So what happened?

[voter intimidation]

My first reaction on seeing that Trump had won was to say, “Oh,
no. The wrong people just did what I’ve been telling people to
do for decades.”

I have always thought that the way to really fix the current
(before last Tuesday) broken system was to find some way to
energize the 35-50 percent of the voters who don’t bother to vote
even in a presidential election, and the 60-80 percent who don’t
vote in other elections, and the large percentage who aren’t even
registered. And I thought that might account for the Trump
victory, since one of the issues with polling is that the
pollsters are
making a wild guess about who is a “likely voter”.

But it looks like that is probably not what happened. Trump
won with fewer votes than his opponent, and also with fewer votes
than either Mitt Romney or John McCain, who both lost to
President Obama.

A certain amount of coverage of this fact has blamed voter
indifference to both candidates, and also the people who opposed
Trump and decided to express it by a vote for a third-party candidate.

But it seems to me that we should also be looking at whether it
represents a victory for the Republican strategy of limiting
participation by minorities in the election process. They’ve had
pretty much carte-blanche since the Supreme Court removed the
federal oversight of southern states under the 60’s civil rights
legislation, and there are a lot of stories about requiring id’s
and then making it very difficult for people in minority areas to
get the id’s.

I have friends who live in South Carolina in a
largely black area and typically have to wait in line for three
hours to vote. A three hour wait is not only very difficult for
someone with a job and/or a family, it is also an invitation for
“observers” to engage in subtle or not-so-subtle intimidation,
which would be difficult to police even with the best intentions
of the election officials.

So going forward, we should be working very hard to oppose both
laws which have the effect of suppressing turnout, and
implementations of perfectly reasonable laws which make voting
difficult.

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