Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Poison Chalice?

The GOP has been reveling in today's Voting Rights Act decision.  But as this article points out I suspect that in years to come -- three at a minimum -- folks will realize this decision was a classic case of being careful what you wish for.

From Business Week...
How important is this decision? Well, since 2006 the U.S. Justice Department has blocked 31 attempts to change voting laws, most of them in the nine, mostly Southern states fully covered by the relevant section of the law. Most, if not all, of those proposed changes would have aided Republican electoral fortunes by making it harder for minorities to vote because most vote Democratic. But the Justice Department stepped in. 
Now that can no longer happen. These nine states, along with those partially covered by the law, will be able to pursue whatever changes they like, free of federal oversight. They’re all but certain to make changes that favor GOP candidates.  
On its face, this looks like a big victory for Republicans. Is it really? I suspect it will turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Many of the GOP’s current problems stem from the fact that it is overly beholden to its white, Southern base at a time when the country is rapidly becoming more racially diverse. In order to expand its base of power beyond the House of Representatives, the GOP needs to expand its appeal to minority voters. As the ongoing battle over immigration reform demonstrates, that process is going poorly and looks like it will be very difficult. 
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act will make it easier for Republicans to hold and expand their power in those mainly Southern states. That will, in turn, make it easier for them to hold the House. It will also intensify the Southern captivity of the GOP, thereby making it harder for Republicans to broaden their appeal and win back the White House.

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