Voter suppression: The GOP national pastime

by John Young

Wanted: a new location for the Major League All-Star Game. Qualifications: (1) must love baseball; (2) must show fidelity to self-government, meaning opposition to chicanery that makes it harder for poor people to vote.

Georgia, you’re out, says Commissioner Rob Manfred. Colorado is in, and the reason is good.

Atlanta lost the All-Star Game and baseball’s draft because the major leagues joined the swelling ranks of those repulsed by Georgia’s newly restrictive voting laws.

Hopefully it’s just the beginning of pain for a host of Republican leaders who have aimed a dark stream of spittle at our democracy.

President Biden calls what Georgia has done “Jim Crow on steroids.” That’s not hyperbole when, in addition to decimating the number of ballot drop-off boxes, Georgia goes so far as to forbid giving water to voters standing in line.

This is not a new initiative. Baseball is America’s pastime. Vote suppression has become the Republican Party’s pastime.

That condition has not beset my state. Colorado leads the nation in making voting easy and accessible. Now it will get rewarded with the best baseball has to offer at Denver’s Coors Field.

Colorado has demonstrated that Donald Trump’s screeching about the perils of mail-in voting is just blather.

Colorado has universal mail-in voting. It works.

Not only does Colorado not restrict when people can register or vote, it has same-day voter registration. It works.

Colorado supplies a plentitude of drop-off boxes for mail ballots. It works.

What baseball has said to Georgia is that you can’t host a game treasured by Americans if you spit on something even more cherished: the right to vote.

Not surprisingly, Texas Republicans are winding up to deliver a loogie.

You would think Republicans in Texas wouldn’t need to go all Houston Astros to retain their political advantage. Well, bang that trash can.

A Senate bill would submarine local efforts to increase voter turnout – like extended early voting and the wide availability of voter drop-off boxes.

It would prohibit extended hours meant for shift workers. It would outlaw drive-through voting. It would take decisions about polling places out of the hands of local officials. It would allow partisan poll-waters to videotape voters they deem “suspicious.”

It’s offensive. It’s wrong. It’s hyper-partisan. It’s driven by racism.

Just as surely as Republicans tried to overturn the votes of minority-heavy precincts in the 2020 election, these laws draw a target on poor people and those of color attempting to carry out their citizenly duty.

Republicans cannot deny this. They know it. People of color know it.

Republicans say this is about “election integrity.” It is just the opposite. It’s election dishonesty.

Fortunately, some other players know it, like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines in Georgia. Like American Airlines and Dell Technologies, which have registered their revulsion with what the Texas Senate has voted to do.

What’s most scandalous about the flurry of vote-suppression measures in red states is that their pretext is Donald Trump’s Big Lie about the election. Worse still is the transparent, Trump-style racism inherent.

It’s heartening to see the blowback.

The next blowback will be from black and brown voters.

Godspeed to Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Beto O’Rourke in Texas and progressive forces in Arizona who impress on voters what the Republican Party has attempted to do. I predict it will backfire with increased minority turnout.

The first shoe to drop is what Major League Baseball did last week.

Meanwhile, MLB has awarded its showcase game to a state that loves democracy as much as it loves baseball.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young now lives in Colorado.

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