I was telling Swamp Rabbit that the key to re-election of unpopular Republican incumbents such as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is to keep down the turnout among registered Democrats. That’s why the Republican Party, with help from the U.S. Supreme Court, is trying to impose restrictive voter ID laws in as many states as possible.
The rabbit, floating on his back in the swamp, said, “I don’t get it, Odd Man. Why bother passing laws? Most Dems don’t vote anyway.”
He reminded me that a GOP-backed law requiring PA voters to show a state-approved photo ID at the polls was struck down by a judge earlier this year. Which means the GOP is still pinning its hopes for victory in PA on voter apathy rather than voter suppression, especially in midterm elections.
“Here’s a fun fact,” the rabbit said after crawling onto the porch of my shack in Tinicum. “Voter turnout in heavily Democratic Philadelphia was about 700,000 when Barack Obama ran in 2008, but it was only 450,000 in 2010, when Corbett snuck in. No way Corbett wins if deadbeat Dems in Philly and other counties get off their asses.”
“You’re blaming the victims,” I said, watching the rabbit wipe pond scum off his fur. “Corbett won in 2010 because of the hick vote. I’m thinking of what James Carville said back in the day — Pennsylvania is Philly and Pittsburgh, and Alabama in between.”
“That’s a cute quote,” the rabbit said, grabbing the bottle of Wild Turkey he’d left on the windowsill. “But it don’t mean nothin’ if Dems vote for the Dem instead of just whining that Corbett is bad news for poor and fair-to-middlin’ people.”
The rabbit guzzled bourbon and rattled off facts. Corbett remained a rabid foe of tax increases even as the state sank deeper into debt. He took care of his friends in the fracking industry by taxing them next to nothing while he was cutting close to a billion dollars from the education budget. He endorsed vaginal probes in supporting crusaders against abortion. He blamed drug users for the state’s unemployment rate. He wasn’t even very popular with Republican voters.
All true, I said, but why assume Democrat Tom Wolf could undo any of the damage, especially given the fact that so many state legislators are as reactionary as Corbett? And what about all those voters who are registered as independents?
“No way of knowing how they gonna vote,” the rabbit conceded. “But you don’t change nothin’ by bitchin’ about Corbett on Facebook. You cannot win if you do not play.”
He had me on the defensive. “You talk a good game, rodent, but you aren’t going to vote, are you?”
He spat in the swamp and said, “I would if I was a human. What’s your excuse?”