. He spoke about the legal action from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“I stand before you this morning to announce a very important… development for our freedom and freedom of speech,” Trump said. “In conjunction with the America First Policy Institute, I’m filing, as the lead class-action representative, a major class-action lawsuit against the big tech giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as their CEOs.”

(cont. Fox News)

Fox News is reporting this story to its viewers and readers the way it reports everything else: with half of the truth and a Conservative tilt that builds a false reality in the minds of its consumers. Trump is indeed filing suit and he does indeed feel that his First Amendment rights have been infringed upon, but if Fox News would just say plainly that these suits have zero chance of success, people would be less likely to send Trump money, which is all that orange bastard wants in the first place.

Donald Trump’s entire fundraising strategy is to present himself as a champion of white Conservatives who feel they’ve been silenced. They feel like he’s the only one who’s fighting for them, so they send him — a supposed billionaire in their eyes — money to fight liberals, to fight Democrats, to fight the legal establishment, to fight media elites. Fine, if you want to throw away your money so your champion has enough cash to fight the good fight, that’s your right.

Where’s the good fight though? These are lawsuits for show. They won’t be pursued because they have no chance of winning and Trump hates to lose. From a legal precedent, we just had a ruling on this exact same situation less than two weeks ago, and it was in Florida where Trump filed his lawsuit.

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former president Donald Trump. The law was due to go into effect Thursday, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida suggested that the law would be found unconstitutional.

(cont. WaPo)

Speaking of Florida, you can’t sue Facebook or Twitter from Florida. You have to sue them in California. I’m not a legal scholar and I don’t know why that is. I would suspect that a company would choose to set up shop in a state whose legal system was more likely to side with the company should an issue arise. If I’m a gun manufacturer, I’d rather be sued in Texas than in New York because my Texas judges will probably see it my way. Whatever the reasons, we all agree to file suit against Facebook and Twitter in California. When you sign up to use the platform, it says in the Terms of Service that any dispute you have must be filed in California.

It’s a done deal. Case closed, before it’s even open. Courts almost always uphold Terms of Service agreements unless there’s something egregiously illegal or unconstitutional in them, and specifying a jurisdiction in which to file a lawsuit is so commonplace, there’s no court that would even look twice at this filing from Florida. The Terms of Service agreement isn’t suddenly rendered invalid because you don’t like what you agreed to or you didn’t read it. It’s a legally binding contract that you agreed to, and if Trump wanted us to believe even for a second that he would pursue this lawsuit seriously, he would’ve at least bothered to file it in California. It’s so clearly Trump’s latest grift to wring money out of his cult, a way to keep his name trending, and another virtue-signaling tactic to his brainwashed followers that says, “hey…I’m still fighting for you guys.”

But he’s just fighting for his bank account.

facebook.com/SoLetsTalkAbout/
twitter.com/RafiDAngelo
Email: rafi@soletstalkabout.com
Venmo: Rafi-DAngelo
CashApp: $RafiDAngelo
paypal.me/soletstalkabout

 

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Dr. Jill Biden for Vogue

Published

on

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden covers Vogue this month and the accompanying write up is great.

I don’t feel like I know as much about her as I did about Michelle Obama, because the press were breathlessly reporting on every little Obama Tidbit, but Dr. Jill has firmly had me in her camp since I noticed how often she perfectly matches her gloves to her outfit.

This passage about the Navajo nation made me give her two snaps:

Dr. Biden’s trip to the Navajo Nation was, in fact, her third official visit to the tribal land—a fact that was lost on no one. (Business leader and Navajo advocate Clara Pratte says, “As someone who has worked in this field for a long time, I can tell you: This is not the norm. But it should be the norm.”) Dr. Biden’s last trip was two years ago, when she came to open “the very first cancer-treatment center on any American Indian reservation,” as the Navajo Nation’s first lady, Phefelia Nez, pointed out. Her husband, President Jonathan Nez, added that it was the Navajo Nation that helped put Biden over the top in Arizona, with “60, 70, even 80 percent turnout in some places.” There is a Navajo word, jooba’ii, that sounds like “Joe Biden” and means compassion, he said. “That’s how a lot of our elders remembered it at the polls.”

(cont.)

How about that. She’s the real deal.

Also: I love that this photo of Dr. Jill and her grandchildren from a couple of years ago pops up again. Annie Liebovitz did some good work here.

 

facebook.com/SoLetsTalkAbout/
twitter.com/RafiDAngelo
Email: rafi@soletstalkabout.com
Venmo: Rafi-DAngelo
CashApp: $RafiDAngelo
paypal.me/soletstalkabout

Continue Reading

Politics

WaPo: 21 House Republicans vote against awarding Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded on Jan. 6

Published

on

Twenty-one House Republicans on Tuesday voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 violent attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

The measure passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support from 406 lawmakers. But the 21 Republicans who voted “no” drew immediate condemnation from some of their colleagues, and the vote underscored the lingering tensions in Congress amid efforts by some GOP lawmakers to whitewash the events of that day.

(cont.)

Imagine facing down an angry mob and putting your life on the line for a group of people who largely look past you day to day, and then having those people say “oh it wasn’t that bad” and refuse to give you recognition.

The way I would CUSS them out to their FACE. The GOP has no floor. Their party is in hell.

 

facebook.com/SoLetsTalkAbout/
twitter.com/RafiDAngelo
Email: rafi@soletstalkabout.com
Venmo: Rafi-DAngelo
CashApp: $RafiDAngelo
paypal.me/soletstalkabout

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: