General Colin Powell, a Republican, came to North Carolina and said what most of the state and nation believes. “I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote.” Then, he took down the GOP’s main talking point, “You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,”
McCrory’s office said they “respectfully disagree” with Powell. Phil Bergers’s office issued his standard statement saying the “measure restores confidence in our voting system.” Here’s the dirty little secret. Most people never lost confidence in our voting system and the ones who did lost it because we elected a Democrat (and a Black one, at that) president.
Powell’s statement flies in the face of what the GOP has been peddling, and nobody has been buying, for the past several months. While Republicans have argued they are protecting the integrity of elections, folks get that the real goal is to keep certain people from voting. Regardless of what they think about voter ID, they don’t like disenfranchisement. This is 2013, not 1963.
Recently, some Republicans have shifted tactics. Carter Wrenn and John Hood both argue that the laws will actually have little impact on the turnout in elections. But that’s not the point. Whether it actually affects turnout or not, people understand the real goal of these laws and they don’t like politicians who try to rig the game.
This new argument is similar to their argument about public school funding. Republicans have been on television, in newspapers and all over social media claiming that the GOP actually increased funding for education. But while they are making that case, local headlines across the state bemoan the loss of teachers, teaching assistants and school supplies. Whether they increased spending or not is irrelevant. They are making our kids are do more with less while giving raises to political cronies and tax breaks to political donors–and it’s getting old.
Republicans overreached on a number of issues during the legislative session and it’s already coming back to bite them. They are running across the state trying to defend their actions with arguments that either don’t ring true or don’t matter. In the eyes of voters, these argument makes them look either deceptive or out of touch. It’s not the voting system that’s losing people’s confidence. It’s the leaders who are trying to rig it.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >