Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cast Your Vote & Smile For the Camera!

With live coverage of the New Hampshire primaries underway on the always-reliable WNYC, I'm preparing to go home, make dinner and binge out on political analysis.

Some of the Republican presidential candidates, particularly New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, are going to have to make some tough decisions tomorrow depending on how the primary results pan out.

Christie only captured 1.8% of the vote in the Iowa caucus last week, and he won none of the 30 delegates at stake either as he came in 10th place.

So I'm interested to see if the pummeling he gave Marco Rubio at the GOP debate on Saturday is enough to persuade the notoriously late-deciding New Hampshire voters to push Christie to a top three finish tonight - anything under 3rd place and he's really going to have to consider whether or not it's realistic for him to continue.

Earlier this morning on The Brian Lehrer Show there was an interesting segment with New Jersey Public Radio reporter Matt Katz, who produces The Christie Tracker podcast, (which has the latest on the Bridge Gate scandal) and Annie Karni who's in New Hampshire covering Hillary Clinton's campaign for POLITICO.

Definitely worth a listen if you want some insight from a reporter who really knows Christie.

Journalist / author Ari Berman
Not to be outdone on New Hampshire primary day coverage, Leonard Lopate had an insightful but disturbing interview this afternoon with Ari Berman, senior contributing writer for The Nation.

Berman, author of the timely non-fiction book published in 2015, "Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle For Voting Rights in America", has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the issue of voting right in this nation.

Berman used that knowledge to cover a lot of territory during his interview with Leonard Lopate this afternoon.

From Senator Ted Cruz's long-time advocacy for the aggressive (and borderline illegal) suppression of the right to vote for those Americans who tend to pull the lever for Democrats, to the Republican party's determination to maintain control over state legislatures across America in order to enact even more restrictive laws and regulations designed to make it harder for college students, the elderly, African-Americans, Hispanics, legal immigrants and people convicted of felonies to cast their votes and participate in the Democratic process.

If you're interested in hearing how the current crop of Republican presidential candidates are also working to keep (some) people from voting, you might want to give the interview a listen.

As Berman reported in an article for The Nation yesterday, New Hampshire is one of the 16 states controlled by majority-Republican legislatures who've enacted tough new voter ID laws for the 2016 presidential elections.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice reports, those states account for 178 electoral college votes.

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency - think about that.

As if the snowstorm hitting New Hampshire on  primary day isn't enough, the state's new voter ID laws include a provision that calls for registered voters who don't have ID with them at the polls to sign an affidavit, then submit to having their picture taken.

It's absurd and a clear violation of the right to privacy - and ironic that it's the law in the "Live Free Or Die" state.

But, as Ari Berman pointed out in an article for The Nation back in January, as the then-solicitor general of Texas Ted Cruz said back in 2008 after filing a court brief in support of restrictive new voter ID laws in Indiana:

"There is no right to be free from any inconvenience or burden in voting"

With that I must be off, coverage of the New Hampshire primaries is about to get underway and I'm interested to see if registered voters report having problems casting their votes because of these new Republican voter suppression measures.

I guess Republicans would say it's not that bad, if you forget your ID in New Hampshire, all you have to do is sign an affidavit and smile for the camera!

As for who does what with all those photos of folks who didn't have ID's, I'm sure right-wing Republicans and their friends at the American Legislative Exchange Council have some great ideas.

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