The night before the l994 Republican sweep of both Houses of Congress, Mary Matalin in a CNN interview said that her party was well organized and would win big. She was right on both counts. The host responded by suggesting that a low turnout would benefit Republicans, a logical assumption with which Ms Matalin strongly disagreed, evidence of the then current sanctity of a high voter turnout.
My how things have changed! Now newly elected Tea Party sponsored governors and state legislators are openly attempting to discourage disenfranchised and minority voters, people who tend to vote Democratic, with unprecedented and unfair voter ID requirements. The pretext for this is alleged voter fraud which, from what’s been proved, is in the low single digits in even in the most populous voting districts.
An increased voter turnout, while not a certainty, is a likely consequence of Occupy Wall Street. Some previous voters in this group may choose to abstain given the results produced by the current crop of office holders. But the people now in the streets are young, bright and, above all concerned. I don’t see many of them sitting out Election Day. The fact that the criticism is coming from the political right, i.e. Fox News, strongly suggests the direction of the movement. Given a choice between Obama, Romney and a third party candidate I see the president coming off with a majority, the size being the only question.
Right wing criticism of OWS has made so many different disparaging connections that it’s hard to keep track of them. The only one with a superficial resemblance is with the hippie’s of the “60s and early ‘70s whose main cause was opposition to the Vietnam War. Of course there were others. Remember the Symbionese Liberation Army, whatever it stood for? But it was opposition to the war that gave the movement respectability. If you question this just think “domino theory”
Those protests slowed and stopped in tandem with the Vietnam War. Today’s OWS people are victims of a system tailored to the benefit of corporate bandits that has left them with bleak prospects, possibly for a lifetime. The system and the thieves won’t be going away on their own any time soon. Neither will the victims.