What does the Supreme Court's decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act mean for the Republican Party? Follow me, if you will.
Earlier, Spandan wrote an analysis of the decision and how the Democrats should respond to it. Basically, it's an opportunity to do in 2014 what we did in 2012 in the face of voter suppression.
But it's a bit more than that. Much more. To emphasize Spandan's point about demography being destiny: both he and I live in California. Up until Prop 187, the state was more or less reliably Republican, at least in presidential elections. Things were more complex lower down, but the GOP had a lock on our electoral votes. Prop 187 was the galvanizing force which turned a reddish state into pure cerulean blue. How much so? For the first time, Democrats control a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature. And all statewide elected officials are Democrats. The two-thirds majority is big, because that's what you need to pass a budget. No more deals need to be made with the GOP. The governor, Jerry Brown, is from the fiscally conservative wing of the party; but he still supports making needed investments in both physical and human infrastructure, while living within the state's means. And for the first time since the 1990s, the state posted a budget surplus. That's what happens when Democrats run government.
Republicans look at what once was a bulwark and are scared out of their minds that the rest of the country is going that way.California had always been touted as the Shangri-La to which white Midwesterners could retire. In my own city of Los Angeles, we had race-baiting mayor Sam Yorty serving as recently as the late 1960's / early 1970's. Now we've had exactly one Republican mayor in the past 40 years, and he won by being the most moderate of Republicans, and making deals with the Democratic majority on the City Council. Within a generation, with massive foreign immigration, Los Angeles went from being "Indiana on the Pacific" to a true world city, as cosmopolitan and diverse as New York or London.
The Republican brand in California is at an all time low. And, keep in mind, this was down without gerrymandering. California has an independent commission, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, drawing district lines both on the federal and state levels. So, no gerrymandering means that it will be a wash electorally, right? No. This commission drew the lines which gave Democrats a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, and increased the Democratic representation in the Congressional delegation. Unless Democrats muck it up, Republicans have no future in California. And as goes California, so goes the nation. Our state is the precursor of what the rest of the country will look like. Even Old Confederacy states like Georgia will have a large segment of minority voters, who will likely give their votes to Democrats, and joining with liberal whites will tip the balance of power across the south.
Look at what's happening in TX. Here it was Prop 187; there it will be the attack on women's health and voter ID laws. The mobilization over the abortion bill being filibustered by Democrats, led by Wendy Davis, is something TX hasn't seen in decades. The more white Republicans grasp to preserve their remaining power, the more they will lose. Demography already puts the White House out of their grasp, for the most part. And as in 2012, attempts to suppress the vote for 2014 will propel the Democratic electorate to stand in line for hours and obtain any ID required, especially with OFA as a ready-made organization.
Which brings me to my last point. To all the naysayers who are now wailing that "we will never win another election", I have a few questions: Where have you been for the past 12 years? More specifically, where were you in 2000, when Nader's 3% of the vote was enough to throw Florida into chaos and hand the Presidency to George W. Bush? There is a direct line from November of 2000 to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. To pretend otherwise is to ignore history. And where were you in 2010, when the 2008 voters stayed home and handed both the House and state governments across the nation to a radical Republican fringe? There is also a direct line from November 2010 to the SCOTUS ruling. To pretend otherwise is to lie to yourself. And where will you be in 2014? Will you donate to Democratic organizations? Will you drive voters to the polls? Will you make calls? Or will you sit at your computers gnashing your teeth and despairing because the mean nasty Republicans are mean and nasty?
A democracy is only as good as we make it. Without participation, the loudest voices will win. We have to be the loudest voices, voices that make the earth shake. Anything less, and we deserve what we get.
The GOP knows it's heading for history's dustbin. It's time for us to sweep them into it.