Friday, September 12, 2014

The Sound & The Fury: GA Sec of State Brian Kemp Warns About "Registering All These Minority Voters"

Georgia Sec. of State Brian Kemp 
In terms of the GOP's rather feeble minority outreach efforts, March of 2013 seems like the distant past - or possibly another dimension.

That's when a far more conciliatory and humbled Republican National Committee made national headlines with the release of a frank and openly self-analytical examination of their 2012 election losses acknowledging the urgent need of the GOP to do more to reach out to women, minorities and the LGBT community.

Here's a quote from that report:
“the Republican Party must be committed to building a lasting relationship within the African American community year-round, based on mutual respect and with a spirit of caring.”

Recent comments by Georgia Secretary of State of Georgia Brian Kemp would suggest that the "commitment" to a more progressive GOP was little more than superficial self-serving hot air.

According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, at a GOP breakfast earlier this summer Kemp told an audience:

“In closing I just wanted to tell you, real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”

By "all these minority voters" I assume he meant the citizens of Georgia exercising their Constitutional right to participate in the Democratic process? 

In its quest to recapture the Senate, maintain a majority in the House, keep "super majorities" in state legislatures around the nation and take another crack at the White House, the GOP is busy trying to harvest the fruits of the Southern Strategy by dividing voters along racial lines and making it more difficult for students, the poor, the working class, the elderly and minorities to vote - and not just in Georgia.

Just last Thursday federal judge Peter Economus blocked efforts by Republicans in Ohio to eliminate early voting hours and ordered the state to add more voting dates to the calendar in the interest of ensuring equal access to the electoral process in November by minorities, the elderly and the poor. Republican secretary of state Jon Husted and Republican Governor John Kasich were both active supporters of measures intended to suppress votes.

While those kinds of measures may stand in total contrast to the Democratic principles of freedom the Republicans like to claim they stand for, it's par for the course with today's GOP.

A Washington Post article reports that a staggering 95% of Republican House districts are majority white - a direct result of years of Republicans spending their time in Washington gerrymandering House districts into all manner of bizarre shapes to create Republican majority districts where they don't actually exist.

Take a moment to look at the shapes of some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country from this Wonkblog article in the Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham. These are the kinds of bush-league tactics a Republican Party that can't win on the issues employs to win elections. 

Speaking of issues, as the fall elections approach, the default Republican strategy for stimulating the economy, cutting taxes for the wealthiest citizens by stripping revenue from critical state programs (like cutting pay for teachers and firefighters or stripping funding for schools) has proved to be as big a failure as it was when it was called the "trickle down" theory under Ronald Reagan.

Bond rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poors both recently downgraded the state of New Jersey's bond rating because of a flat economy and Governor Chris Christie's failure to shore up the states massive pension obligations in part because if his ill-advised and highly criticized decision to grant generous tax breaks to (drum roll please...) the states wealthiest individuals.

By the way, that's the record eighth time the state of NJ's bond rating has been downgraded under Christie's leadership and the state still lags almost last among the fifty states in new job creation - no wonder Hizzoner has spent much of the summer traipsing around the country trying to sew the seeds for a 2016 run at the White House.

It's the same story in Kansas where Republican Governor Sam Brownback famously trumpeted the explosion in job growth a generous tax cut for the wealthiest Kansas citizens would create. So he slashed state spending and what happened?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of August 18th, Kansas created a grand total of 6,900 jobs - a gain of . 5 %. Point 5 percent. Right across the state line in Missouri where tax cuts were NOT used to strip the state of revenue during a fragile economic recovery, job growth has been 1.2% for the same period.

Such is the state of the Republican Party party as we approach critical fall elections.

As Shakespeare said, "Sound and fury signifying nothing."

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