Are Republicans planning to re-run the 2004 election in 2016? If so, can they be stopped?

There’s no question that Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and Roger Ailes have effectively endorsed ISIS in the next election, hoping that on November 8, 2016, Americans will be so scared out of their wits by the bogeyman of another terrorist attack that they’ll vote for a right-wing hack. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, the right’s forces of darkness will pummel the electorate with a subtle and sleazy message: you can’t expect a girl to fight “Islamofascism,” can you?

Of course, this will just be a reprise of the notorious 2004 presidential campaign, in which Democratic nominee John Kerry was depicted as too weak, too soft, too effeminate to lead the so-called War on Terror. Kerry managed to survive this character assassination, and would have unquestionably won the election had it not been for the GOP’s voter suppression in Ohio. 2004 proved that the American people can indeed resist fear–and when they do, the forces of fear must resort to stealing an election outright.

It’s good to see that Clinton is speaking boldly about the GOP’s voter suppression efforts. Republicans know that their agenda is profoundly unpopular with the American public, and that even extra helpings of ISIS-inspired fear might not be enough to swing the election in their direction. As the late Paul Weyrich suggested years ago, voter suppression is the GOP’s only real hope.

YouTube video

Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee should continue to raise the issue of GOP voter suppression, reminding the electorate that one side of the aisle favors democracy, while the other side does not. Could Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Chafee pressure at least a few of the Republican presidential candidates into formally disavowing voter-suppression efforts (as unlikely as it may seem now)? For the sake of the country, let’s hope so. The right-wing war on voting will leave all of us wounded. Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Chafee should do whatever it takes to force a cease-fire.

UPDATE: From 2008, Rachel Maddow on that year’s voter-suppression efforts. Plus, Brad Friedman on Clinton’s June 4, 2015 voting rights speech.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.