“It’s time for your favorite part of this comedy show—history class, bitches!” So sayeth Amber Ruffin midway through her Friday examination of just why Republican state legislatures and other GOP politicians who just attempted to overthrow American democracy are so darned worked up about nonexistent voter fraud. Noting that Donald Trump’s 50-gun fusillade of spurious lawsuits challenging his election defeat produced the wet fart of “more ‘L’s than Laverne DiFazio’s wardrobe,” Ruffin indeed took us all the way back to the start of the GOP’s national nightmare (Black people being allowed to vote) to show how this current mania for voter suppression is some so-white-it’s-transparent bullshit.
Noting how some 47 states have introduced a whopping 361 bills to restrict voting rights and access since the GOP’s Glorious Leader got shit-canned in November, Ruffin zoomed out, historically. The 15th Amendment let Black people vote. White lawmakers freaked out and instituted Jim Crow voting laws throughout the land. The 1965 Civil Rights Act (specifically the bigot-targeted Section 5) provided safeguards against states changing their voting laws to disenfranchise Black voters. White Republican lawmakers freaked out (spurred to action by record Black turnout helping in the election of the first ever Black person to the presidency in 2012), and successfully pushed to destroy the Voting Rights Act (and that pesky Section 5), with the divided Supreme Court declaring the whole racist voter suppression thing (as well as racism as a concept), no longer an issue. Whew, that’s a relief.
Except, as Ruffin pointed out, that’s some laughable nonsense, as the raft of targeted voter suppression laws since have conclusively proven. Now, after a COVID-cautious nation set century-old voting records in 2020 through the use of mail-in voting, expanded voting hours, early voting, absentee voting, and other measures that make the foundational act of democracy less of a burden for people who can’t afford any more burdens in their life, Republican legislatures everywhere have passed laws curtailing those voting methods. (And, as Ruffin noted, adding some measures just plain super-villain mean, as in Georgia’s new law against giving beleaguered voting line-standers a damned snack to tide them over.)
As Ruffin notes, these pathetically obvious voter suppression tactics are specifically focused on those communities (Black, working class, urban) that helped oust Donald Trump, essentially, “making voting so time-consuming that working class voters can’t afford to do it.” Concluding the night’s sadly ever-relevant American history lesson, Ruffin explained how this grotesquely predictable current “voter suppression craze” among GOP politicians stems less from a concern about election fraud (which barely exists), and more from their own shock that previous and extensive Republican efforts to rig the game for Trump just weren’t rigged enough.