Monday, May 5, 2014

The Plan to Stop Red State Election Crimes

Facing a Few Facts About Voter Suppression

Now, one might be thinking, the old geezer has careened off to another ranting and raving session, calling nice, legal, totally innocent, red state voter suppression an "election crime."  Well now, let's see.

In complicity with billionaire funded gerrymandering, the weird red state penchant for "voter ID" requirements seems to have sprung straight from the pages of a Kafka novel.  Of course, the "elephant in the living" sized missing piece is the essential absence of voter fraud, voter ID fraud, voters with more than on ballot or any of the other dismal litany of make believe horror stories the oligarch think tanks have cooked up to justify the legislation legalizing the "election crime" of voter suppression.

Only one possibility threatens the oligarchs current ownership of these red states.  The conditions which could materialize that possibility can be expressed quite elegantly in two words: "losing elections."  So, it's no surprise that these "hard working money men" are absolutely infatuated with the prospect of rigging synthetic voter ID laws which serve to exclude most of the voters who would ever actually vote against any of their hand picked candidates.

MeanMesa isn't exaggerating. Current estimates suggest that as many as four million legally registered voters have been booted out of the polls by one means or another.  In case you haven't been watching, four million is more than enough to swing the ownership of the House or the Senate -- or the Presidency.

The oligarchs' scheme is, of course, multi-faceted.  An obedient Supreme Court has legalized endless loop holes in campaign contribution law.  The old limits on amount and requirements for transparency are long gone.  Their ownership of the editorial boards of what used to be the Fourth Estate is unquestioned.  Their "hearts and minds" campaign has reduced the country to anxiety ridden, mistrustful, stoic "democracy end timers."  Their think tanks miss no opening to promote violence, glaring misinformation, unchecked bigotry or any other form of simple, out right stupidity.

With all of these oligarch funded anti-democracy schemes at play, we find ourselves in 2014 with a US House controlled by Republicans even though most Americans voted for Democratic House candidates.  This is not just the opinion of a cranky old blogger, either.

Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Young directed us to a December 2012 analysis by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan, Washington, D.C. publication that analyzes and handicaps congressional and gubernatorial races, with the headline "House GOP Won 49 Percent of Votes, 54 Percent of Seats."

Read the entire POLITIFACT article here:  Politifact: House Democrats Won Majority in 2012

This is the picture of an illegitimate minority government in a nation which imagines itself as a "bastion of representative democracy."  The House Republicans in this illicit, un-elected "majority"have generated an endless wave of mayhem and destruction which began the day that John Boehner took the gavel.

However, this particular post is all about permanently solving the voter suppression problem.  Of course, all these "election crimes" dove tail in the near distance, but we need to consider them individually if we intend to make any progress on the problem.

Red State Voter Suppression
How big is the problem?

It's big.

The very creepy legislatures in the red states the oligarchs presently own have been tutored in ways to suppress voting opportunities for registered voters by anti-democracy organizations such as state level ALEC along with a few others.  A consensus of estimates of how many registered, legal voters were denied access to vote in 2012 runs around the 5 million level. 

The crafty means red state legislatures employ to disenfranchise voters vary, but the aggregate effect remains disturbing.  Five million votes nationwide is enough to elect a President. Links to two interesting articles on this matter are:

The US Department of Justice has made a determined, respectable effort to enforce what's left of the tattered voters rights laws, but the oligarchs' Supreme Court has been obliterating the same laws as fast as their old bones can chortle out "unconstitutional."  

Southern states, already a dismal wasteland of democracy for decades, have usually been the first to rush in with new, reprehensible "voter ID" laws [most composed for the illiterate Republican "legislators" by ALEC] and other disenfranchising legislation.  But in the 2014 political environment, otherwise somewhat civilized northern red states have eagerly jumped on the band wagon.  With these sold out state governments when the oligarchs call, the phone gets answered.

So what can be done?

Should we simply steel ourselves to watch the American democracy be fed through the meat grinder of the monied interests?

Maybe not.

Why Red States Look Like "Lolly Pops" to Oligarchs
Why would someone who already lives in a East Coast mansion 
want to own a bunch of smelly, obedient hill billies?

We need to look at just why oligarchs like to own red state governments.  

Probably the first and foremost reason -- and not irrelevant to this post -- when they can control state governments, they can probably also control the Federal Congressional delegation from that state. Now, we might like to say that all of this "happens" because the voters in that state "elected" both the state government and the state's federal delegation of House members and Senators, but in red states with aggressive voter suppression laws that "election" was very likely "decided" by only part of the electorate.  Further, the candidates for that "election" were ushered into place by millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions long before the state primaries even took place.

Of course even the "slowest" oligarchs know this. [Although it's possible these slow ones still paid their think tanks to explain it to them.]

The second reason "wholly owned" red states are so attractive to oligarchs is that the bought and sold legislators in those states are always more than happy to trash expensive environmental laws and the like.  The cash saved rushes right into the corporate pockets of the oligarchs.

And the third reason explaining this rather grotesque interest is because of states' rights, the old Southern plantation owners' "pay back" when the Civil War had ended and slaves were freed. States' rights becomes profitable when Federal dollars allocated for some Federal program are distributed to states to implement.  

This third reason is exactly why red state governors refused the wholly subsidized Medicaid expansion feature of the ACA.  It was a "business decision."  The Medicaid money came with significant Federal "program strings" attached, making the usual task of "states' rights looting" too tedious and risky for the local hill billies.

The basic idea here becomes clear enough when we look at a little research. [The following screen shot was taken from a Huffington Post article on the subject. Visit the original Huffington Post article here: Huffington Post You can also link to another interesting article here: MOTHER JONES]

Green states pay more in tax revenues than they receive from Washington
In the chart, the brighter the red color of a state, the greater the disparity between tax revenue sent to Washing D.C. and the amount of Federal subsidies returned.  The greener the green states are, the same disparity is shown only in the opposite direction.

Green states pay more in taxes than they receive in Federal allotments.

[Interestingly, the article cites New Mexico as a Republican state, and the bright red chart color for the state reflects, accurately, that New Mexico receives lots more from Washington than it send in tax money.

MeanMesa will explain New Mexico's bright red color this way.  New Mexico [home of MeanMesa's Galactic HeadQuarters] is the poorest state in the union. This "aggravates" the chart's ratio. Although New Mexico gets PLENTY of Federal money, we are so poor that the ratio between that amount and the paltry amount of taxes we send to Washington is "sky high."

Although all of this would be interesting enough all by itself, the "solution" to voter suppression promised in this post's title relies on a careful understanding of the facts presented in the chart.]

We should take a look at two more state maps. The first shows states under one-party GOP control [2013]. Voter suppression is found exclusively in these "red states."

Locating voter suppression [Source: MSNBC]
The second shows a US map cartogram of 2012 Presidential election data "weighted" to show population density. We can see approximately the same pattern as in the map shown above. This consideration is much more important with respect to control of the House of Representatives. All the states have two US Senators.

2012 Presidential election weighted for population [map source]
The conclusions emerging from considering these US maps reveals the oligarchs' strategy to insinuate themselves into Congressional power.  Voter suppression is one of the most important parts of this plan.  [The third map would offer even more compelling evidence if it showed 2012 election results for state legislatures. MeanMesa couldn't find that one.]

The MeanMesa Solution
Stopping Red State "Election Crimes"

Of course, if the Americans still had anything resembling a functioning government it would be -- at least, theoretically -- possible that the Congress would step right up and reaffirm the fundamental right to vote, but...really? The tea bags in the House and Senate would willingly "take a slice" out of their Congressional "career opportunities" for anything as flimsy and meaningless to them as the American democracy?

Ferengi [WIKI Ferengi]
Happily, we have just what we need.  We can appeal to their greed!

For voter suppressing red states to ever participate in a plan to re-enfranchise all the voters they've thrown off the registration list, there simply must be an incentive.  Given the "Ferengi-like" nature of the denizens of those red state legislatures, the rest of us will need to make it "worth their while" to have as many people as possible show up for their elections.

Right here, we'll need to stop for a moment and take time to look at the way municipalities fund their public school system.

School districts allocate public education funding based on the number of students in each specific school.  This makes sense, but the real point is what school boards don't do.  What they don't do is allocate public education money based solely on the total population of the respective districts.

On the other hand, the representative body of US House members theoretically allocates Federal money to states based on population.


MeanMesa can assume that the ratio between total populations and legal voters is essentially uniform across the states.  It's possible that some states have more children per voter than others, but that variance would never amount to much.

The data in the charts [above] presents an interesting anomaly between the general pattern of Federal disbursements to states and the varying degrees of state participation in elections.  That disbursement calculation is currently based on  raw state population, but it could be based on the number of ballots cast in that state's elections --  in both state and Federal elections.

Based on this simple premise, the allocation of Federal money to states should logically be based on the number of votes cast in elections.

If the GOP crackers in red state legislatures who have been so busy disenfranchising voters were to suddenly realize that every vote they have suppressed means a reduction in Federal money disbursed to their state, they might adopt a much more "democratic" idea of how important it is to encourage high voter turn out instead of sabotaging it.

Now, that wasn't so complicated after all, was it?

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