Posted on October 19, 2016
Gerrymandering alone might be sufficient to keep Republicans in Control of the House. However they have backup plan: legalized vote suppression, largely aimed at minorities and especially at blacks. These operate in many different ways, e.g. requiring forms of ID at the polls that blacks are less likely to have; challenging proofs of citizenship; causing long lines in black precincts; selectively pruning voter registration rosters.
The crypto-racist majority on the Supreme Court laid out the strategy. First, in a series of decisions they held that racism counts as racism only if there is a smoking gun, which in practice means openly racist rhetoric. Many Republicans local officials have actually admitted that the purpose of voter suppression tactics was to suppress Democratic voters. However some Republican district judges then held that cheating Democrats is OK because it is political business as usual and not racist. Some but not all appellate courts have been less impressed.
Second, in 2013 SCOTUS threw out the most powerful part of the voting rights act, which required pre-approval by the US DOJ for any voting law changes in former slave states. SCOTUS claimed that, there no longer being any open official admissions as to racial motive, racism was officially dead under the smoking gun rule, and hence the pre-approval requirement was no longer valid. The very next day North Carolina legislature started action on a horrendous vote suppression act they’d had ready to go.