Pat McCrory has had his hands full fighting with national newspapers that criticized his administration. First, he took on the New York Times and, last week, McCrory responded to a USA Today editorial to defend his signing the voter suppression law. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention most of the law and only defended the voter ID part.
Look, Gov, I’ll give you voter ID. I don’t like it but it’s popular and has broad support. You should have stuck with that. But your side went way beyond just Voter ID. Why did you shorten the early voting period? And why did you end pre-registration for teen-agers? Why don’t you allow student IDs? Why don’t you allow for provisional ballots if people vote at the wrong place? Why won’t you allow voting hours to be extended in the event of long lines on Election Day? Why do you support voter intimidation measures that allow increased challenges to people who are trying to vote? And finally, if this is not about race, why the rush the minute the Supreme Court invalidated the Voting Rights Act provisions?
You and your pals can defend your voter bill all you want but the damage has been done. Nobody really believes this is about protecting the integrity of elections because nobody but your wing nuts questioned that integrity. The problem is not voter ID. It’s the broad scope of the bill, the timing and the tenor of the politicians who ignored protests and rammed it through without selling it to the public first.
But don’t worry. You won’t alienate any swing voters. These aren’t the bread-and-butter issues they focus on, anyway. No, they’ll be wondering what you did to our public schools and universities, why you kicked 170,000 people off of unemployment while we have one the nation’s highest unemployment rates, why you denied 500,000 North Carolinians medical care and why you didn’t focus on jobs when that’s what they elected you to do.
So, really, you should just quit arguing. You’re never going to convince the people who feel targeted that they weren’t and most of the people you offended wouldn’t have supported you anyway. But a lot of them wouldn’t have voted, either. Now, they probably will.
You’ve managed to solidify the Democratic base even though the party itself is broken. That’s quite a feat. You’ve also further alienated minority communities you will need to stay a viable party over the next twenty years. And a whole generation of teenagers and twenty-somethings will always remember the time your party did all it could to keep them from voting. You may have won the battle but lost the war.
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 >