Friday, 9 September 2011


Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many southern states continued to use various forms of voter manipulation and intimidation; this besides poll taxes and literacy test, to prevent blacks from exercising their constitutional right. Employers of blacks also used their influence, as did powerful politicians and members of the community on black ministers to influence the congregation; one reason that the civil rights movement emerged from the depths of black churches where religion and politics became intertwined.

In 2011, civil rights organizations are arguing that a number of Republican legislators and governors  are trying to use measures as a means of preventing students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from voting. This is not a matter of southern evangelicals who want Democrats kept away from the voting booth, but a much wider issue affecting 38 states. This is largely because of the Tea Party funded by the billionaire Koch brothers who are also behind the American Legislative Exchange Council pushing legislation intended to prevent a group voters that would otherwise be casting a ballot for Democrats from exercising their constitutional right. Some states require proof of citizenship before registering, other states have tighten the screws on the League of Women Voters, others have canceled 'election day registration'.

The non-partisan Latin "Tequila Party" is determined to register 20 million people to vote. The idea of a grassroots political movement to represent the largest minority in the US makes sense, especially given the rising hostility of Republicans toward immigrants. The 'Tequila Party' is not necessarily good news for Democrats, but it is hardly good news for Republicans either. It will confront not just the Tea Party withing the Republican establishment that is at best skeptical about immigration, but a hostile media establishment as well. Racism and xenophobia are factors behind the Tea Party drive to keep certain voters away so that Democrats lose the Senate and White House, but the big money behind the Republicans are using legislative manipulation that filters down as racism and xenophobia which is what common folk understand.

Along with FED policy that can only go so far, the Obama jobs bill is the best last hope to reduce unemployment and permit voters to get off the couch and vote their interests, no matter how Republican legislators and governors are manipulating the political arena. If unemployment and living standards remain at current levels, it will be difficult to see how the Democrats can keep the senate and how Obama defeats a possible Romney/Perry (or some other Tea Party favorite) ticket.

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