Things are not going well for voter ID opponents. The latest James O’Keefe video is the most recent problem for the left. The bigger problem is that the voter ID debate has broken leftist containment, and the left has made an enormous strategic miscalculation by elevating the voter ID fight.
I was on the Darby/Stranahan show yesterday explaining why. (I start at minute 35; “breaking containment” starts at 47). The left didn’t count on voter ID becoming a national issue among Republicans and independents. Instead, the left wanted to keep the issue contained.
What do I mean by “broken leftist containment”? Travel back to 2005 for a successful leftist voter ID strategy. In 2005, Georgia passed a voter ID law. Because Georgia was subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department had to preclear the law. The left activated their public relations machine to either stop the law inside DOJ, or take a pound of flesh after the Bush administration precleared the law. It was a win-win situation for the left.
After a bitter internal fight (that remains a subject of an ongoing internal DOJ inspector general investigation), the Bush DOJ precleared the Georgia voter ID law.
But the most important thing for the left was to keep knowledge of the voter ID anger and opposition contained within Democrat, left-wing, and civil rights circles. If the 80% of Americans who support voter ID learned about the leftist mobilization, it would hurt the effort to block the law. A counterattack from the right might follow.
The left overestimated their enemies in 2005. The counterattack never materialized, and the left kept containment on voter ID. The right was silent through this fight. There was no counter-mobilization in support of voter ID.
Only a few lawyers inside the Justice Department in 2005 opposed the rabid leftist voter ID opponents. They included PJ Media contributor Hans von Spakovsky, Section Chief John Tanner, line attorney Joshua Rogers, and AAG Brad Schlozman. If you support voter ID, these four deserve America’s thanks. Unfortunately, Republicans afterwards failed to defend the Bush DOJ preclearance of Georgia voter ID, while the left mobilized for that pound of flesh. Even Senator Obama began to campaign openly against the DOJ Voting Section, as I discussed in my book Injustice.
When Republicans lack courage to engage the fight merely because racial issues are involved, the left creates carnage. In this instance, it also helped elect a president in 2008.
But things are different in 2012. As I said on the Darby/Stranahan show yesterday:
This is why voter ID, and the fight about voter ID, is so dangerous to the left. And it is such a miscalculation. They don’t have any idea they are playing with fire on this. Because they have been successful on their civil rights agenda, their Justice Department agenda, by activating their base but never letting middle America onto what’s happening. They have been successful in their agenda by having a racialist anti-voter ID policy at Justice but keeping it relatively quiet to a broader audience. Voter ID threatens to break containment. 80 percent of America supports voter ID. People think Eric Holder is absolutely out of his mind to oppose voter ID. . . . Add James O’Keefe onto this mix and you really have a danger to the left.
Unlike in 2005, voter ID has now broken leftist containment. Huge majorities remain supportive of voter ID. The leftist base is aware and activated, but so now is the conservative base. Independents are also aware of the strange opposition to requiring something to vote that they show regularly. There is a widespread perception that Eric Holder opposes voter ID for reasons all too familiar with this attorney general. The states of Texas and South Carolina are taking the fight to Holder in federal court to have their voter ID laws approved. The phoniness of purported voter fraud “studies” by groups funded by the convicted felon George Soros has been exposed. And most dangerous of all to the Obama presidency, Americans are awake, and sense they have an administration again enabling lawless conduct in elections. The voter ID issue has broken containment and it is a dangerous strategic miscalculation for the Democrats.
Related Video from PJTV: Undercover Voter ID Investigation: You’ll Never Guess Which Liberal Groups Are Demanding ID: