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Prop 32: The politics of Republican deception

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I’ve got to admit, when it comes to political strategizing, Democrats don’t hold a candle to Republicans. In fact, if it weren’t for their worldview, policies and Rick Perry, I’d be certain that Republicans are smarter than us.

Liberal Media

Their diabolically clever “liberal mainstream media” accusation, alone, has paid -- and continues to pay -- huge political dividends. News people are so terrified of appearing biased that they give every conservative point of view, no matter how baseless or wacky, equal coverage and weight (think global warming denial and birthers, for example). “Earth is flat! -- opinions differ” has become the order of the day in newsrooms across America. Of course, this leaves many Americans confused and ill-informed. But hey, they vote.

Voter Suppression as Strategy

Voter suppression disguised as voter fraud prevention is another Republican strategy gem. Who could possibly argue against such a noble mission as keeping our elections clean?

Who? Anybody who takes the time to learn that fraudulent voting hasn’t been a problem in America since the 19th century and that this Republican drive is simply an attempt to get rid of what has historically proven to be a major obstacle to Republican victories -- Democratic voters.

Proposition 32

And now Republicans are treating Californians to another bit of legerdemain with Proposition 32 -- the “Paycheck Protection” initiative.

“Get special interest money out of political campaigning!” intones the ultra-serious voice-over in the latest Prop 32 TV spot. Again, who could possibly argue with Prop 32’s noble mission?

Who? Anyone who takes the time to learn that, in truth, Prop 32 will only ban union money from California politics and leave corporations and rich folk to fund Republican candidates and conservative issues to their hearts’ content.

Prop 32 sounds like a much-needed, even-handed removal of special interest money from California politics, with its stated aim to “ban both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates” and to “ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics.” And it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that paycheck deductions are how many unions collect their dues -- the dues that constitute unions’ income, the dues that pay for union operations, pay for unions’ rent and electric bills and, yes, political donations.

The operative phrases here, “…automatic deductions” and “…to be used for politics” make it clear that Prop 32’s real mission is to drive a stake through the heart of union involvement (read: Democratic support) in California politics while allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to unlimitedly fund Republican candidates and conservative issues through PACs, committees and other work-arounds.

Chump Factor

If that ain’t enough reason to vote “No” on Prop 32, consider the chump factor. To those of us who know corporations do not deduct from their employees’ paychecks for political purposes, Prop 32 is not only an insult to voters’ intelligence, but has about the same degree of even-handedness as prohibiting the use of heavy drilling equipment by the oil industry and the cosmetics industry. Sounds kinda fair, but isn’t.

Instincts

In the words of Vice President Biden, “Trust you instincts on this, folks.” If your instincts need a little help, just check out the donors and supporters of Prop 32 -- a veritable who’s who of the Republican rich, including the Koch Brothers’ and one particularly well-heeled Republican activist, named Charles Munger Jr., who put Prop 32 on the ballot and has contributed $22 million to its passage thus far.

Finally, ask yourself this question: Would the party that has steadfastly supported the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling -- the ruling that legalizes unlimited political funding by special interests -- suddenly oppose special interest contributions now? Not likely.

As Rep. Linda Sanchez put it, "This paycheck deception is the No. 1 target to silence the voices of hard-working families, and it's a crime."

Republicans are running so many deceptions these days, it’s hard to determine if Prop 32 is actually their number-one deception, as Sanchez says. But it is a crime -- or should be.

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