I think that there’s a lot that’s wrong with the Obama administration but for me the courts are the key. The next president could appoint up to three new justices — its almost a certainty that Ginsberg will be gone and there’s an outside chance that Scalia could hit the road — and this could shape the court for decades to come.
Don’t get me wrong. Ian Welsh and Matt Stoller make valid points about the flaws of the Obama presidency but I see nothing that would improve with a Romney at the helm and I’m pretty sure things could get decisively worse. I’m also almost certain that neither one of those guys have ever been in a courtroom with a biased and partisan Republican judge. Trust me you’re going to lose, especially if you’re suing on behalf of a poor person or the public health or just common sense and decency.
As exhibit one let’s take the completely evil attempts to invalidate the vote of African Americans here in my home state of Pennsylvania. If not for one moderate Republican at the state appeals court Voter Id would have become the law here in my state of Pennsylvania. The ACLU should have won on the first attempt but the, surprise, Republican judge decided — despite the Corbett administration admitting that they had no evidence of voter fraud to enter into the record and a prominent republican promising to deliver our state to Romney due to the Voter ID law — that it was all above aboard and that the state wasn’t lying. Luckily, this guy was strong armed by the appeals court and Voter ID died.
Here’s the thing though. This wasn’t some one off effort. The Republicans tried this in just about every important battle ground state. Even now there are long lines in Florida and Ohio that aren’t accidental. Just the other day there was yet a new way in Ohio for Republicans to disenfranchise mainly black, latino and college voters. We were lucky in that all those attempts were defeated. But they’ll probably be reinstalled in time for 2014 and the forseeable if the current composition of the high court doesn’t change.
The only thing stopping the enshrinement of the New Jim Crows is a democratic president. I think that’s a very compelling reason to vote for Barack Obama. I mean, no matter how far right or corporatist you think his appointments are I don’t believe any of them have endorsed policies that strip certain segments of the population of their right to vote. This is an easy call for me. So a tactical vote now and let’s work on building viable third party movements in the future. And no Ian: voting and getting one percent of the vote doesn’t make Third Parties viable. Winning elections by way of the canvass and small donors could make the change.