If you ever doubted that today’s incarnation of the Republican Party is a bunch of humorless, authoritarian tools, check out what they’re whining about in Pennsylvania.
Apparently, during the Pennsylvania primary last spring, a woman was walking into a polling place wearing an Obama t-shirt, and she was told by volunteers to take it off, because it was a violation of the rules against electioneering at a polling place.
Okay, fair enough; I think a lot of volunteers would make the same mistake, because the ban on "electioneering" is quite non-specific. They could have suggested she tape a sheet of paper over the Obama shirt while she was in the polling place, but their heart was in the right place.
The woman, however, rightly objected to the request that she strip to her underwear in order to vote, and asked the state to clarify the rules, and tell her if she actually broke any.
So, after some deliberation, the Secretary of State for Pennsylvania issued a memo last month, advising counties o disregard the voters’ attire, so long as the voter takes no additional action to attempt to influence others’ votes.
Well, as you can guess, the Republican Party is furious, and two right wing Pittsbirgh-area election officials filed a lawsuit to have the memo rescinded. Their lawsuit contains a dire warning; "Nothing would prevent a
partisan group from synchronizing a battalion of like-minded
individuals … to descend on a polling place, presenting a
domineering, united front, certain to dissuade the average citizen who may privately hold different beliefs."
Democrats, on the other hand, feel that voters should be able to express themselves, and not be discouraged from voting, because they choose to wear their candidate on a t-shirt.
This is all part of a Republican strategy that is as old as Nixon’s "Southern Strategy," folks. Republicans will do anything they can to depress voting as much as possible, because they have a statistical minority in the number of registrations. That’s why they "go negative" so often; they’re trying to piss people off enough to keep them away from the polls, to give them a fighting chance.
The idea that Obama will present a phalanx of people wearing t-shirts and intimidate McCain voters into voting for Obama in their secret ballot is ludicrous, because it ignores the fact that we live in a society where advertising is literally all around us, and we don’t automatically go out and buy everything that is advertised to us.
And frankly, putting together a phalanx of people wearing McCain t-shirts, and openly attempting to intimidate Obama voters sound more realistic, anyway, dontcha think?
Republicans are the authoritarian bullies, after all. They’re the ones pushing for a dress code at the polling place.