Stewart Acuff

May 16

Defending Democracy

In a military style pincer movement, the radical right-wing Republican moved desperately before the 2012 elections to defeat Democrats and undermine democracy.

First, Republican governors and state legislatures in state after state moved to disenfranchise student, senior, and voters of color. They required identification from voters who had been voting in the same place for decades. They changed the rules for student voters and identification requirements. They cut the number of days people could vote.

Second, radical right-wing Republican governors and state legislatures in 19 states did all they could to weaken or destroy unions: trying to enact right-to-work laws, outlaw collective bargaining for public sector unions, destroy prevailing wage laws for construction unions.

THE RESULT WAS THE GROWTH OF TWO SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. Voters demanded the right to vote and unions and workers’ allies fought vigorously to stop the weakening or destruction of unions.

As we all remember, unions and their allies occupied the Capitol holding rallies of up to 100,000 people. In Ohio voters put Gov. Kasich’s union destruction policies on the ballot and defeated the governor 68% to 32%.

African-American voters in state after state went to the polls in record or near record numbers.

Meanwhile, of course, the Republican Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people and that money is speech, resulting in massive amounts of cash pouring into Republican coffers. The Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Karl Rove and his Super PAC American Crossroads did everything money can do to undermine democracy.

THE RADICAL RIGHT IS DETERMINED TO WEAKEN OR DESTROY DEMOCRACY.

IT IS UP TO UNIONS AND PROGRESSIVE FORCES TO PROTECT THE FIRST DEMOCRACY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

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