Opposites Repel; MA versus PA

“‘Welfare voters’ are latest battleground in Brown-Warren Senate race.” According to a Christian Science Monitor article with that title, liberals have used the law to pressure the Massachusetts state government to send out voter registration forms to anyone on state welfare rolls. This could potentially bring many thousands of the 400,000-500,000 poor people on these rolls into the voting booth.

Republican Senator Scott Brown, who is in a strongly contested (and very expensive) battle with well known champion for the average Joe, Elizabeth Warren, is crying foul. He’s trying to convince everyone that this is a misuse of public money, just a crass political move to help Warren win the election.

Well, yeah, Scott. It’s politics after all.

I think he’s having a little difficulty making his case, though – that this effort to encourage poor voters to vote is in any way objectionable. Quoting here from the Monitor article: “It is fundamental to our democracy that all eligible citizens be accorded the maximum opportunity to register and vote.”

There’s a very different voting story going down in Pennsylvania, where Republicans are trying everything they can to disenfranchise the poor. Could liberals in the Keystone State fight back with a Massachusetts-like strategy? Alas, I kind of doubt it.

Why? Number one, except for the Philadelphia area, I’m not sure how many liberals actually live in PA. The second reason is, as the Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson’s recent ruling on the new voter ID law indicates, the courts don’t seem to really care all that much about poor folks being able to get to the polls. The third reason is that Ryan budgetary strategy true believer Governor Corbett has made such drastic cuts to the welfare rolls that I’m not sure there’s enough people left on them to really make all that much difference in the voting.

In this country’s ongoing political feud, the very different approaches of MA and PA to the sacred democratic right to vote tell you a lot about the real values of the competing parties.

Author: KAY WOOD