Well, we all knew this was coming. Republicans are more emboldened than ever to engage in massive voter suppression and Georgia Republicans are running with it:
Georgia is starting to look like a swing state, and Republicans aren’t happy about it. In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by just 5 points, and demographic trends may continue to erode Republicans’ grasp on the state. Yet because of the state Legislature’s egregious gerrymandering, Republicans hold a near-supermajority in the state House. They’d like to regain an actual supermajority in 2018. So last week, the House passed a bill that would kick black voters out of several GOP districts, trading them for Republican-friendly white voters.
They’re not even trying to hide the racist agenda behind this move. They are trying to hide it from the public, doing it in secret and ramming it through quickly so no one has time to mount a protest but they seemingly don’t care if anyone notices just how unconstitutional it is. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern is confused about the timing of the move so far in advance of the 2020 census but a few reasons stick out:
- Trump is incredibly unpopular and becoming more so every day. In a state that’s bordering on purple, this is dangerous for Republicans. One good blue wave in 2018 will bring their efforts to suppress black voters to a screeching halt and things unravel from there.
- This is a test. If Republicans find out that they can pass these laws and have them kept in place by a split Supreme Court, the sky’s the limit. It might also light a fire under the Senate GOP’s ass to get Scalia’s replacement confirmed so there’s less chance of voter suppression laws being struck down.
- Usually, Republicans pass voter suppression laws closer to elections so they can generate the maximum amount of confusion and “accidentally” strip voters of their rights. But redrawing the electoral map doesn’t benefit from confusion. By doing it early, this gives Republicans time to either get it settled through the courts in their favor or to try again if their scam gets struck down.
This is only the beginning. Faced with a wildly unpopular president, an extremely angry and activated liberal base and a press that’s no longer willing to play the “both sides” game to the GOP’s advantage, Republicans have no choice but to take voter suppression into banana republic territory in order to hold on to power. This is the end game for the Republican Party; they either permanently rig elections in their favor or risk being relegated to a minority party as the power of the white vote fizzles out over the next 15-20 years.