Say it ain’t so Chris! In last week’s opinion piece your response to the dismal and contentious state of political discourse was to check out and not vote. Don’t be a sucker — you’re playing right into their hands.

In an unusual moment of honesty, Paul Weyrich, a leading neoconservative strategist who helped found the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority and American Legislative Exchange Council admitted in a speech to the religious right in 1980: “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections — quite candidly — goes up, as the voting populace goes down.”

As much as they proudly proclaim their support for the Constitution and the rights it allows us, it has been a mainstay of conservative strategy for a long time to discourage or prevent people from voting. They did it with lynchings, intimidation, literacy tests and poll taxes in the south. They continue today with efforts to purge voter rolls, (largely focused on minorities and low income citizens). They do it by chipping away at the protections of the Voting Rights Act. They do it by reducing voting opportunities in Democratic and minority precincts making people stand for hours in lines before they can get in to vote. They do it by opposing motor voter registration, mail-in ballots and other mechanisms meant to make it easier for people to register and vote. And they do it by making the game of politics so mean and muddy and contentious that decent people like you are repulsed enough that they want to stop participating.

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