dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

GOP strategy: oppress, depress, suppress

October 1st, 2020 by dk

I have written about this before, but as it comes more starkly into view, it bears repeating. Republicans and President Trump have a cogent strategy for November. Contrary to what you’ve been told, most registered voters are currently “undecided.”

It’s true that almost all voters have decided which candidate most deserves their vote. But that’s not the only decision they are making between now and Nov. 3. They may well know how they will vote but not whether they will vote.

No presidential candidate in the past century has been endorsed by as many eligible voters as the couch of apathy. Eligible non-voters have outnumbered every winning tally since 1904. That’s quite a winning streak. Or call it a losing streak for America. You wouldn’t be wrong.

Republican strategy aims to capitalize on and continue this trend. They believe they can win. All they need to do is oppress, depress and suppress voters and votes.

Oppress. To take just one of dozens of examples, Florida voted in 2018 to restore voting rights for felons after they have served their sentences. The Republican state legislature rewrote the rule to include any outstanding civil penalties, even though the state hasn’t tracked those debts effectively. Republicans revived debtor prisons. Activists responded with gofundme campaigns.

Reformers organized fundraising drives to help these former felons pay their outstanding debts. Again, Republicans swung into action, accusing the do-gooders of buying votes, even though there was no requirement whether or how these re-enfranchised citizens should vote.

Depress. Now that early voting is underway for a large portion of the country, strategists must convince citizens that voting won’t be worth the trouble. Who didn’t have a headache after watching this week’s so-called presidential debate? Few would call it a debate, and no one would call it presidential.

For every eligible voter who has now given up on politics, Republicans can congratulate themselves for a job well done. If enough people come away from the process believing “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” between the parties and the candidates, that’s change that won’t be spent and change that won’t happen.

Trump’s ongoing attack on vote-by-mail fits this strategy with surprising elegance. First, it rewards procrastination. Even with a rampaging pandemic, it might be “safer” to vote in person on Election Day, just to be sure. Long lines and busy days can then do the rest. Leaving nothing to chance, Trump told his militia-style supporters to “stand back and stand by.”

Suppress. This week’s debate was violently disruptive. Election Day may follow suit, because important protections have been removed. Republicans got caught employing various dirty tricks under the guise of “ballot security” in 1982. Courts have exerted oversight on Republicans’ Election Day operations through a consent decree ever since.

That consent decree was lifted in 2018. Voter intimidation plans can now proceed unabated. Armed vigilantes at polling places may not be prevented for the first time in 40 years. Did Trump have this in mind when he told Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”?


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.