The clearly wrong decision by the US Supreme Court allowing Wisconsin’s election to continue is going to a have a lasting effect. And Louisiana is fertile ground for similar attempts to corrupt an election.
Wisconsin has been suppressing voters for decades. Most recently they have been doing this out in the open using courts packed with extreme conservatives to perform their acts of suppression under the guise of “following the law” even when the laws are twisted and bent to the point of breaking. And Louisiana is on the same path.
In 2019 Wisconsin used a Republican appointed judge to remove 234,000 state voters off of their registered voters list. All they had to do was manipulate one small portion of their election laws. The election laws in Wisconsin instructs, in very vague language, that “reliable information” was all that was needed to create a list which they would then purge. They used the very flawed Electronic Registration Information Center which compares voters between states looking for duplicates. Republican’s pursued a lawsuit to circumvent their own guidelines and the Republican lawsuit demanded that the Commission not double-check the voter list, and simply de-register every voter flagged by ERIC. The judge agreed. That’s how, by undermining what constitutes “reliable information,” conservatives obtained a ruling that disproportionately targets Democratic voters and throws up needless barriers to voting. Trump won Wisconsin by 23,000 votes in 2016. A top Republican reelection adviser for Trump told fellow Republicans in Wisconsin that “traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places.” And it has never been more obvious. And this year people will die because of Republican’s political gamble to hold their April 7 election. In Wisconsin’s largest city polling locations were reduced from the typical 180 to just 5. Where are these five locations? In Republican strongholds far from urban centers.
A new year in Wisconsin means new attempts to block Democrats from voting, and again, using their conservative stacked courts to push through anything they desire because they now know that the US Supreme Court “has their backs”. Yesterday, the Supreme Court proved them right. 7,000 poll workers have refused to work due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 1/20 of the normal number of polling locations. Makes me wonder what they have cookin’ when they are so insistent on having an election while the infection rates are still increasing with no leveling in sight.
Wisconsin Republican’s wanted today’s vote to happen and wanted to keep the mail-in ballot deadline the same without the four-day extension. Their Democrat Governor delaying the election, like many other states, was just not acceptable. And apparently neither was the four-day extension for mail-in ballots – during a global pandemic. Wisconsin is now firmly entrenched in continued voter suppression and it’s only going to get more brutal. It will take decades to undo the Republican rigging. Welcome to Louisiana 2024.
Louisiana is very similar in political makeup. Majority Republican House and Senate with a Democratic Governor. As we see voter lists being purged what can we do? The answer is becoming clear: nothing. We already have a stacked conservative judicial branch more than willing to allow voter suppression lawsuits to go through their courts so they can prove just how Republican they are. Closing polling centers is the next obvious step combined with much larger voter purges primarily affecting areas around New Orleans and Baton Rouge. How dare Democrats keep Republican’s from a Supermajority that will allow them to write laws without any need for the Governor’s signature.
And we cannot count on Federal Courts to do the right thing. Mitch McConnell’s number one goal since Trump took office was to stack the Federal Courts with unqualified and young conservative judges that will always take the conservative side. To the point where there is now a backlog of over 150 bills passed in the House waiting for the Senate. These bills will never see the light of day under Trump. That is now a given.
Republicans are willing to let people die if it means a vote for one of their own or their favorite big money donor gets the tax cuts they desire. This is not limited to Wisconsin. There will be a surge in Covid-19 deaths in about 3 weeks in Wisconsin which proves their “Right to life” talking points are now nothing but something to fire up their voting base. The Republican Tea Party is now proven to be nothing but propaganda that Fox News watchers drank up and verbally regurgitated at every Democrat they came near.
The Democrat’s platform has proven, especially during terrible times in our country’s history, that what we are fighting for, and what we’ve been fighting for, directly improves the lives of the middle and working classes. We need to keep our platform, and what we are fighting for, in front of voters. Show them how Republican policy led to the U.S. being the global leader in Covid-19 infections and how a Republican president has made it far worse than it should be. Show them how terrible tying healthcare to employment has turned out. Show them how “Blue” states have a higher quality of life, less pollution, more opportunities, better healthcare while covering pre-existing conditions, and a far fairer system in place to help those who are struggling.
Remember that Louisiana is on the verge of having Republican Supermajorities in our House and Senate in 2024. Remember what they have been fighting for: zero industrial oversight, attempts to undo the Affordable Care Act leading to hundreds of thousands losing healthcare, rural hospitals being shut down all over the state, huge handouts to business through LABI and ITEP with nearly zero of the new jobs they keep promising, driving us into massive debt (Jindal), protecting corporations that have increased cancer dramatically in this state, and stopping Democrats from voting, and they do it all with a smile.
Please vote. We may be Wisconsin in a few short years and you will no longer have the opportunity to elect Democrats and you WILL suffer under a Republican Supermajority. What you will have is a state government run by a bunch of corporate-backed “Phony Rispone’s.”
Jim Francis is a frequent guest writer for Big Easy Magazine and was a candidate for Congress in Louisiana’s first U.S. House congressional district.