Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last Call For Swing State Voter Suppression

As I keep saying, the entire point of Republican voter ID laws is to make fewer Democrats vote. 2014 and 2016 will remain uphill battles as long as these laws are in place in swing states like Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls.

The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote.

Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.

Democrats in North Carolina are scrambling to fight back against the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, passed by Republicans there last year. The measures, taken together, sharply reduce the number of early voting days and establish rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.
In all, nine states have passed measures making it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013. Most have to do with voter ID laws. Other states are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a passport, after a federal court judge recently upheld such laws passed in Arizona and Kansas. Because many poor people do not have either and because documents can take time and money to obtain, Democrats say the ruling makes it far more difficult for people to register.

There's no other explanation for this other than Republicans want fewer people to be able to vote, period.  Higher turnout helps Democrats, as 2008 and 2012 showed.  When turnout is low, as in 2010, Republicans win overwhelmingly, if not crushing Democrats completely.

If Republicans can reduce black and Latino turnout by 10% in swing states, they're no longer swing states.

They're red states.  And the GOP knows it.

The Best Free Speech Money Can Buy

This is how our politics works in the post-Citizens United era:  super wealthy casino mogul Sheldon Adelson spent $92 million on the GOP in 2012 and feels he is entitled to purchase the Republican candidate (and President) in 2016.  As such, Republican hopefuls flocked to kiss his ring this weekend as he hosts the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual convention.

Several prospective Republican presidential candidates have gathered in Las Vegas for the opening round of what has been dubbed “the Sheldon Primary,” an event emblematic of how warped the system for financing presidential elections has become.

The Sheldon Primary is named for Sheldon Adelson, the wealthy casino owner who, with his wife, poured more than $92 million into the 2012 elections. Despite all that money, Adelson made some bad bets in the last election, first on former House speaker Newt Gingrich to win the Republican nomination and then on Mitt Romney to defeat President Obama in the general election.

He is now looking toward 2016 with a fresh eye, determined, according to The Post’s Matea Gold and Philip Rucker, to find a non-extremist candidate who can actually win the presidency. Those who are looking at running would be happy to have that kind of financial support. Some of them have come to Las Vegas on Friday for a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, but also to meet privately with Adelson.

Adelson has become a symbol of the new system of financing presidential elections. He and others play under legal rules. But this new financing structure has had a corrosive effect on public confidence in government and politicians. It is why so many Americans feel shut out of the process.

One trained seal barking for cash this weekend at So You Want To Be President is Ohio's own governor, John Kasich.

Gov. John Kasich can say all he wants that he isn’t interested in running for president. Yet here he is this weekend, along with a few others whose national ambitions are far less ambiguous, rubbing elbows with top donors.

Kasich delivered the luncheon keynote Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring conference, held at casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s opulent spread on the strip.

“All the things we believe in? They work,” Kasich told a ballroom crowd of about 300.

They're all here, because Adelson owns every single one of them.

Besides Kasich, the list of Saturday speakers included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and John Bolton, the former United Nations ambassador.

Jeb Bush the former governor of Florida, headlined a private dinner for upper-level RJC donors Thursday evening. And former Vice President Dick Cheney will speak Saturday evening over dinner. There are plenty of other faces familiar to political junkies, too, including Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary under President George W. Bush.

All of them are auditioning to Adelson.  What GOP voters actually want, Adelson will tell them.  $100 million is chump change to a guy worth tens of billions.

The Ghost Of Bushie Future

The Romney Country Club wing of the GOP is getting very, very nervous about not having anyone who isn't completely insane in 2016 to try to stop Hillary Clinton.  To that effect, they're taking a page from the Clinton playbook and running the fundraising numbers on drafting Jeb Bush.

Many of the Republican Party’s most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy.

Concerned that the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal has damaged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political standing and alarmed by the steady rise of Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), prominent donors, conservative leaders and longtime operatives say they consider Bush the GOP’s brightest hope to win back the White House.

Bush’s advisers insist that he is not actively exploring a candidacy and will not make a decision until at least the end of this year. But over the past few weeks, Bush hastraveled the country delivering policy speeches, campaigning for Republicans ahead of the fall midterm elections, honing messages on income inequality and foreign policy, and cultivating ties with wealthy benefactors — all signals that he is considering a run.

Many if not most of Mitt Romney’s major donors are reaching out to Bush and his confidants with phone calls, e-mails and invitations to meet, according to interviews with 30 senior Republicans. One bundler estimated that the “vast majority” of Romney’s top 100 donors would back Bush in a competitive nomination fight.

“He’s the most desired candidate out there,” said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.”

The same geniuses who gave us Johnny Volcano and Mister Forty-Seven Percent are now betting their billions on Jebbie.  And he'd have even more baggage than the two of them combined, with his brother's failures, his father's failures, and his own myriad of screw-ups as governor of Florida, starting with charter schools and Stand Your Ground.

The Screeching Shamnesty crowd will never accept him either, and the GOP's only remotely useful argument "Can America really afford another Clinton in the White House?" evaporates the second Jeb Bush gets involved and reminds all the voters of the recessions, depressions and economic destruction the last two of them caused.

Over on the other side of the fence, Jazz Shaw asks an important question involving Jeb:

But in order for this next primary cycle to play out according to the preordained script, we have to have a big, conventional wisdom, establishment candidate to face down the grassroots upstarts, right? And if turns out that Christie is damaged goods and it’s not Bush, then who would it be?

Good question.  Not a whole lot of candidates left for the big money wing who aren't already also-rans from 2008 and 2012.  There's a reason why Jeb was passed over twice.

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