Tag: Special Interests

Those Evil Vote Suppressing … Democrats?

Today is an election day in Pennsylvania. Turnout is expected to be very low, as it is in all states that time elections off of the federal cycle. There has been a movement afoot to get states to line up their elections with federal elections, something voters and citizens favor overwhelmingly.

Guess who is standing of this and why?

The consolidation bills, which were generally sponsored by Republicans, typically failed because of Democratic opposition, according to Anzia. By her account, Democrats opposed the bills at the urging of Democratic-aligned interest groups, namely teachers unions and municipal employee organizations.

Consider a 2011 bill in Michigan to move school board elections to November of even-numbered years. The Michigan Education Association, a teachers union, testified against the bill, as did associations of school boards and administrators. The bill ended up passing on nearly a party-line vote, with almost all Democratic legislators opposed and almost all Republican legislators in favor.

Looking at the 102 bills aimed at consolidating school board elections with other elections between 2001 and 2011, Anzia found that 72 were sponsored either exclusively or predominantly by Republicans, compared with 23 that were sponsored exclusively or predominantly by Democrats. The bills sponsored by Democrats were also generally much weaker than the Republican bills. For example, the Democratic bills typically permitted municipalities to hold on-cycle elections while the Republican bills required them to do so.

Moreover, for the subset of bills that went to a vote, Republicans were far more likely to vote “yes” than Democrats. For all the bills that went to the floor, Anzia estimates that Republicans voted for consolidation 60 percent of the time and Democrats 40 percent.

The difference is even starker when you look at the “strong” consolidation bills that would require local elections to move to the federal cycle.

There’s no mystery as to why unions want turnout for local elections to be low. It’s so that they can control them. In any local election, the unions turn out like crazy because they know that school boards and local politicians exercise immense control over spending and hiring. Without a federal election to drive up turnout, there is no counterbalancing force. In fact, Anzia’s research shows that public employees in areas with off-cycle elections get higher pay and benefits than those with on-cycle elections.

It is accepted wisdom in our society that Democrats are all in favor of everyone voting while Republicans want to suppress the vote, especially the vote of black people, to serve their special interests. Why else would Republicans want to require ID to vote … for free … like many other democracies? And at the risk of being accused of “saying both sides do it” — currently the gold standard for responding to revelations about Democratic chicanery — this shows a much more focused and naked interest.

And at least the Republicans have the public on their side. Voter ID laws are supported by 70-80% of the public, including a slim majority of Democrats. By contrast, having local elections off the federal cycle is opposed by the 70-80% of the public, including 70-80% of Democrats.

(The excuse being made is that, in a consolidated election, the ballot would be too long for people to have a good feel for each election. This would apparently be worse than … not voting at all.)

So … who exactly is sabotaging the elections in favor of their special interests? Oh, right. Must be the Republicans. ‘Cuz we all know they’re evil.

(PS – And you should check out the comments on 538’s site and their Twitter feed. The idea that Democrats are noble defenders of the electorate and Republicans are evil vote suppressing maniacs is a deeply ingrained faith.)

Axlerod’s Dollars

You know, instead of trying to delegitimize the Court’s decision before they make it (assuming they overturn Obamacare, which at least SCOTUSblog thinks won’t happen), the media could be, I dunno, talking about how we got Obamacare in the first place:

Rewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.

The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod’s firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets

You should read the whole thing, which is as complicated as a Wall Street scam. It describe an advocacy group created by Democrats and funded by industry to support Obamacare. This was, you remember, at a time when it was opposition to reform was being blasted as industry astroturfing. Anyway, at White House direction, the lobbying group hired Axlerod’s firm to run ads.

To me, the corruption or appearance thereof in the hiring of AKPD is the lesser issue, although the one that runs afoul of ethics laws. The more telling thing — the thing the mainstream media has rarely talked about — is how deeply involved industries like big Pharma, big Labor and Big Medicine were in the writing, promotion and ultimate passage of PPACA.

Just something to keep in mind tomorrow if/when the Left Wing starts screaming about the will of the people being over-written.

Aside: I have no idea how the Court is going to rule tomorrow. There’s a part of me that worries about an overturn since Obamacare without the mandate is worse for our country that Obamacare with one. And I don’t trust Congress to find a fix if industry suddenly has to insure everyone no matter what. As far as the Constitution goes, however, I think overturning it is the right thing to do. And I’m disgusted by the attempts of the Left to undermine the decision before it’s been made.

(If the Court does uphold Obamacare, the only solace would be watching the Left have to backpedal and admit they were wrong … if the Left had any shame. But the don’t, so I expect they would simply declare victory and pronounce the law unrepealable since SCOTUS upheld it.)

In the end, if SCOTUS just overturns the mandate, the consequences will be slow in coming. As Ezra Klein points out, under Obamacare, not having insurance is a really great deal. You can pay only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year and still get insurance at the last minute. This is what happens when a law is crafted to politics rather than results.