Saturday, November 17, 2018

Reality Check: This is how many Congressional Seats and Governorships Republican Voters Suppression Efforts Cost Democrats in the 2018 Midterm Elections:

Republican Voter Suppression Strategy  Is Increasingly Effective

Voter Suppression was highly effective for the Republican Party in the 2018 Midterms.

What is Voter Suppression?

Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting.

Voter Suppression is part of the history of the United States of America.

It was most famously deployed in former Confederate States as a way of disenfranchising newly freed slaves after the American Civil War ended in 1865. Although it was illegal to ban voting on the basis of race alone after the passing of the 15th amendment to the Constitution in 1870, African Americans in the South were discouraged from voting by being subject to poll taxes, literacy tests (that were made up for them on the spot to fail), pure terrorism in the form of KKK rallies and lynchings (public hangings), and economic disincentives. The voting rights of African Americans were not protected until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the greatest achievements of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Although every American citizen, including anyone born in the USA has a right to vote, other groups, such as Latino Americans who are not economically and socially integrated in Western States, Native Americans on reservations who may not have required "street addresses" on driver's licenses but have P.O. boxes as an address (a problem in North Dakota), and college students who may lack the propers forms of increasingly rigorous ID requirements found themselves disenfranchised this year.

Republican officials such as Georgia's Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, whose successful race for Georgia's Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams was helped by his throwing off the voting rolls of up to 60,000 voters for questionable reasons are other examples of how Republicans can write rules which elect them. This is a strategy which will increasingly benefit them as the natural Republican constituency - older, white people who aim to protect their narrow (and wealthy) economic interests -- decline as a percent of total voters.

Here are my estimates for how many seats the Republicans won because of voter suppression.

Voter Suppression in Mississippi - 3,959 black victims of mob violence in twelve southern states between 1877 and 1950
(Note- See the Memorial that Recently Opened in Mississippi to Lynchings Here)


Florida: (Andrew Gillum)  (The race has not been called and is in recount at the time of this article, but Gillum is expected to lose.

Several  reports show how the Florida election machinery, which was controlled by Rick Scott and the Republican Party, disfavored younger and minority voters.

Georgia: (Stacey Abrams).  The Georgia governor's race of 2018 will be a textbook case of why voting reform needs to become a priority if the USA is to protect its democracy in future years.

Senate Seats:

The Senate itself is not a purely Democratic institution. Every state has two Senators. California, the most populous state, which now has more than 40 million people has as much representation as Wyoming, which has 600,000 people. California is now a reliably blue (Democratic) state, and Wyoming a reliably red (Republican) state. There is no way this requirement will change anytime soon, it is one of the core foundations of the Republic and would require 3/4 of the states to agree to a change - something that is not going to happen anytime soon. 

We know that at least one new Senator, Rick Scott, the current Governor of Florida, will be in office through suppression of younger and minority voters. A recount is underway at the time of writing this article.  Bill Nelson, who has not conceded but almost will certainly lose once the recount is over.

There are two seats where voter suppression hurt the Democratic Party incumbent. However, I do not think they would have won reelection since Trump is so popular in their states. 

Missouri: Claire McCaskill

North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp

Example of Gerrymandered House District -- How to Keep Republican Numbers Up in Congress

House of Representatives:

My projection is that voter suppression, including gerrymandering,  has cost the Democratic Party at least 12 seats in the 2018 House of Representatives.

This is, admittedly, hard to prove. Gerrymandering in places like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Ohio is costing costing Democrats at least 4 or 5 seats on their own.

If the 2020 election is as close as past ones, and if large states like Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are as close as they were in 2016, voter suppression will continue to be a key and effective weapon for the Republican Party to deploy in the face of demographic changes that are going against them.

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