Are you familiar with the horror of the Jim Crow South? If you are, you understand how morally and argumentatively reprehensible Democratic rhetoric has become about voting rights.
I often resort to hyperbole to stress a point, but I am hard-pressed to say something more absurd than what President Biden has claimed about recent election laws in Republican-led state legislatures. “The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real. It’s unrelenting, and we’re going to challenge it vigorously….The assault on free and fair elections is just such a threat, literally. I’ve said it before: We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War.”
Laws such as those in Texas and Georgia are literally as bad as Jim Crow. That’s what the president says. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the assassinations of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King. Or, more horrifically, let’s pause to think of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old boy who was kidnapped, beaten terribly, and dumped in a river with barbed wire around his body.
If you have a strong stomach, you can view pictures of this child’s body. Though, ‘body’ is a polite word for what these men turned the boy into. Two men brutally murdered a child, in defiance of all good in Heaven and on Earth. That is the legacy of Jim Crow and the laws and culture that made such evil possible. Current voter election laws are literally of the same ilk. The president said that!
To discover what made Texas’ and Georgia’s laws so terrible, I did something drastic: I read them. And I cannot for the life of me, with all the power of thought God granted me, find any insidious racism lurking there.
There are four themes that these laws address: Timeliness, Transparency, Consequences, and Security. Each one has roots in the last presidential election. Just think of all the stories that went viral during that time. Issac Saul created a Twitter thread over 400 tweets long trying to knock out the false stories one by one. I’ve written elsewhere about the claims of election fraud, so I won’t go into that here.
Suffice it to say that delays and questions about authority, protocol, and ballot security were at the top of the list for voters concerned about the election. These laws attempt to remedy those concerns, and they do not do it by throwing minorities under the proverbial bus.
The Georgia law, for instance, takes great pains to ensure that ballot drop boxes are manufactured, placed, and monitored in such a way to ensure ballot security. It also requires timely posting of vote totals and very public announcements of changes to voting procedure. Stipulations such as requiring absentee ballots to be counted before the day of the election and mandating that counting continue until all votes are processed will help as well.
Both states take aim at ballot harvesting, a practice ripe for fraudulent activity. Anyone can see that a third-party person paid to go door to door and pick up ballots is a loaded gun. Anything from simply tossing ballots from voters expected to vote the “wrong” way to intimidation can easily happen.
All of the provisions in these laws are facially neutral. That is, they do not use criteria other than being a voter to determine if the law applies to you. The claims of racism all stem from other notions, such as a historical context or disparate impact. An analysis being more complex does not disqualify it, but a more complex analysis should be able to explain more, which these theories do not.
Charles Blow, for example, has a wretched piece in the New York Times titled “Welcome to Jim Crow 2.0.” He traces a long history of racism in the South and then hastily throws out a grand total of four sentences at the end about how Americans today are “reliving in real time a horrendous history of more than a century ago.”
First, shame on him for eschewing the tragedy of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King. Second, four sentences does not a sustained argument make. An intelligent person might want to know which features of the present make it similar to the past, a very basic question given his line of argument, but a question he does not even attempt to address.
This kind of lazy argumentation would not pass in a high school English class. Apparently, though, it meets the standard for a weekly feature in the home of “All the news that’s fit to print.”
The truth is that every instance of supposed racism in these laws falls apart on analysis. To take one case, Voter ID laws make quite a bit of sense. We require proof of who you are for many, many things in life. For something as important as voting, why should we not require proof of identity?
Furthermore, claiming that black Americans are somehow less capable of obtaining IDs is racist, obviously. And to make matters worse for the left, both the Texas and Georgia laws allow for other methods of identification for those without a driver’s license such as a social security number.
What about long wait times? We can all agree that everyone should be able to cast legal votes in a timely manner. Both laws extend the amount of time available for early voting to reduce this problem! And the Georgia law requires election officials to use additional resources to reduce expected wait times; it even goes so far as to mandate wait times be measured.
It is entirely possible that I am simply unable to see the true evil lurking behind these legal bushes. I may be a complete rube, a cat’s paw with the dastardly Republican overlords pulling my strings. It is also entirely possible that the sun will fail to rise tomorrow morning…I’m not holding my breath for it. The left may at last produce a cogent argument with ample evidence to show that these laws are truly Jim Crow risen from the dead, but I don’t think I’ll hold my breath for that either.