“Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” said email destroyer Hillary Clinton during a speech at the historically black Texas Southern University in which she
played the race card expressed her deep concern about the state of voting rights.
There are two points that ought to be made about Democratic opposition to Republican policies geared towards rooting out such fraud, and the broad-based argument that Republicans seek to suppress minority voters.
First, those Democrats who oppose anti-fraud measures are in effect supporting the suppression of legal voters of all races, whose votes are diluted by fraudulent ones. Stated differently, legal voters are actually the ones being disenfranchised in a system rife with voter integrity issues, not those required to display easily obtainable IDs used for all manner of everyday tasks.
Second, it is the Democratic Party that has historically been responsible for voter disenfranchisement, specifically of minorities. As the always excellent Jeffrey Lord recounts in a 2008 Wall Street Journal editorial titled “The Democrats’ Missing History,” the party frequently glosses over its past on matters of race. To wit, the party excluded, and continues to exclude from its official history page the following, quoting Lord:
- There is no reference to “Jim Crow” as in “Jim Crow laws,” nor is there reference to the role Democrats played in creating them. These were the post-Civil War laws passed enthusiastically by Democrats in that pesky 52-year part of the DNC’s missing years [1840-1900]. These laws segregated public schools, public transportation, restaurants, rest rooms and public places in general (everything from water coolers to beaches). The reason Rosa Parks became famous is that she sat in the “whites only” front section of a bus, the “whites only” designation the direct result of Democrats.
- There is no reference to the fact Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The 13th banned slavery. The 14th effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision (made by Democratic pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The 15th gave black Americans the right to vote.
- There is no reference to the Democrats’ 1904 platform, which devotes a section to “Sectional and Racial Agitation,” claiming the GOP’s protests against segregation and the denial of voting rights to blacks sought to “revive the dead and hateful race and sectional animosities in any part of our common country,” which in turn “means confusion, distraction of business, and the reopening of wounds now happily healed.”
- There is no reference to four Democratic platforms, 1908-20, that are silent on blacks, segregation, lynching and voting rights as racial problems in the country mount. By contrast the GOP platforms of those years specifically address “Rights of the Negro” (1908), oppose lynching (in 1912, 1920, 1924, 1928) and, as the New Deal kicks in, speak out about the dangers of making blacks “wards of the state.”
- There is no reference that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the U.S. House came from Democrats, or that 80% of the “nay” vote in the Senate came from Democrats. Certainly there is no reference to the fact that the opposition included future Democratic Senate leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia (a former Klan member) and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of Vice President Al Gore.
While Republicans support policies aimed at ensuring the sanctity of the vote, and thus the protection of individual (and therefore minority) rights through legitimate elections, Democrats continue to seek out what is politically expedient.
Featured Image Source:AP Photo/Pat Sullivan.