NY Times: Vote fraud is no big deal, because Frederick Douglass
The intellectual bankruptcy of vote-fraud defenders knows no bounds. They have absolutely no rational argument against common-sense voter ID laws, so they’re forced to concoct increasingly tortured, emotional arguments, in which the notion of asking a voter to show the same kind of ID for voting that he routinely presents for the purchase of alcoholic beverages is magnified, through the magic of shrill hysteria, into an act of brutal Klan-style racism.
A very long-winded example of this nonsense ran in the New York Times last Friday, penned by David Blight. Blight thinks we have to put up with unlimited voter fraud because Frederick Douglass changed his name over 170 years ago.
No, seriously, that’s his “argument.” Douglass was born into slavery as Frederick Bailey in 1818; in 1840 and 1841, he had to pay a $1.50 tax to register to vote, after changing his name. “By the mid-1840s, he had emerged as one of the greatest orators and writers in American history,” Blight tells us. “But legally, Douglass began his public life by committing what today we would consider voter fraud, using an assumed name.”
Sure, that’s exactly the same thing as Mississippi NAACP official Lessadolla Sowers getting five years in prison for pumping out fraudulent absentee ballots. Why, she’s just like Frederick Douglass! I don’t know why black voters put up with this kind of nauseating insult to both their historical pride and intelligence. Can the opponents of voter identification produce any arguments grounded in the current century? Usually it’s always 1965 to them, but now they’ve got to set the Wayback Machine to the 1840s in order to make their case?
After a few hundred more words of Frederick Douglass trivia that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to contemporary discussions of rational voter identification techniques, Blight gets around to his jaw-droppingly stupid and insulting conclusion:
Today’s Republican Party seems deeply concerned with rooting out voter fraud of the kind Douglass practiced. So, with Douglass’s story as background, I have a modest proposal for it. In the 23 states where Republicans have either enacted voter-ID laws or shortened early voting hours in urban districts, and consistent with their current reigning ideology, they should adopt a simpler strategy of voter suppression.
To those potentially millions of young, elderly, brown and black registered voters who, despite no evidence of voter fraud, they now insist must obtain government ID, why not merely offer money? Pay them not to vote. Give each a check for $711 in honor of Frederick Douglass. Buy their “freedom,” and the election. Call it the “Frederick Douglass Voter Voucher.”
Give people a choice: take the money and just not vote, or travel miles without easy transportation to obtain a driver’s license they do not need. It’s their “liberty”; let them decide how best to use it. Perhaps they will forget their history as much as the Republican Party seems to wish the nation would.
Reality check, since Blight seems uninterested in it: not a single state in the Union requires a driver’s license as the sole form of acceptable ID for voting. In addition to various other forms of identification, all of them offer free ID cards, which require no more “miles without easy transportation” to obtain than voting itself does. Or is asking people to haul themselves to the polls on Election Day also an act of “suppression?”
Who’s David Blight? Oh, he’s just a professor of history at Yale. People are paying a fortune to subject their children to this crackpot ideology. Out here in the real world, no American of any color with a shred of self-respect thinks the great causes of justice and equality before the law are furthered by indulging ballot theft.