Study: Contrary to Activist Propaganda, Voter ID Laws Don’t Don’t Swing Elections, and Don’t Suppress Minority Votes
Nate Cohn writes:
…The study was of Texas, and it was conducted by Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard. It found that 608,470 registered voters lack any kind of state or federal ID after using robust matching criteria. That figure seems quite similar to other studies about voter ID, and therefore the Brennan Center contends it validates less robust studies with similar figures.
But the Texas study does not refute my article; it bolsters it. The study showed that just 4.5 percent of the state’s active registered voters lacked photo identification. That’s less than half of the 9.4 percent who lacked photo identification in that Pennsylvania study.
Part of the reason for the smaller number of voters without identification was that the study considered federal ID, not just state-issued ID. The study found that 32 percent of the registered voters without a state identification had a federal ID, like a passport. Even if this figure would be lower in states farther from the border, it strongly suggests that any analysis without consideration of federal ID will substantially overstate the number of voters without identification.
There is one place where the Brennan Center makes a fair point, though I think it depends on a miscommunication on my part that’s worth clearing up.
In my original article, I wrote a paragraph that read: “Take Texas, a state with a particularly onerous voter ID law. If I register to vote as ‘Nate’ but my ID says ‘Nathan,’ I might be counted among the hundreds of thousands of registered voters without a photo ID. But I’ll be fine at the polling station on Election Day with a name that’s ‘substantially similar’ to the one on file.” The Brennan Center interprets this paragraph to mean that I would not be counted in the Texas study as lacking ID.
This was unclear. My point in invoking Texas was not to discuss Mr. Ansolabehere’s matching procedures, but to note that even a state with a stringent ID law, like Texas, would accept a name that’s “substantially similar” to the one on file. I was not disputing that there are states using these matching procedures, just trying to show the potential complications involving people who could be counted as without photo identification but could nevertheless vote in a state with a particularly strong voter ID law.
This quibble aside, the Brennan article is consistent with my own about the small chances for swinging election outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »
David Boaz writes: Not long ago a journalist asked me what freedoms we take for granted in America. Now, I spend most of my time sounding the alarm about the freedoms we’re losing. But this was a good opportunity to step back and consider how America is different from much of world history — and why immigrants still flock here.
[Check out David Boaz‘s book “The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, The Right and Threats to Our Liberties” at Amazon]
Rule of law. Perhaps the greatest achievement in history is the subordination of power to law. That is, in modern America we have created structures that limit and control the arbitrary power of government. No longer can one man — a king, a priest, a communist party boss — take another person’s life or property at the ruler’s whim. Citizens can go about their business, generally confident that they won’t be dragged off the streets to disappear forever, and confident that their hard-earned property won’t be confiscated without warning. We may take the rule of law for granted, but immigrants from China, Haiti, Syria, and other parts of the world know how rare it is.
Equality. For most of history people were firmly assigned to a particular status — clergy, nobility, and peasants. Kings and lords and serfs. Brahmans, other castes, and untouchables in India. If your father was a noble or a peasant, so would you be. The American Revolution swept away such distinctions. In America all men were created equal. Thomas Jefferson declared “that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” In America some people may be smarter, richer, stronger, or more beautiful than others, but “I’m as good as you” is our national creed. We are all citizens, equal before the law, free to rise as far as our talents will take us.
Equality for women. Throughout much of history women were the property of their fathers or their husbands. They were often barred from owning property, testifying in court, signing contracts, or participating in government. Equality for women took longer than equality for men, but today in America and other civilized parts of the world women have the same legal rights as men. Read the rest of this entry »
The United States Constitution says the legislative power is held by Congress, not by the president.
“…what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.”
The White House has argued that President Obama’s executive amnesty order last week was made well within the existing law. But in remarks in Chicago tonight, President Obama went off script and admitted that in fact he unilaterally made changes to the law.
President Obama made the admission after getting heckled for several minutes by immigration protesters…. (read more)
“Listen, you know — here. Can I just say this, all right? I’ve listened to you. I heard you. I heard you. I heard you. All right? Now I have been respectful, I let you holler. All right? So let me just — nobody is removing you. I have heard you… (read more)
“Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.”
‘Civil rights’ figures decided long ago that the only fair outcome would be indictment. But that was driven by ideology, not facts
“Last year, 76 law-enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, and I’m hard pressed to name one of them.”
Even though the grand jury elected not to find Officer Darren Wilson responsible for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, sadly, I never believed that the gathering protesters gathered in Ferguson were seeking justice or a peaceful resolution to the case, which has roiled race relations in America to levels I haven’t seen in decades.
“That Rep. Lewis, who was beaten to within an inch of his life in Selma, would draw a moral equivalence between violence on the part of police officers who viciously beat nonviolent civil-rights protesters with the encounter between Brown and Wilson, where the facts indicated the teen had struggled to wrest control of the officer’s gun, is disheartening.”
How else to explain those chanting “No Justice, No Peace” in the days leading up to the grand jury’s determination? The only justice sought by those folks involved a conviction against Wilson for killing the “gentle giant” teen. Evidence that favored Wilson’s account—that he tragically shot the teen in self-defense—was conveniently ignored, as doing so neatly fit into the narrative that whites are racist, white police officers assassinate blacks at their leisure, and America is as prejudiced toward people of color as it was in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.
“Disheartening because Lewis’ words will give strength and solace to those who believe in the narrative that our country remains overwhelmingly prejudiced toward blacks, instead of confronting the sad reality that almost all shootings involving black men in America today take place at the hands of other black men rather than white police officers.”
Don’t take my word on this. Consider the incendiary words spoken by civil-rights hero and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) last week, when he observed:“When we were beaten on that bridge in Selma, the people couldn’t take it, when they saw it, when they heard about it, when they read about it. There was a sense of righteous indignation. And if we see a miscarriage of justice in Ferguson, we’re going to have the same reaction that people had towards Selma.”
I had yet to be born to observe the events of Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. On that date, some 600 civil-rights marchers departed Selma and shortly thereafter were met by state troopers who attacked them with dogs, billy clubs, and tear gas.
However, one can hardly equate the Jim Crow Deep South, fraught with systemic racism, poll taxes, literacy taxes, and segregated accommodations, to a tragic shooting some 50 years later in which none of us were privy to the facts of the encounter between a police officer and teen in Ferguson. Read the rest of this entry »
Brendan Bordelon writes: Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor and Obamacare architect behind a series of revealing and offensive comments on the health-care law, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month.
Gruber became notorious earlier this month after a series of videos surfaced showing him explaining how Obamacare was deliberately designed to be deceptive — and belittling the intelligence of American voters in the process. Read the rest of this entry »
— Christine Byers (@ChristineDByers) November 25, 2014
— STLtoday (@stltoday) November 25, 2014
Evidently the harder path was just too hard
Michael Gerson writes: There are any number of marvelous things one might do as president, if Congress were not such a checked and balanced mess. But future presidents now have a new method at their disposal: Declare a long-running debate to be a national emergency. Challenge Congress, under threat of unilateral executive action, to legislate on the topic before your term runs out. And when lawmakers refuse, act with the most expansive definition of presidential power.
The supporting arguments for this approach come down to the claim that the American political system is broken — incapable of action on urgent matters because of obstructionism, bad faith and the abuse of legislative procedure. It is the political philosophy of “something must be done.”
“By crossing this particular Rubicon, Obama has given up on politics, which is, from one perspective, understandable. He doesn’t do it well.”
The arguments against this approach often come down to institutionalism. Major policy shifts, in this view, deserve legislative hearings and an open amendment process. The White House should make its views known and issue veto threats. There should be a negotiation between the House and Senate to reconcile a bill. There should be a presidential signature, or a veto and an override debate. The machinery is admittedly creaky, but it manufactures democratic legitimacy. Read the rest of this entry »
Disclaimer: The James Madison quote is 95% accurate.
Obama’s planned action perverts the meaning of the legal doctrine
“As you listen to the president try to explain himself tonight, you are going to hear a lot about how his plan is just a sensible exercise of prosecutorial discretion — how he is just using the sparse resources Congress gives him to enforce the law in more efficient ways. It will sound unobjectionable — even appealing.
But understand, it will be lawless and an invitation to waves of law-breaking. Obama is not merely prioritizing crimes; he is equating his non-enforcement of congressional statutes with the repeal of those statutes. He is not merely ignoring some lawbreakers so he can pursue others; he is declaring that categories of non-Americans of Obama’s unilateral choosing have a right to break our laws and be rewarded for it.”
Joe Concha reports; America loves streaks. For our parents and grandparents, it was witnessing (via radio or the morning paper) Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, a record that will likely never be broken. For later generations, it was Cal Ripkenplaying in 2,632 consecutive games — another record that won’t be touched.
“ABC’s story rundowns have been particularly vexing for the past month. If you recall, David Muir‘s newscast also ignored the lead-up to the midterms, not doing one story on it for months until just a few days before the election. By contrast, when Republicans were about to be shellacked in the 2006 midterms, ABC did 36 stories leading up to that election.”
There are streaks in broadcasting as well. The most notable being broken two years ago after ABC’s Good Morning America finally beat NBC’s Today Show after an astounding 852 consecutive weeks at the top, a streak spanning over 16 years.
“Gallup’s latest poll (September) in the media’s ability to report ‘the news fully, accurately, and fairly’ is all-time low of 40%. That’s down 34 points from a Gallup poll taken post-Watergate, when the press actually held those in power accountable.”
But then there are dubious streaks as well, like the one we’re currently witnessing courtesy of those aforementioned big alphabet networks.
The comments of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber have been a big story for the past ten days. Regardless of how you voted or whether you’re team red or blue, an official who worked closely with President Obama and his team on crafting the Affordable Care Act (visiting the Oval Office 19 times to specifically discuss a strategy) and later revealing on multiple occasions that the law was predicated on misleading “stupid” American voters is a story worthy of national attention and scrutiny. Those who don’t believe this are willfully blind, or as stupid as even an MSNBC panel says the White House thinks we all are.
With that in mind, here’s one more streak to chew on: Over the past ten nights, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC’s Nightly News haven’t just buried the story in some throwaway segment late in their respective programs; they haven’t mentioned Gruber or the controversy in any capacity. Some could argue the decision to omit has been made because the news cycle has been heavy on the breaking news front. Except that hasn’t remotely been the case. Read the rest of this entry »