Can you say backfire? From the games of Secretary of State John Husted in Ohio, to the changes in early voting laws in Florida, GOP plans to prevent President Obama from being re-elected backfired bigtime.
The goal, as stated by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2010, was to have as a “top priority of the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” The voter suppression effort, coupled with a plan by Republicans in the House to stop the President from succeeding legislatively by way of gridlock, didn’t work.
Ten attempts at voter suppression by the states across the country were blocked one after the other in the courts this year. The idea that state governement and election officials would make voting more difficult gave birth to a host of initiatives specifically set up to get people to the voting booth on election day. It worked.
From IMPACT’s #VoteReady campaign to the National Urban League’s Occupy the Vote drive to the NAACP’s registration and voter education drive, organizations and churches organized around voter registration and participation. Would they have done so if Republicans hadn’t created a strategy around voter suppression?
In May, the Congressional Black Caucus held a summit with ministers from a across the country attended by Attorney General Eric Holder, educating faith leaders what they could and could not do as a 501(c) entity with regard to voter education. Rev. Al Sharpton used his TV and radio show as a way of galvanizing enthusiasm around voting.
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) along with local ministers and Sharpton, organized Souls to the Polls during the first weekend of early voting. Thousands participated. These efforts were a direct answer to Florida Republicans in the statehouse shortening the number of early voting days.
To top it off, GOP strategy ignored issues important to Hispanics and women. Dream Act? Romney opposed it. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? Romney never said whether he supported it or not. The GOP platform passed in Florida at their national convention featured a strict anti-abortion passage — and it all happened during the Todd Akin controversy. Exceptions for rape and “life of the mother” disappeared from the platform and the party’s nominee would appeared to have been in agreement.
The results came in Tuesday. Review the gender gap numbers, the Black turnout and the Latino shift to President Obama. What it all adds up to is a policy driven backfire on the GOP.