Today’s column in the Miami Herald is a warning to the kinds of voters who chose Barack Obama in the last presidential election: Florida Republicans want to make it very hard for you to do it again.
Last week, we learned that even achieving the highest level of academic and political success — up to and including being elected president of the United States — is not enough to exempt an African American from having it demanded of him, by even the Washington press corps, that he prove the circumstances of his birth to a white, B-list television personality.
The racial enmity — dare I say envy — of people like Donald Trump, and the parade of racists and rejectionists rallying behind the birther banner will soon lose media interest.
But there are forms of rejectionism that in a way are more pernicious, in that they target not President Obama, but rather the people who voted for him, and who Republicans fear will do so again.
In Florida, the GOP-dominated legislature will soon pass laws squeezing the voting methods favored by minorities, college students and the working class.
Between them, the House and Senate bills would cut early voting from two weeks to one; force people who need to update their name or address on Election Day (say, due to marriage or divorce or a move by a military family) to vote on provisional ballots; and impose onerous restrictions on groups registering people to vote.
In the most extreme case, Republicans hope to pack the Supreme Court to undermine the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts Amendments voted through by a public who actually thought the authoritarians in Tallahassee would let a little thing like the Constitution come between them and their stranglehold on power.
And in an especially creative flourish, Rick Scott and his Cabinet have revived the spirit of Jim Crow by re-imposing restrictions on voting rights restoration that had been brought into the 21st Century by former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Read the full column here.