When the nativist movement in our country imagines 2050 (pun intended), its leaders are terrified. For them, 2050 is Y2K for race in the United States: the sunset year when the white population passes into a “majority-minority” vacuum, when the earth opens to swallow the irreparably darkened national character of our country. For those of who survive the balkanizing-Reconquista that will follow, speaking English in public will become a capital crime, as decried by the Marxist, big government militants controlling the (no-longer) White House.
Bigoted hyperbole decoded, the leadership of the nativist movement at-large is enacting concrete political strategies for staving off the aforementioned demographic destiny. One investment strategy that also exists within a broader context of far-Right establishment racial checks and balances is voter suppression and restriction measures that will lead to the choking off of Latino and Hispanic voting bloc power, which was recently flexed with tremendous impact in our last presidential election.
Recently on Imagine2050, we have alerted readers to the immediate threats being posed to voting rights for the coming mid-term election cycle including the newly formed SOS for SoS PAC (SoS) and the Kris Kobach led Secure States Initiative (SSI). Both are staunch proponents of voter suppression working closely across a network of state-level politicians and activists who are seeking to swamp district-after-district in so-called “Voter Integrity” laws (read: Voter ID bills). One group with connections to the aforementioned duo is True the Vote (TtV).
TtV recently underscored the politically extreme (and racially conscious) nature of its own mission, not to mention SoS’s and SSI’s, when it publically denounced HR 3899, the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. The bill, after all, was introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who’s hardly proved progressive on the immigration issue during his near thirty-six years in Congress. In a recent TtV press release, Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader and a close ally of Kobach and Logan Churchwell of SoS, is quoted as follows:
“Congressman Sensenbrenner has been openly working with far-left groups like the ACLU, which consistently militate against popular and necessary election integrity measures like voter ID. Sensenbrenner has now been caught on tape insisting that his legislation does not do what the plain text of his bill says it does – namely, excluding white voters from the Voting Rights Act’s protections.” (Emphasis ours)
Not only is that a lie, but Engelbrecht must be unfamiliar with the “far-left” ACLU’s past defenses of neo-Nazis’ 1st Amendment rights.
In truth, Sensenbrenner’s bill (and its Senate partner, S 1945) would replace sections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were so controversially struck down in a 5-to-4 SCOTUS vote last June. Described as “the heart of the Voting Rights Act” in the New York Times, Sections 4 and 5 were written to prevent states from altering respective voting laws in discriminatory ways, prohibiting them from changing voting laws without “preclearance” from Congress. Section 5 specifically bound nine mostly-southern states (including TtV’s home state, Texas) and many other counties nationwide to that process.
HR 3899 is not without its critics among progressives, however, as the bill provides exemptions for suppressive measures like so-called “Voter ID” bills.
States are now “free” to enact whatever voting practices its presiding party deems “good,” which opens much space for voter suppression measures to sweep through legislatures prior to the coming mid-term election—measures like Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law, which was just struck down by Judge Bernard L. McGinley of Commonwealth Court in early January of this year. Fighting the progression of such bills as HR 3899/S 1945 is immediately necessary for this movement, as the SCOTUS’s decision creates a political window for its leaders to enact motivations for staving off the demographic destiny of 2050.
One has been mentioned—the diluting and diminishing of Latino and Hispanic voter-bloc power, especially with regards to further obstructing comprehensive immigration reform. So threatened by minority voter turn-out in 2012, nativist organizations like the Center for Immigration Studies launched top-line messages and “studies” attacking that bloc in the immediate wake of President Obama’s reelection. Voter turn-out for mid-term elections is historically low, particularly among minority demographics, and suppression and restriction measures aimed at such communities (like those recently reintroduced by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted) are designed to ensure an even lower turn-out. If Latino and Hispanic voters don’t vote in percentages proportional to 2012, the nativist movement will certainly up-hold such figures as evidence as to why Conservative politicians can and should ignore comprehensive immigration reform.
Another motivation is the continued targeting of the 14th Amendment, which along with the 15th Amendment ensures the rights (not the “privilege”) of all citizens to vote. The eroding of voting rights has the potential to re-open space for the nativist movement to openly attack the birth-right citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. First, though, that movement would need to see comprehensive immigration reform and its pathway to citizenship defeated in Congress.
For the present nativist movement in the US, 2050 seems a fatal certainty, but for now its national efforts to “self-deport” immigrants must be recognized alongside its efforts disenfranchise citizens of all-colors who vote outside the far-Right. After all, as a nation of immigrants, nativist leaders have long attacked all those who self-identify as American but cannot be swayed to their cause: if they cannot take your citizenship, they’ll seek to take your vote.