Kelvin Kindahl: Andrulis guest column wrong, cartoon accurate
To the editor:
In a guest column in Thursday’s Gazette, John Andrulis tries to deny the truth of a political cartoon depicting a Republican elephant dreaming wistfully of a “whites only” voting booth. He points out that it was Southern Democrats who were largely responsible for the Jim Crow laws of the 1950s, and that historically, the Republican Party was opposed to restricting the right of blacks to vote.
He is correct about how things were, prior to the civil rights era of the 1960s, but chooses to ignore the realities of what has changed since then. The conservative Democrats of the Jim Crow era and their ideological descendants have found a comfortable home in today’s Republican Party, a shift personified by Strom Thurmond switching parties in response to the Voting Rights Act of 1964.
It is today’s Republicans who have put forth the most restrictions on voting access. The stated goal is always to avoid voter fraud, but such fraud has proven extremely rare in modern times. The unstated reality, however, is that the effect of these restrictions is always to suppress voting by poorer people, people who are more apt to be black and more apt to vote for Democrats. The cartoon is accurate.