Jewish World Review August 15, 2013/ 10 Elul, 5773
Hillary's race card
By Rich Lowry
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Anyone who doubts that Hillary Clinton is already in fine fighting trim for a presidential run should consider her speech this week to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.
She assailed an alleged “assault on voting rights.” She took aim at the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act and excoriated states that have recently tightened their voting laws. She declared that “anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention.”
Madam Secretary hasn’t missed a beat. She knows that the calling card of Democrats in the Barack Obama era is a polarizing politics that seeks to fire up minority voters by stirring fears of fire hoses and police dogs. Its basic vocabulary is imputations of racism; its evidentiary standard is low and dishonest; and its ethic is whatever works — so long as its stirs fear, anger, and resentment.
Get ready for Hope and Change 2.0.
The latest target is the state of North Carolina, which is accused of soiling itself with a new voter ID law, among other changes in its election laws. “The Decline of North Carolina” harrumphs The New York Times. “North Carolina’s Attack on Voting Rights” says The Daily Beast. The state is supposedly part of a tide of disenfranchisement victimizing minority voters in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling.
This is ludicrous. North Carolina is simply joining the American mainstream. It is one of at least 30 states to adopt a voter ID law. Such laws enjoy broad public support as a check against fraud and hardly shock the conscience in a country where you need to produce an ID to enter many office buildings and to buy Sudafed. A Washington Post poll last year showed 65 percent of blacks and 64 percent of Latinos supporting voter ID.
It is such a common-sense idea that such foreign redoubts of backwardness and racism as Switzerland, Sweden, and Canada require an ID to vote.
The constitutionality of voter ID isn’t in doubt. The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law in 2008 in a 6-3 decision written by now-retired liberal justice John Paul Stevens. The court ruled that the Indiana statue was “amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.'”
The evidence suggests that voter ID laws don’t suppress the votes of anyone. Hans A. von Spakovsky, a voting expert at The Heritage Foundation, points out that major, dispassionate studies show no effect on turnout.
Research by the University of Missouri showed a slight increase in turnout in Indiana local elections in 2006 after passage of voter ID. It found that “the only consistent and frequently statistically significant impact of photo ID in Indiana is to increase voter turnout in counties with a greater percentage of Democrats relative to other counties.”
The Universities of Delaware and Nebraska-Lincoln looked at elections around the country from 2000 to 2006 and determined that “concerns about voter identification laws affecting turnout are much ado about nothing.”
Voter ID, in other words, is a victimless crime. Groups opposed to Georgia’s voter ID law, passed in 2005, sued and struck out at federal district court. As von Spakovsky writes, “the court pointed out that after two years of litigation, none of the plaintiff organizations like the NAACP had been able to produce a single individual or member who did not have a photo ID or could not easily obtain one.”
Critics of the ID laws like to say that fraud is “nonexistent.” This is wrong. There are always cases bubbling up — it was recently revealed that fake signatures got Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the primary ballot in Indiana in 2008 and Milwaukee County charged 10 people earlier this year with voter fraud in 2012. As the Supreme Court noted in the Indiana case, “flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.”
It’s not that fraud is massive or decisive. It nonetheless should be prevented to the extent possible. In a heated debate on Fox News with Charles Krauthammer the other day, Juan Williams said fraud happens about as frequently as people falling off bridges. But most bridges have railings. Voter ID is just such a prophylactic measure.
Hillary and the left will have none of it, though. North Carolina, in particular, is said to have gone so far it has exposed the nasty underlying agenda of voter ID. It is cutting back on early voting, from 17 days to 10 days. There is it is — that must be disenfranchisement! But the state wants to make up for the reduced days with more sites where voters can vote early and greater hours of operation. The goal is to have the same total hours available. (Despite the animadversions of the New York Times, New York doesn’t allow no-excuse early voting — surely because it is so hostile to minorities.)
North Carolina is ending same-day registration. Bingo! North Carolina hates black voters. But the majority of states — again, including New York — don’t allow same-day registration.
You can certainly argue that the North Carolina law is unnecessary or imprudent in some respects, or in even in its entirety. You can’t argue it’s a de facto return to Jim Crow and the era of the poll tax. Democrats mock Republicans as perennially stuck in the 1980s. But they are stuck in the 1950s and the 1960s, and in their demagoguery, disgrace the memory of genuine martyrs at a time when state and local officials in the South really did prevent blacks from voting through the most hideous means.
Perspective and reason are the natural enemies of a politics of hysteria. So Hillary won’t let herself be deterred by them. She is evidently fired up and ready to go.
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© 2012 King Features Syndicate