Let’s say I buy William O’Brien’s reasons for trying to thwart college students from voting.
Let’s say I buy the remarks that O’Brien, a Republican who is state House Speaker in New Hampshire, made to some tea partiers about student voters recently – that they’re “foolish,” that they have “no life experience,” and that they “just vote their feelings.”
Even if I agreed with that, and even if GOPers like O’Brien fervently believe that foolish people ought to have to leap through more hoops than others to get to the ballot box, then I’d have to insist that such criteria shouldn’t just apply to college students.
I’d have to insist that it apply it to elderly voters who might confuse their absentee ballot with the nursing home dinner menu.
I’d have to insist that it apply to the 51 percent of primary voters in O’Brien’s own party who, according to the latest polls and in spite of overwhelming evidence, still believe that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
And to the 40 percent who still believe he is a Muslim.
Point being, college students don’t have a lock on foolishness. What they do have, though, as they proved in 2008, is the power to put a black man in the White House – and in the process, shatter the 19th century expectations of power and privilege that O’Brien and his ilk hold.
If GOPers persist on pursuing laws that are designed to discourage minorities and young people – the face of America’s future electorate – from voting, they might win an election or two.
But I doubt if they’ll win the White House. And they definitely won’t win the future.
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