In poker, it’s called a tell. Seasoned players can famously make mincemeat of self-assured amateurs by reading their facial twitches, their body language, their thinly-disguised countenance. And for Democrats trying to wring every last drop of power out of their moment in the sun with control of the presidency and Congress, their vehemence on the issue of election law writ large is certainly telling.
But while they press their case for federalizing elections, expanding mail-in voting even further than 2020, and opposing harsher penalties for demonstrable election fraud, they have gone completely off the rails on the single most significant issue underpinning all the rest: voter identification. Simply put, Democrats in power are almost universally opposed to something the American people almost universally support – to the tune of four out of five. That, my friends, is a classic tell.
It’s called desperation.
After all, political parties generally win elections by appealing to the prevailing public sentiment. Hawks do well when the drums of war are beating. Doves rule the day when the public has become war-weary. Government bailouts are wildly popular during times of economic collapse. In normal times, they tend to make people nervous. Conducting free and fair elections, rarely a frontline issue among the public over the years, became a flashing red light during the lockdown-heavy pandemic.
To be clear, Democrats are not only opposed to voters needing to prove they are who they claim to be, little more than a routine, mundane act in an age when we are all required to do so for something as simple as checking a book out of a library or registering at a doctor’s office. No, they are so radicalized about it that our liberal-turned-progressive president invested a substantial portion of his political capital this week in decrying the most easily defensible voting requirement supported by a vast majority of Americans.
Indeed, Joe Biden used his bully pulpit to denounce the actions of 17 states that have reformed their voting laws since the debacle of 2020. That election like no other was marked by a virtual air-drop of unsolicited mail-in ballots and dramatically relaxed ID standards, enabled by the passage of hastily-legislated laws advanced by Democrats seizing on the political opportunities presented by the pandemic. It legalized, among other things, the widespread use of unguarded drop boxes – and untold numbers of consequently unverifiable ballots. The result was a near-incomprehensible national “turnout” of some 67% – a remarkable 7% higher than in 2016.
Vice President Kamala Harris did what she usually does, adding gasoline to a blazing fire by stating, “Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.” True enough, but what is her basis for such a claim? Country folk can’t figure things out: “In some people’s mind, that means well, you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID … there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t … there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them.”
It was a transparent attempt to mainstream the draconian federalization of elections – specifically mandated by the U.S. Constitution to be regulated by individual states – as detailed in the notorious and now-rejected House bill H.R. 1. In lumping those rural (i.e. overwhelmingly Republican) voters together with her own overwhelmingly Democratic constituents in the inner city, the vice president is essentially positing that these working class and farm folk are so flat-out ignorant that they can’t be expected to comply with the most basic responsibility of citizenship. Give her credit at least for bipartisan paternalism.
The states denounced by Biden have now responded by essentially going back to the basics, making it easy to vote and hard to cheat – as if that is somehow a controversial notion. Nevertheless, this president labeled these new laws as the effective rebirth of Jim Crow. Having previously denounced them as “Jim Crow on steroids,” “Jim Crow 2.0” and “Jim Crow in a suit and tie,” this president has certainly made liberal use of a woke term of art attached to the web of flagrantly racist laws institutionalized following the Civil War.
But those are fighting words, when you consider revelations in the latest Monmouth University poll: A supermajority of Americans support requiring voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot, including 62% of Democrats and a stunning 87% of independent voters – in addition to an unsurprising 91% of Republicans. All in all, 80% of those polled favor such a requirement. For context, that compares to 71% who favor the liberalization of early voting (89% support more access for in-person early voting), and 50% who say voting by mail should be made easier.
In the end, when you strip away the facade and the race-baiting, what we are left with is only one possible explanation for why the Democratic Party is willing to fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion and employ a full court press on the issue of voter ID: abject fear. After riding the wave of pandemic-driven laws all the way to control of the White House and Congress in 2020, they are convinced that if they don’t get their way on this foundational issue, they will soon lose much of what they were so fortunate to win.
Read more from Tim Donner.