Antiquated Voting Rights Rules Gone
Thankfully the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has overturned the enforcement of certain aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It about time liberal federal bureaucrats were removed from needless meddling in the electoral affairs of 9 states, and parts of 6 other states. Thirty percent of the states do not need Washington managing its elections.
The decades old formula requiring federal approval for any election changes, even having final say on the exact location of polling places, has long outlived any possible usefulness. Insulated from reality, federal election officials have continued to act as if time has stood still. Is today’s United States the same as the United States of 1964? Hardly.
And since it has been to the advantage of liberal strategists to be able to manage how elections are run in states where they generally fare badly, the suspicion has long remained that these rules were used less as a tool to guarantee freedom, than as a club to undermine their opponents.
Lets face it, gerrymandering and voting are a messy process in every state, city and county in America. But most states run their own affairs under our federal system just fine. If one party in a legislature goes to far, an arduous legal process is threatened by their opponents. If a compromise is not worked out, another lawsuit is born. Along the way there is much room for political compromise and dialogue.
For better or worse, that is the American political system. To have a permanent federal presence, based on 40 (or more) -year old data, creates a permanent exception to our generally accepted federal system. It is absurd. The argument for state’s rights may have been used to protect some scoundrels, but the principle itself remains a vital one for the the health of American political life.
Case of Gov. Wallace
And consider a strange case in point. Alabama Gov. George Wallace and his political movement (he ran for president in 1968, doing better than any other third party in American history) were clearly targets of this federal legislation. Yet, by the time he finished his last term as governor of Alabama, Gov. Wallace was receiving a huge majority of the black vote. His approval rating among blacks was 74 percent.
Parallels with Norther Ireland
In a way, the situation has parallels in the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Once the British backed away from the sectarian conflict, and local political leaders worked one-on-one with each other, things changed. People can come together. Social structures can and do adjust to the give and take of social and political change. Even if people do not always come together as friends, they can live together as passable neighbors, once they are provided the framework in the political process to deal with one another. The American Constitution’s political process is designed to do just that.
Race Relations Have Improved
Surely race relations in the tumultuous period 50 years ago could have been managed better. Clearly it is still not yet perfect, but it is time to let people sort out their own differences and work out their own destiny when it comes to voting. No need to continue to empower an antiquated federal bureaucracy. Micromanagement is no longer needed. The Supreme Court is right. It is time to move on.