Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Charlie Pierce on the "worst crimes against democracy"

"The worst crimes against democracy are always the ones committed under the law," Charlie Pierce writes in We Are All Legal: 2012's Voter Suppression Carries On Esquire Politics Blog 03/06/2012.

He's writing with particular reference to the Citizen's United decision and voter-suppression laws. The latter was and is central to segregationist politics. Pierce points out how Obama's policy of not prosecuting criminal behavior of officials in the previous Administration missed an important chance to stymie the segregationist voter-suppression practice before it got as far as it has today:

The latest thing that happened was that a judge in Wisconsin on Super Tuesday issued a temporary injunction against that state's new voter-ID law that will keep the law from being used in Wisconsin's presidential primary election on April 3. However, the ongoing campaign of voter suppression around the country continues apace. It's important always to remember that none of this is happening by accident, that the fault in the system these laws are alleged to address does not really exist, and that this is actually a legacy of looking-forward-not-back. These various laws are a direct result of the U. S. Attorneys scandal during the administration of C-Plus Augustus. Local conservative pols in New Mexico, for example, wanted U.S. Attorney David Iglesias canned because he wouldn't pursue spurious voter-fraud claims with sufficient political enthusiasm. It was for this precise purpose that Karl Rove and the rest of the White House political team at the time sought to turn the Department Of Justice into a second-rate political chop-shop staffed by ambitious hacks and/or the product of Christianist diploma mills. Remember Monica Goodling? She was a prize. Because these people were allowed to skate without substantial penalties, the virus they loosed into the American political system was allowed to run wild in the states. There was no national consensus developed around the notion that voter-suppression is not a legitimate function of the government, not even when you try to gussy it up as some sort of consumer protection racket. [my emphasis]
Pierce reminds us that voter-suppression as well as unprecedented floods of money will be major features of this year's elections:

Nevertheless, it's clear that the fall elections will take place within two radically new contexts. One is the money context created by the Citizens United decision. The other, closer to the ground, is the context of the voter-suppression laws — and that's what they are, and suppressing votes is what they were meant to do — in the several states. This, I would almost guarantee, is going to set off ugly scenes at polling places around the country, as well as further disillusioning the very voters who lack any other avenue to exercise what little political power they have, which is also the point of these laws.
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