The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 72

in 2016, along with 26 other Republican-controlled states, to purge over 16 million people from the voting rolls nationally… helping give Pennsylvania (along with Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin, according to Paul Waldman in the Washington Post) to Donald Trump by razor-thin margins far smaller than the number of voters purged and/or turned away at the polls. Meanwhile, another estimated two million Americans tried to vote but were turned away for lack of the proper ID in 2016. Republican voter suppression is thriving in the U.S.: The Brennan Center documents a 33 percent increase in voters purged during the 2014-2016 election cycle (16 million), compared with the 2006-2008 cycle (12 million purged), as the GOP has made ID and purges (along with fear mongering about brown-skinned people) its main electoral strategy. In just the past year, as many as an additional 14 million voters have been purged from rolls nationwide, while over the past two decades every Republican-controlled state has introduced rigid ID laws. But with a national ID system in place that’s universally used because it’s the key to getting your healthcare and medications, there’s no need for “voter registration” and thus no ability for the GOP to purge voters. Voter registration, after all, is a practice we largely got after the Civil War because Southern white politicians warned of “voter fraud” being committed by recently freed black people, and some Northern states used it to prevent poor whites from voting. 70 x The Trial Lawyer In some places in the United States, voter registration just never caught on: North Dakota never bothered to put such a system into place; you just show up at the polls with ID to prove you’re both a citizen and resident, and vote. And with a national Medicare for All ID, every citizen could easily vote, everywhere. Republicans have aggressively opposed a national healthcare program for the United States ever since Harry Truman first proposed it in his November 19, 1945 address to Congress. We’re literally the only developed nation in the world without such a system. But its popularity is well over 50 percent in America right now, and growing rapidly among voters across the political spectrum; this is something that’s politically possible in the very, very near future. In the past, GOP opposition generally revolved around their belief that everything from water to septic to roads to prisons to health care should be run to make somebody rich, and to hell with “the public good.” But it’s a virtual certainty that the deep-dive think tanks and “wise elders” of the GOP also know how easy it is to vote in Canada and other developed countries, in very large part because of the national ID card that Canada’s (and most of Europe’s) Medicare for All programs provide at great ease and no cost. Thus, the Medicare system’s threat to GOP voter suppression systems may be the largest reason they’ve spent so many hundreds of millions of dollars fighting single-payer in the U.S. In most elections, in most states, and nationally in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats win more votes, but Republicans remain in charge, because of gerrymandering made possible by voter suppression at the state level. Even the Senate is held in some red states purely because of voter suppression, leaning heavily on restrictive voter ID laws. And, at the state level, in many — perhaps a majority — of the so-called “red states,” Republicans hold control of state legislatures and governors’ offices only because of voter suppression, ranging from voter-roll purges to voter ID laws. If all U.S. citizens had a free national ID that could also be used to vote, it wouldn’t take long for both Congress and most states to flip back from red to blue like they were during the Carter presidency, before the GOP started their “voter fraud” hysteria and began passing voter suppression laws. With the GOP out of power at the state level, Democrats (and the few remaining ethical Republicans) could replace gerrymandering with good-government solutions like the non-partisan district-drawing commission put into place by California. After that, it’s only necessary to clean up the handful of states that won’t let ex-felons vote (they’ll have a Medicare ID card, after all), to produce a clean, efficient, and fraud-free national elections system. Then America will have joined the rest of the developed world, in having both a national healthcare system and a functioning democracy.