On the national scene, President Obama and the Democrats defend the unpopular Obamacare law as settled law of the land, therefore do not question it. At the same time, though, the Democrats relentlessly attack voter ID laws that have been enacted in several states over the past few years. The Obama administration is even waging courtroom war against those laws, suing states including Texas that have passed voter ID to get the laws gutted. Texas is key to Democrats’ hopes to build a permanent presidency and congressional majority, so whatever happens in Texas won’t stay in Texas. Voter ID seems to fill Democrats with dread that they cannot win the state.
For the sake of perspective, it’s worth noting that while Obamacare has never had majority support, voter ID laws routinely grab about 70% support, across all ethnicities, including in Texas. These are popular laws that most Americans recognize are needed to keep our elections secure. In a border state like Texas, border jumping, identity theft, and absentee vote brokering all combine to make voter ID necessary to ensure that legitimate votes count, and illegal votes do not.
Lawfare may not be the only means by which the Democrats are attacking voter ID laws. Over the weekend, a prominent Texan had trouble registering to vote. He’s only former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, the Fort Worth Democrat who resigned his speakership in disgrace a few decades back. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Saturday that the 90-year-old Wright, the first speaker of the House to resign because of scandal, ran into trouble registering to vote, because of voter ID.
Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.
“Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID,” Wright said.
Naturally, Wright took his problems to the local media, who blew the story up.
Wright turned his travails into criticism of voter ID:
“I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote,” Wright told theStar-Telegram. “I think they will reduce the number to some extent.”
What were those “unduly stringent requirements”? Wright had to prove who he was before he could register to vote, via photo ID, which he had failed to bring with him.
Maybe the disgraced Democrat was just being forgetful when he failed to bring his photo ID? Maybe.
Or maybe, Wright wasn’t being forgetful at all, and trouble was the point of his excursion.
When he had a minor issue because he did not have his ID, Wright had the wherewithal to alert the media, and in short order his little problem made state and national news, generating stories in USA Today, the Atlantic, Huffington Post, Politico, and a tweet by the Texas Tribune‘s Evan Smith. The non-profit Texas Tribune, which claims to be politically neutral and syndicates its news stories statewide, receives major funding from sources on the left including George Soros and the Ford Foundation.
Wright isn’t the first Texas Democrat to run into the state’s popular voter ID law. A week earlier, none other than state Sen. Wendy Davis had to sign an affidavit to obtain her voter ID because the name on her driver’s license is slightly different from the name on her voter registration card. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Davis is no run-of-the-mill official; she is expected to be the Texas Democrats’ nominee for governor. And again, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram story about her problem became national news, with lefty blogs and MSNBC picking it up.
So this is two prominent Democrats who have problems keeping their official identification straight enough to vote in two weeks.
We’re not done here. A week before Davis, a third Texas Democrat also ran into voter ID issues. While Wright is a major figure from the past and Davis is a media darling after filibustering another popular law, the first Texas Democrat to run into voter ID probably wasn’t prominent enough to cause much of a stir. Judge Sandra Watts ran into an issue because she, like Davis, had different names on her IDs.
Democrats have for years warned about these laws may disenfranchise many minorities and young people. Now, they have what they consider to be damning evidence that the laws aren’t intended, as its authors say, to prevent voter fraud.
The story was brought to life when a Texas judge, Sandra Watts, told a local station that for the first time in 52 years, she couldn’t use the registration and ID she has always used to vote because of a discrepancy between her maiden and married names.
“This is the first time I have ever had a problem voting,” Watts told KIII-TV.
Politically, the story fits neatly into the Democrats’ narrative that the GOP is waging a “war on women” on multiple fronts.
Notice how many Democrat narratives ABC worked into just four paragraphs — anti-voter ID, “war on women,” racial politics, “Democrats warned this would happen.” It’s an impressive effort, for which reporter Abby D. Phillip may have earned kudos from the DNC. A sample of Phillip’s latest headlines includes:
and the aforelinked
Phillip even tried her hand at writing a defense of Obamacare on October 23, three weeks into its disastrous rollout.
Notice in the “Silver Lining” story that Judge Watts had the presence of mind to alert the media when she ran into a personal paperwork snafu. Don’t we all do that? Fellow Democrats Wendy Davis and Jim Wright certainly do.
For three straight weeks, a Texas Democrat has run into trouble with voter ID, a law that Texas Democrats fought against for years before it passed and their White House is fighting to destroy after it passed. For three straight weeks, that Texas Democrat has blamed the voter ID law, not themselves, for their own failures — failing to keep their names consistent in official documents, failing to carry their ID around with them as we all do every day. Had they done these simple things that everyone else does, there would have been no trouble — and no story.
The Texas Democrats who have run afoul of the voter ID law have increased in prominence and influence over the course of their troubles, starting with a local judge, then a statewide candidate, then an elderly state Democrat who was a national figure (just forget the part about him resigning in disgrace). A married woman, a divorced woman, and a senior citizen, week to week to week, all Democrats, all running into trouble with a law their party is agitating to tear down, and they all quickly fired off the Victim Signal to the media once “trouble” emerged.
This has Organizing for America/Battleground Texas’ fingerprints all over it. Media campaigns built around useful political narratives are what they do. In this case, they’re using convenient victim testimonials to undermine voter ID law, and the media are dutifully blowing up these tales of “woe” (in ABC’s Phillip’s words) to carry the Democrats’ message forward and cast doubt on the laws. The overall aim is to undermine popular support for the law as the Justice Department and the courts do their work to destroy the law itself.
The next “victim” needs to top Jim Wright in irony or prominence and draw out how “unair” the popular and perfectly fair voter ID law is. Dollars to donuts the next “victim” is either black or Hispanic, probably Hispanic as that’s a growing demographic that the Democrats are depending on to make themselves competitive in Texas. The next “victim” could even be a Republican who is sympathetic to the Democrats’ take on voter ID.
The media will report the next “victim” just as they have reported the previous ones, never noticing the obvious fact that had the “victim” just done what we all do every day, there would have been no problem at all — and therefore no story at all.