HICKS COLUMN: Voter ID not about race? Right
South Carolina won't be getting any thank-you cards from the Republicans this year.
The GOP has tried to use its national convention this week to expand its tent, as they say, by luring women and minority voters ... who they routinely alienate.
And, as usual, our state is gumming up the works.
With South Carolina's voter ID law on trial in D.C. this week, Justice Department officials released an email in which state Rep. Alan Clemmons — co-author of the voter ID bill — says “Amen” to an email from some guy who likened black people to “a swarm of bees going after watermelon.”
Anyone who gets emails from the public should know that you don't engage fools.
Especially when you are trying to claim, with a straight face, that voter ID has nothing to do with race.
The GOP gets it
Like the guy who sent Clemmons that email, a lot of folks don't understand why this is a big deal. Just show your driver's license or passport.
For people who don't get out of the suburbs, here's why: A lot of older black people in this state were delivered by midwives before Civil Rights and never really had a birth certificate, which you have to have to get a state ID.
They don't drive, so they have no license. And they certainly aren't jetting off to Paris for vacation, so they have no passport. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University released a study this summer that said South Carolina's voter ID law could keep tens of thousands of minorities from casting ballots.
And the GOP knows this.
“The idea is to suppress the votes of people who won't vote for them,” says state Rep. David Mack.
This is dirty politics funded by taxpayers. And it's possible, Mack says, because the tea party has dragged the Republican Party into the mud, taking hate — like that email to Clemmons — mainstream.
Need proof? How about the two yahoos at the convention who threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman, saying this was how they fed animals.
“It's confusing,” Mack says. “First Andre Bauer said don't feed us because we'd just breed. Now they say this is how they feed us.”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was probably just being a smart aleck, but he dismissed the party's strategy in The Washington Post this week.
“We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term,” Graham said.
He's right. And that's why we have voter ID.
But fact is, no one can prove this is a problem. State officials dragged out 1,000 examples this year, and not one of them turned out to be actual fraud. Almost all of them were bureaucratic mistakes.
At the trial this week, state Sen. Chip Campsen conceded that the voting problems he had outlined in his testimony would not be solved by the new voter ID law.
He said the state lacks the tools to root out the fraud. But there are plenty of Republicans trying to find just one case — one — to justify spending millions in taxpayer dollars to rig elections.
And their true colors are showing.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.