"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Voter Suppression

10:22 Saturday, 23 April 2016

There's been a great deal of coverage of new voting restrictions put in place in states with majority Republican state legislatures. Of course, the Democrats may have some problems of their own in New York City.

What doesn't get a lot of coverage is the voter suppression effort underway as an unintended consequence of the primary campaigns.

I don't follow many Republican partisans, so I don't know how toxic it is in that party; but it's pretty damn toxic in the Democratic party. Here's a little sample from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo who tweeted yesterday:

One person responded:

I unfollowed Marshall several weeks ago for stuff like this. I've muted many of the people I normally follow on Twitter because they're bitter partisans.

The dominant narrative is that Hillary is going to get the nomination, it's near enough to "mathematically impossible" for Sanders to win that Hillary's eating ice cream on camera. Yay, team Hillary!

But all is not well. On Diane Rehm's weekly news roundup on Friday, one of the panelists mentioned that never before have the two leading candidates' negatives been so high. That's before they're nominated!

I think people like Marshall believe that once Bernie withdraws from the race and says he supports Hillary, and he will, and asks all of his supporters do the same, they'll just utter a brief, "Bygones!" and everything will be okay. (Very obscure cultural reference to Ally McBeal's Richard Fish. It's a 90s thing. Kinda.) Someone will write a very pithy essay about family dynamics in the Democratic party, and how we all fight like cats and dogs, but you know, when the chips are down, we all come together, blah, blah, blah...

Except, no. We won't.

Yes, many of Bernie's supporters are "sore losers," and that's a character defect and nobody should be proud of it. But what's worse, amazingly, are the Hillary camp's "sore winners," as epitomized by Josh Marshall's tweet above. These are folks who will want every one of Bernie Sanders' supporters to turn out to vote for Hillary.

Can they just bite their tongues and accept their victory, smile through clenched teeth, let the Bernie "bros" bitch and moan and vent? (I love how the supporters of the first female presidential candidate likely to be their party's nominee adopt the pejorative "bro" because of it's alliterative attraction to "Bernie." That's just brilliant. As if no women support Bernie, or only the men are mean about it. Genius!)

Nope! They have to respond!

It seems like they're extremely resentful that their candidate isn't beloved by a majority of at least their side of the ideological spectrum. It can't be anything wrong with their candidate, it must be those other "stupid" people. We must mock them!

And in the process, further alienate the very people they are absolutely going to need if they really hope to see Hillary in the White House.

These are the "smart" people. The ones who know Bernie is "unrealistic." That America needs a pragmatic moderate!

Yes, Hillary has been treated unfairly by virtually everyone, including and especially her husband, throughout her entire political career. But it hasn't stopped her, indeed she's still going to win the Democratic nomination for president. Being treated unfairly isn't a qualification for president. It's not evidence that you have the best ideas, or the most compelling vision for America. (Speaking of which... ?) It has nothing to do with any of the reasons why she ought to be president, so maybe we should just, you know, not focus on it so much? It seems like nurturing resentment more than anything else.

The conventions will produce gauzy videos "introducing" their candidates, and there'll be a brief honeymoon period afterward, when their respective negatives will go down a bit; but then the campaigns will begin in earnest and it will be all negative, and so they'll go right back up again, higher than before the convention.

All this negative energy is going to depress voter turnout. People are not energized by relentless attacks. People are turned off by them, and cease to care.

The fact is, if we get Hillary, we get more of the same ongoing slow-motion fucktastrophe that we've been enduring since Bush the Second, with a brief two-year interlude at the beginning of Obama's first term, before the Tea Party lit the fuze to blow up the government.

If we get Trump, we get an accelerated fucktastrophe, and maybe after one term we figure out how to get our collective head out of our ass and begin to work our way out of this mess.

Which is preferable? I have no idea. I just know that things are going to get much, much worse before they begin to get better, regardless of who wins the White House.

And with the sore winners alienating their notional allies, they're just doing the Republicans' job of voter suppression for them. The only people voting will be the most committed crazies, er, partisans, in both parties.

The rest of us are going to be so sick of all of them that we just won't care anymore.

When the alarm goes off on the morning of November 8th, most of us are just going to put the pillow over our heads and go, "Aw, fuck it."

At least some of the bullshit will be over.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some campaign manager will make Hillary seem like the second coming of Jesus Christ, and make us believe getting so many more years of Bill Clinton in the White House really is a "two-for-one" deal. Maybe Trump will get a personality transplant and seem "presidential" and "statesmanlike." Maybe folks will be eager to go to the polls to support their respective inspirational leaders.

I doubt it.