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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Most of the time, an echo chamber is something you want to avoid.

Take the last holy-moly heehaw that ricocheted around the country last weekend. Privileged, white-male Mitt Romney picked privileged, white-male Paul Ryan to be his vice president. Immediately, gaggles of white-male pundits declared this a bold game-changer of a choice.

What a hoot.

Still, once in a while, you find yourself hoping a groundswell of opinion turns into an echo chamber for change. This is currently true for those of us who care about democracy and live in the battleground state of Ohio, where Republicans have taken a rare break from their relentless quest to lasso women back to the ’50s so they can limit the future voting rights of people who aren’t like them.

People who aren’t Republicans, I mean.

If you’re wondering why you should care about voting rights in the Buckeye State, let me echo an oft-cited fact of presidential politics: No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio.

Our electoral star power annoys those of you living just about everywhere else, I know. Take heart. A lot of us here in Ohio envy your television airwaves right now. I haven’t seen a commercial with that cute Old Spice guy since last September.

The New Republic‘s Timothy Noah lays out a broad range of obstacles concocted by Republicans to thwart Democratic voters.

He quotes Mike Turzai, Republican majority leader of the Pennsylvania House, who said this: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

And there is this: “Former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer (currently under indictment for stealing party funds) stated in a deposition … that a 2009 party meeting included discussion of ‘voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting.'”

And this: “In December, Paul Schurick, a top aide to former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, was convicted of election fraud for using automated phone calls to suppress the African American vote during Ehrlich’s unsuccessful 2010 bid. ‘The first and most desired outcome is voter suppression,’ stated one consultant’s memo entered into evidence. It described a ‘Schurick Doctrine’ to ‘promote confusion, emotionalism and frustration among African American Democrats.'”

Noah goes on to describe Republican efforts in Ohio to shorten the hours for early voting.

I’ll take it from here.