What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 16, 2012

What Race-Baiting?

The editorial board of the Tribune-Review, yet again, is hoping that its loyal readers simply trust what they say and won't bother checking the details from yet another editorial.

From Scaife's braintrust this weekend:
"Race-baiting” is “the act of using racially derisive language, actions or other forms of communication in order to anger or intimidate or coerce a person or group of people.”
And then:
Speaking last week to delegates at the NAACP convention in Houston, Mr. Holder likened voter ID laws to “a poll tax” that takes America back to its Jim Crow days.

Never mind that free identification will be provided to any voter who doesn’t have and/or can’t afford it — and never mind that those still without IDs can cast provisional ballots — Holder says the Obama administration “will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious rights.”

Yet it is Holder who uses the political pretext of race-baiting to undermine the very franchise he’s sworn to protect.
Um...so where's the race bating?  Perhaps it's somewhere else in his speech.

Did you know that the phrase "poll tax" doesn't actually occur in Holder's speech?  Even though the Trib used quotation marks when describing what Holder said?  Did you know that the phrase "Jim Crow" doesn't occur in the speech at all?  The braintrust is projecting those things onto Holder's speech - all without telling you.  And finally did you know that in the speech Holder was specifically referring to just one Voter ID law?  The one in Texas, which not-coincidentally is where he was speaking?

Yet again, the Tribune-Review is counting on its readership to skip the invaluable step of checking the Tribune-Review's facts (or better yet "facts").

This is actually what the Attorney General said about SB14:
At a fundamental level, this is the same commitment that has driven us to expand access to, and prevent discrimination in, America’s elections systems. And in jurisdictions across the country, it has compelled the Civil Right’s Division’s Voting Section to take meaningful steps to ensure integrity, independence, and transparency in our enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – a law that the NAACP was instrumental in advancing. Especially in recent months, Texas has – in many ways – been at the center of our national debate about voting rights issues. And I know many of you have been on the front lines of this fight. Here – as in a number of jurisdictions across the country – the Justice Department has initiated careful, thorough, and independent reviews of proposed voting changes – including redistricting plans, early voting procedures, photo identification requirements, and changes affecting third party registration organizations – in order to guard against disenfranchisement, and to help ensure that none of these proposals would have a discriminatory purpose or effect.

And, as many of you know, yesterday was the first day of trial in a case that th e State of Texas filed against the Justice Department, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, seeking approval of its proposed voter ID law. After close review, the Department found that this law would be harmful to minority voters – and we rejected its implementation.

Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID – but student IDs would not. Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. Since the passage of this law, the NAACP and other leading civil rights organizations have been spearheading critical efforts to protect the rights of minority voters in this and other states. And a growing number of you are working to raise awareness about the potential impact of this and other similar laws – and the fact that – according to some recent studies – nationally, only 8% of white voting age citizens, while 25% of African-American voting age citizens, lack a government-issued photo ID. In our efforts to protect voting rights and to prevent voting fraud, we will be vigilant and strong. But let me be clear: we will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.

Now, I can’t predict the future. And I don’t know what will happen as this case moves forward. But I can assure you that the Justice Department’s efforts to uphold and enforce voting rights will remain aggressive. And I have every expectation that we’ll continue to be effective. The arc of American history has always moved toward expanding the electorate. It is what has made this nation exceptional. We will simply not allow this era to be the beginning of the reversal of that historic progress.
So where, again, is the race-baiting?

In the meantime, how bad is the "voter fraud" problem in the Great State of Texas?

Turns out, it's nearly non-existent:
While the State of Texas invests time and money into defending its voter ID law in federal court this week, KHOU 11 News has found the problem isn’t as extensive as portrayed. KHOU 11 News asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to sum up the defense of the state’s law.

“There are two main things that we want to prove in this case. One that voter fraud is a serious problem in the state of Texas,” he said.

So KHOU 11 News requested a list of voter fraud cases in Texas to see the extent of the problem.

The total number of cases on the AG’s own list was 62 since 2002.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

I did read part of and scan the rest of the text of Holder's speech to the NAACP on the Justice Department website you linked to. The speech did contain descriptions of various problems facing African Americans today. I suppose one could consider that race baiting, but what would you expect of someone speaking to the NAACP but to talk about the progress of the civil rights movement? I guess Holder could have followed Romney's example and told the audience he was going to eliminate a program popular among African Americans. But strangely Holder was not there to antagonize the NAACP or punish them for thinking the US could be as advanced as Ireland or Germany, where they have universal healthcare.

The vote fraud issue is interesting. Whenever it arises, Democrats respond by mentioning the Bush administration found fewer than a hundred cases in its eight years, and the Brennan Center finds few cases but much vote suppression when photo ID laws are implemented. Conservative commenters respond that a) only a fool doesn't think there is more vote fraud than what has been discovered and b) the Brennan Center is partisan, biased and therefore can not be cited as a source; Fox News is much more accurate.

I think we could say that since we can't find much evidence of vote fraud, but there is abundant evidence of, say, unemployment, why don't we spend government dollars and energy on unemployment?