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AUGUST 13, 2018
Kuttner on TAP
Far too many—but not enough to save the Republican House.
There is, of course, well-justified alarm at the return of voter-suppression tactics that evoke the Old South before the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the brutal period after 1877, when Jim Crow laws and official terrorism crushed the original Reconstruction.
Worse, the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling neutered the Voting Rights Act; Republican voter-suppression tactics inspired by the South migrated north, and the Trump Justice Department is now on the side of the suppressors. And if that were not enough, extreme gerrymandering in more than a dozen states translates a 50-50 popular vote election split into a Republican-majority House.
So why on earth should one be optimistic? Well consider the special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, now awaiting a possible recount.
Ohio happens to be a state that has used both voter-suppression tactics and extreme gerrymandering. The 12th District, which has been in Republican hands for three decades, was engineered to keep it that way. In addition, the Republicans who run Ohio purged voting rolls and made voting more difficult.
The result? A structural tilt to the GOP. But even so, in this district that was carried by Donald Trump by 11 points in 2016, the result was effectively a draw.
So democracy may be bruised and battered, but yet it lives. And a cleansing blue wave will more than offset the suppression and the gerrymandering. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER


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