The Stakes in the 2016 Election


Historical perspective is in order for Democratic voters, a day after it became clearer than ever that Senator Bernie Sanders will not be the Democratic candidate for president, and a day after a baseless federal court ruling on voting rights in North Carolina.

An editorial in the New York Times tells the story well:

“Late Monday, a federal district judge upheld one of the most regressive and restrictive voting laws in the country — a 2013 North Carolina law that eliminated same-day voter registration and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds; cut back on early voting by a week; barred counting votes cast outside voters’ home precincts; and required voters to show identification at the polls.”

The federal judge issuing this decision was one Thomas D. Schroeder, who was rubber stamping a law issued by the Republican governor and legislature of North Carolina, one of 24 states where Republicans control the legislature and the statehouse.

Schroeder was nominated to the federal bench in December 2007 by then President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate a month later.

About that time, I interviewed Ralph Nader, who in 2000 ran for president as an independent and drained enough votes away from Al Gore in certain states to allow George W. Bush to take the presidency (did Bush really win in Florida, by the way?) Nader said then that the choice between Gore and Bush, a Democrat and a Republican did not make a difference. Both parties, he said, were of the same corrupt feather.

Think about the administration of George W. Bush: a trillion dollar war in Iraq based on lies, a recession, the appointment of two Supreme Court justices, sixty-two court of appeals judges, two-hundred-sixty-one federal district court judges and more federal appointments — all followed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that threw open unregulated campaign financing to the highest bidder.

Judge Thomas D. Schroeder’s ruling on North Carolina’s regressive voting law — aimed at restricting the ability of poor people, minorities and the least likely to have access to fulfilling the regulations — is not an accident.

The Times editorial concludes thus:

“Republicans have admitted that they do better when fewer people vote, and that voter-identification laws and other restrictions are intended to deter Democratic-leaning voters from getting to the polls. That’s the reality, and Judge Schroeder was wrong to disregard it. His decision will be appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which should waste no time in knocking down this latest obstacle so that all North Carolinians can exercise their voting rights in November.”

Before weeping along with reading, ask whether voting for president in 2016 matters or not, despite what Ralph Nader said one more time in May 2015:

It really doesn’t matter. If the power structure persists, it doesn’t matter who’s in office. It doesn’t matter what ethnic, racial background. It doesn’t matter how much they know, how much they don’t know. They’re all molded by the corporate power structure that controls Washington from Wall Street, to use a symbolic tour.

Nader was and is still wrong. Argue, but deal with the system you have, imperfect though it may be. Otherwise, go down once more on a principle and a mindless argument that will be lost and lamented for a generation.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Stakes in the 2016 Election

  1. Bill Dorman

    And should Trump be elected, laments likely will last longer than a generation.

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