It is just three weeks before the election on Tuesday, November 3. It is by now pretty obvious that Trump and the Republican Party see their future electoral chances depend not on expanding their base of support beyond that of white and older and more well-to-do people from rural areas but instead on suppressing the vote from every other group. So we see all manner of hurdles thrown up to discourage voter registration and voting that seek to make it disproportionately harder to vote for people who live in areas whom they do not see as likely supporters.
But there is a danger in pushing this strategy as much as they have. History is replete with instances where when people are pushed just a little too far, you cross a tipping point when they stop being discouraged and instead become more determined. The idea that people will get discouraged by these obstacles and not vote is a risky strategy. When it becomes as obvious as it has become, you risk enraging people and creating a backlash where people become defiant and decide that they will go through hell and high water in order to hit back at those who would seek to deny them their rights. We saw this with the determination of people in the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.
Take for example what is happening right now in Georgia, a state where the Republican governor has led voter-suppression efforts. It turns out that people are waiting in line for up to ten hours in order to vote early on the first day in which early voting was allowed, a full three weeks before the actual election day.
Voters in Georgia faced hours-long lines on Monday as people flocked to the polls for the first day of early voting in the state, which has developed a national reputation in recent years for voting issues.
Eager voters endured waits of six hours or more in Cobb County, which was once solidly Republican but has voted for Democrats in recent elections, and joined lines that wrapped around buildings in solidly Democratic DeKalb County. They also turned out in big numbers in north Georgia’s Floyd County, where support for Donald Trump is strong.
Adrienne Crowley, who waited more than an hour to vote, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution there wasn’t anything that would make her get out of the line to vote. “I would have voted all day if I had to.”
Voters began lining up outside polling stations in the predawn hours, some using their cellphone flashlights to help other voters fill out pre-registration forms, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Steve Davidson, who is Black, said the late US congressman John Lewis and others had fought too long and hard to secure his place at the polls for him to get tired and leave.
“They’ve been fighting for decades. If I’ve got to wait six or seven hours, that’s my duty to do that. I’ll do it happily,” Davidson said.
People can only be pushed so far before they revolt and strike back. And they are striking back by voting.