Eric Holder Slides into the Depths of Race Politics
An attorney general who plays the race card flirts with some ugly ghosts from American history.
June 14, 2012 - 12:08 am
The absurdity of Holder’s arguments about the disproportionate unfairness of voter ID laws is revealed by this one fact: no one can enter Eric Holder’s Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., without presenting … a photo ID.
Luckily, most of us don’t often find ourselves trying to enter the Justice Department, but we do need to show a photo ID to get into almost any court or government building, as well as for all sorts of routine daily activities like making a bank deposit, buying a plane ticket or boarding a flight, checking into a hotel or motel, or buying an item with a credit card. Sensible people don’t believe they’ve faced discrimination when asked to produce ID in any of these circumstances. A polling place is perhaps one of the most important places to have you prove that you are who you say you are.
In order to limit voter fraud, nine states require a photo ID before voting and eighteen others allow a non-photo form of ID. Holder has used the Voting Rights Act to stop the implementation of voter ID requirements in Texas and South Carolina. Nonetheless, a Fox News opinion survey showed that 52 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of independents are in favor of voter ID laws.
While the Supreme Court upheld voter ID in a different context, Holder is on a crusade against it. In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled on Indiana’s voter ID law and a six-member majority upheld that state’s law, saying that Indiana’s law was not an undue burden under the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.
Holder hasn’t acted alone. Other Democrats and Obama campaign surrogates have joined the attack. Among them is DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In an interview with CNN’s Roland Martin, she argued that voter ID laws are an indication that Republicans want to drag the nation back to the days of Jim Crow laws. Democrat Congressman Jerrold Nadler said photo ID laws are a “deliberate plot by conservative Republicans to suppress votes.”
In one of the more outrageous moves last year, the NAACP delivered a petition to the United Nations seeking that organization’s help in investigating voting abuses in the United States. They argued that voter ID laws are a conscious effort to strip blacks and other minority groups of the right to vote. This, like almost nothing else, showed how this once-proud civil rights group is completely irrelevant and long past its glory days.
The NAACP supported the dismissal of charges by Holder’s DOJ against two members of the New Black Panther party who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 taunting white voters — with one wielding a nightstick. This case led to accusations that the DOJ under Obama and Holder is biased against white victims of voting rights abuses, preferring only to pursue cases involving black or other minority victims.
Much of this flap over voter ID laws might be easily dismissed if the people making claims about voter ID laws were outliers and kooky fringe activists. However, in addition to well-known Democratic Party operatives and civil rights leaders, the key figure in this matter is the attorney general of the United States — the highest law enforcement official in the nation. Why is he lying to, scaring, and confusing black Americans about imaginary threats?
Although Holder’s views are mired deeply in leftist politics, he’s a sophisticated man who was once a leading attorney at a large and successful Washington, D.C., legal firm. He must know his claim — that Republican racial animus lurks behind voter ID laws — is a lie. This makes Holder’s cynicism all the more unforgivable.