The PJ Tatler

Ben Carson Jumps Shark: Open to Federal Control Over State Elections

Ben Carson is a good guy. He’d make a great secretary of Health and Human Services.  But after what he told CNN today, no constitutional conservative should support him for president.

For a change Jeb Bush was right and Ben Carson was dead wrong.

Carson told CNN that he is open to reviving federal control over state elections through the Voting Rights Act. CNN:

Ben Carson said Thursday that he wants the Voting Rights Act protected, adding he’d like to hear Jeb Bush explain why he does not support its reauthorization. “Of course I want the Voting Rights Act to be protected. Whether we still need it or not or whether we’ve outgrown the need for it is questionable,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t. But I wouldn’t jeopardize it.”

This is precisely what the racial-interest groups and the Democrats want — giving an attorney general like Eric Holder revived power to block state election laws by edict, as they did to Texas and South Carolina voter ID and citizenship verification in Florida and Georgia.

To recap, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forced 16 states to obtain federal approval for every election law change no matter how big or how small.  When a polling placed moved from a school library to a school gym, Washington, D.C., had to approve.  The Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 ruled that such federal oversight upset the constitutional balance by using  circumstances from 50 years ago to justify federal intrusion into state power, and the Court extinguished the oversight.

Since then, the institutional left has sought to reassert federal power because it helps Democrats win elections.  For example, prior to the 2012 presidential race, the Justice Department stopped Florida from checking for noncitizens on the rolls.  In 2009, the DOJ blocked Kinston, North Carolina, from having non-partisan elections because, as the DOJ said, if the word “Democrat” is not next to the name of the candidate, black voters won’t know for whom to vote.

This is the madness that Carson is open to resurrecting.

Perhaps he doesn’t know that the entire Voting Rights Act is still in force, save for the federal pre-approval rule struck down by the Supreme Court.  I’d wager that Jeb Bush and the other top-tier candidates know that.

Carson was already suspiciously naive about the role and agenda of racial-interest groups regarding electoral issues. Earlier this year Carson appeared at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention.

Carson and Sharpton

Carson and Sharpton

The National Action Network is a racial-interest group of the first order, routinely stoking racial tensions and dividing Americans along color lines.  Some have indicated that Carson sought to sway minds, but that explanation only exacerbates the questions surrounding Carson’s understanding of these issues.  Anyone familiar with the National Action Network knows how immune it is to being swayed by opposing viewpoints.

Carson said he “has the same goal” as Sharpton.  Really? Either Carson is frightfully naive, or conservatives should be very concerned about Ben Carson.

Perhaps Carson will walk his comment back about federal control over state elections.  Perhaps he will explain that he didn’t fully understand the issue.  That’s precisely the problem.  Being receptive to empowering bureaucrats to block state election laws is a nonstarter for constitutional conservatives, especially ones who have been paying attention to the abuses of Eric Holder’s Justice Department.