Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Hampshire Points To A Clear Trend But Rightists Have Their Heads Buried In The Sand


New Hampshire is different from Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and Texas. Like them, New Hampshire suddenly finds itself in the grasp of an ideologically extremist-- and determined-- group of right-wing fanatics. Unlike those states, New Hampshire doesn't have a governor of the same ilk. John Lynch is a one-man lesson in checks and balance.

With a runaway state legislature attempting to do everything to harm the interests if working families-- and democracy-- being done in the other states, Lynch has had his hands full. Just last week he vetoed an anti-union "right to work" law that would take away workers' basic rights to collective bargaining-- an action that is a fundamental first step towards the rise of fascism in any society. Now radical Republicans are trying to override the veto. Tuesday evening got a very, very clear message from voters, they don't want that and they don't want the crackpot GOP agenda being enacted.

If you live in New Hampshire, you know who Democrat Jennifer Daler is now. When New Hampshire's lunatic fringe Speaker, Bill O’Brien, persuaded Rep. Robert Mead to resign and become his chief of staff, no one worried about the GOP's ability to retain the seat. After all, House District 4 is one of the reddest in the state-- the 14th most Republican seat in the legislature. But they did lose-- and they lost big, Daler sweeping all 5 towns in the district (Mont Vernon, New Boston, Lyndeborough, Temple and Wilton) against O'Brien's handpicked candidate Peter Kucmas, who struggled to stay above 40%.

Delusional and refusing to see the writing on the wall, the state Republican Chairman, Jack Kimball, who many think lost his mind long ago, said "Unfortunately special elections have a lower voter turnout and I am disappointed with the outcome. Jennifer Daler is a tax-and-spend liberal ... Republicans hold super-majorities in the House and Senate and will continue their outstanding work, promoting economic growth and job creation while continuing the fight against irresponsible spending in Concord." Republicans are unwilling to see the results as a verdict from voters on their destructive and reckless extremism even though the turnout Tuesday was the highest for any special election in New Hampshire's history. Voters don't want to see New Hampshire's public education system dismantled and they won't stand for the Republican's power grab. The vote Tuesday augers well for a swing back towards the center next year in the legislature and it augers well for victories for Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster in the two House races.
Last night’s win was the third Democratic special election victory in as many weeks. Margins of victory ranged from a solid 54 percent in the Democratic pickup of Wisconsin’s 94th Assembly District on May 3 to the crushing 2-to-1 win on May 10 in a Maine seat last won by a 75-vote margin.

Two victories in two weeks may have been a coincidence, but three special election wins in states with GOP-controlled statehouses clearly demonstrates a trend of voters rebuking the extreme right-wing agendas pushed by Republicans.

One of these right-wing agenda items is the assault on voting rights, which came into play as the GOP attempted to sway yesterday’s election by very un-democratic means.

The New Hampshire House is currently considering legislation that would require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Although no law in the Granite State currently requires voters to produce such documentation, voters in yesterday’s election found themselves confronted by these signs at polling places: 

Per pending legislation you will be required to produce a photo ID in order to receive a ballot.

...O’Brien was defending the very legislation at issue as voters were attempting to cast ballots.

But the ramifications of this attempt to diminish voters’ access to the democratic process extend beyond yesterday’s events in New Hampshire.

The use of a restriction that had not even been passed-- much less signed into law-- to attempt to prevent Granite Staters from voting in yesterday’s special election raises even more concerns about the impact Wisconsin’s voter suppression legislation will have on this summer’s recall elections.



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