Democracy Is Now Un-American

This tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document.

– Mike Lofgren, former GOP Congressional staffer

After two and a quarter centuries of progress which saw expansion of the franchise from land-owning white men to blacks, women and eighteen year-olds, many conservatives have decided they have had quite enough “more perfect union,” thank you, and have accelerated their efforts to shrink participation in democratic elections.

In recent days, American Thinker  posted “Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American,” by Matthew Vadum, reflecting conservative concerns about too many of “those people” participating in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. But American Thinker‘s title says it all:

Registering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.


Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor. It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money. It’s about raw so-called social justice. It’s about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers.

The comments section is a trove of anti-democratic sentiment: “I believe that the vote should be limited to people that own property or a business”; “One person one vote is a recipe for political suicide and the Communist’s dream”; “Unless you pay taxes, you should not be permitted to vote”; “We should not only purge welfare slackers and other un-Americans from the voter rolls — including anyone who is unemployed and therefore not a producer, but voting should be proportional depending on net worth or taxes paid”; etc. Such patriots think their views echo the beliefs of the founders. But then, so does owning other human beings.

Thus, efforts by liberal groups and Democrats to make voting easier are met by the right with legislative hurdles that make it harder to participate. Ari Berman’s Rolling Stone  piece, The GOP War on Voting, elaborates on GOP vote suppression efforts:

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots … In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

In a lengthy Truthout  commentary, “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult,” longtime congressional staffer, Mike Lofgren, provides insider background on the vote suppression effort and details his reasons for leaving his staff job. There is rottenness in both parties, he explains, and Democrats seeking “centrism” may have brought working people NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and permanent most-favored-nation status for China that helped erode the middle class. “But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way,” writes Lofgren. “The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy,” on the Republican side, something Beltway pundits are slow to recognize and/or too cowed to say publicly.

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