Put differently, these are all manifestations of white supremacy. The constant drumbeats of fear about an “invasion” of migrants and “voter fraud” is meant to instill panic among White Americans that they are losing their dominance in society.
Since the election, Republicans have evinced sheer panic at the prospect that non-White voters will continue to turn out in large numbers. The anti-voting crusade has produced, by the Brennan Center for Justice’s count, 253 bills to restrict voting. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says there will be “scorched earth” if Democrats touch the filibuster. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), sounding more hysterical than usual, claims Democrats want “child molesters” and “illegal aliens” to vote.
Surely Cruz doesn’t think all non-Whites fall into one of those categories, does he? Well, there is no secret who is really being kept from the polls. “In the 13 most contested presidential battleground states, AAPI [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] early and absentee voting rose nearly 300 percent from 2016 — the fastest growth rate among all racial groups,” NBC News reported. “In states like Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, the surge in AAPI early voting surpassed President-elect Joe Biden’s razor-thin margins of victory.”
Now Republicans in Georgia are moving to limit early and absentee voting at a time when Asian Americans feel under siege — most recently after the mass shootings in the Atlanta area.
Republicans do not even attempt to conceal their ambition, which is to diminish non-Whites’ participation in our elections. The New York Times explains that legislation to limit drop boxes, curb automatic registration and end “Souls to the Polls” efforts to turn out churchgoers to vote early on Sundays “would have an outsize impact on Black voters, who make up roughly one-third of the state’s population and vote overwhelmingly Democratic.” While the state legislature may protect Sunday voting, a proposed amendment would give counties the option to offer early voting on a Saturday or Sunday.
No matter how hard Asian Americans and African Americans advocate for anti-hate legislation or gun safety, Republicans appear determined to ignore them, to play to the extremists in their base and to rely on everything from gerrymandering to curtailing voting access for minorities to keep them in power. Using anti-democratic means to keep Whites in power is the very essence of white supremacy.
“This is textbook sexism, racism, objectification and misogynistic violence. Asian and Asian American women are objects of temptation,” she wrote. “In the alleged shooter’s Christian worldview, we are the cause of his sin. His vision fit into an ardently evangelical tradition such as the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination whose roots are White supremacist, where we are targets for missionary activity, or a jumbled set of stereotypes to be mined for mediocre racist curriculum.”
Compare that to the worldview expressed in a recent Pew survey, which found that “About a quarter of Republicans (26%) say that White people face a lot of discrimination; just 4% of Democrats say this. White Republicans are 24 percentage points more likely than White Democrats to say that White people face a lot of discrimination.”
Republicans can no longer bank on keeping power merely through pandering to the White base. Their solution: Take away non-Whites’ access to the ballot. The question is not whether we keep the filibuster, but whether we want to permanently enshrine white supremacy and thereby unravel our democracy.