To contemporary Republicans, there can never be too much money in an election, but there can be too many voters.
Nationally, Republicans — including those who are members of the United States Supreme Court — have worked hard and effectively to eliminate any restrictions on the amount of money that political donors can invest in their chosen candidates. Let the Koch brothers ring.
Here in Arkansas, the Republican majority in the 2013 legislature enacted a law forcing would-be voters to produce photo identification or forfeit their right to participate in the democratic process. Gov. Mike Beebe vetoed the bill, and properly so, but the legislature overrode his veto. Now, champions of the people's rights have gone to court.
The new law is said by its supporters to be an anti-fraud measure, but they smirk when they say it. The only kind of fraud the law could prevent is already nonexistent. The true purpose of the law is to block voting by those who might not vote Republican — the young, the old, the impoverished, minorities.
"This law stands between qualified voters and the ballot box," says the legal director of the Arkansas ACLU, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed last week challenging the law. They want the law declared unconstitutional and thrown out before the May 20 primary.
Fair elections are well worth saving. It's good there are people willing to go to court to do so. Heaven knows there's little else in Arkansas politics to be happy about these days.
All across this small, poor state, irresponsible and unfeeling political candidates are promising to keep it that way. To them, the only good Arkansan is a rich Arkansan. Both the AARP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare have blown the whistle on the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, who aspires to destroy these great social programs on which millions of Americans, including Arkansans, rely. In just about every state legislative race, candidates shout their opposition to the Affordable Care Act (they call it "Obamacare"), the greatest social program enacted since Social Security and Medicare. Deep-pocketed, small-hearted Republican donors make malicious malarkey possible.
When not trying to deny medical care to the poor and middle class, the right-wingers are trying to close their schools. Better education could well lead to demands for better pay. So when a state Senate candidate in western Pulaski County says that education is her top priority, she means education for the children of families already comfortable. She supports voucher schools, which have failed to improve education wherever they've been tried. The true purpose of voucher schools is to grab public tax dollars for students who are already attending church schools, a forced mingling of church and state, the sort of thing the nation's founders wholeheartedly opposed, knowing the loss of freedom it would bring.
Dreary days, indeed.
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