On November 6th the people of Minnesota will be given the oppertunity to vote on two constitutional amendments. One of the amendments would make reversing Minnesota’s prohibition against same sex marriages more difficult by making that prohibition constitutional. The other amendment will require Minnesotans to present state issued photo identification in order to vote. If you live in this state you’ve probably heard all of the arguments for and against these amendments by now and if you don’t live in this state I’ll save you a bunch of pointless reading. Yes I said pointless reading. These amendments aren’t being put on the ballot to solve any problems, they’re being put onto the ballot to get people to the polls.
Consider the majority of candidates being put forth by the Democrats and Republicans. Both parties have managed to put forward candidates that their bases simply can’t get fired up about. Even their presidential candidates are failing to excite the voting base as Mitt Romney isn’t well liked by many Republicans and Barack Obama isn’t well liked by many Democrats. A huge number of Republicans and Democrats have noted that the only reason they’re voting for their party’s candidate is because he’s not as bad as the other guy.
In such a situation both parties need to perform some card tricks to encourage their voters to go to the polls. The constitutional amendments are those card tricks. The Marriage Amendment is getting the evangelicals who traditionally vote Republican and the progressives who traditionally vote Democrat fired up. Evangelicals believe that religion and the state should be tied and therefore laws prohibiting same sex marriages should be placed on the books. Progressives believe that the state should be secular and therefore oppose any law that attempts to enforce religious morality. The damnedest thing about this amendment is that it serves no actual purpose since same sex marriages are already illegal in the state of Minnesota.
The Voter ID Amendment is no different. Republicans in this state are still butt hurt over the fact that they lost two close elections. First Al Franken managed to pull a slight victory over Norm Coleman and then Mark Dayton managed to pull a slight victory over Tom Emmer. Instead of admitting the possibility that Coleman and Emmer sucked as candidates the Republican Party attempted to blame their failures on voter fraud. Meanwhile the Democratic Party in Minnesota has claimed that the Voter ID Amendment is meant to discourage minorities, the elderly, and college students from voting. If there’s one thing the Democratic base loves it’s democracy and they will fervently attack any perceived attempt at discouraging individuals from voting. Much like the Marriage Amendment the Voter ID Amendment is pointless because there has been no proof brought forward demonstrating any notable voter fraud has taken place.
Let’s face it, the Republican and Democratic politicians don’t give a shit if same sex couples can marry or if voter fraud is occurring. If same sex marriages are made more illegal through a constitutional amendment the Republicans can jump for joy and claim a victory while the Democrats can scream about civil rights being violated by the Republicans. Likewise if voters are required to present state issued identification before voting the Republicans can jump for joy and claim victory while the Democrats can scream about much of their base being discouraged from voting by the big mean Republicans. No matter how the amendment votes go both parties win. In the end they’re merely using voters as pawns in a vicious game of chess. Neither party cares about you, they only care about maintaining their power. Maintaining that power requires the support of public opinion and that can only happen if the people are too distracted by these minor issues to analyze the bigger issue of the state itself.