Joe Scarborough should pay attention to his own network

Voting rightsMaybe MSBNC personality Joe Scarborough was just trying to play dumb on his “Morning Joe” show this morning in order to spur controversy and debate. Let’s hope so. Because if the man really is as uninformed as he appeared while making a series of stunningly off-the-mark comments about North Carolina’s new monster voter suppression law, he needs to think seriously about finding another line of work.

The comments came during a mind-numbing, seven-minute exchange between Scarborough, his co-host Mika Brzezinski and Politico’s Mike Allen.  During the segment, Scarborough kept repeating the right-wing prevarication that critics are wrongfully calling Pay McCrory a “racist” because North Carolina’s new voting law is really just a modest little measure that simply requires voters to show a photo ID to vote — a requirement that should be no problem for everyone to comply with.

As has been documented repeatedly, however, the new voter ID requirement is a hell of a lot more than just a modest little change in the law. It is, in fact, a potentially huge barrier to hundreds of thousands of people — people who unlike Scarborough — don’t hop on planes or rent videos at stores at which they are unknown on a regular basis.

But more to the point, of course, is the fact that North Carolina’s new law does much, much more that simply require a photo ID to vote. As Scarborough’s MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow explained in great detail just last week, North Carolina’s new election laws are about suppressing voters who are thought likely to vote Democratic (i.e. people of color, poor  people and young people) in lots of new ways. Indeed, they’re about changing the electoral dynamics in this narrowly-divided state so that it will remain safely conservative for years to come. 

And if Scarborough thinks that’s an exaggeration, he ought to check out this post on The Maddow Blog from earlier today in which Steve Benen quotes far-right grande dame Phyllis Schlafly from an article she authored for the certifiably nuts World Net Daily in which she freely admits the true goal of the new law in North Carolina:

“The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that ‘early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.’

The Obama technocrats have developed an efficient system of identifying prospective Obama voters and then nagging them (some might say harassing them) until they actually vote. It may take several days to accomplish this, so early voting is an essential component of the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.”

Got that? Perhaps Joe simply hadn’t had enough morning joe and missed the memo, but the far right is now bragging openly about what the new voter suppression laws in North Carolina are all about. And if the far right advocates aren’t going to be bothered to repeat their silly and dishonest talking points, you’d think people like Scarborough would be embarrassed to do so for them.


  1. Joy Dragland

    August 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    You still never cited specific items in this article regarding the NC law that makes it more than requiring a picture ID to vote other than another article that only states a reduction in time for the early voting, which is a ridiculous practice to begin with. The other claim that it is biased in the linked article is that there are people who have no state issued ID. One trip to your local DMV can take care of this. Sure the DMV is a hassle, but it isn’t a stretch for anyone to have an ID. How do these people open bank accounts, or if no bank account, how do they cash checks or conduct any other business without picture ID? That is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. It amounts to laziness, plain and simple. State IDs only require proof of residence and birth. I don’t see how this is a real “suppression”. State IDs are open to anyone who wants it and has the proper documentation to prove they are a resident of the state. Give me a break.

  2. Ricky Leung

    August 28, 2013 at 9:49 am

    From “Of Republicans and Race Cards: Why I Used to Believe That Voter ID Laws Really Were Just Common Sense” http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175604/

    “The Safety Valve

    Another key reason why Republican voters see no problem with these laws is their big safety valve: if you don’t have an ID, well, then, be responsible and go get one!

    If, however, Republican voters are generally unaware of the high frequency of minorities, the poor, and the elderly lacking IDs, they are blissfully ignorant of the real costs of getting an ID. Yes, the ID itself is free for the indigent (to comport with the 24th Amendment’s ban on poll taxes), but the documents one needs to get a photo ID aren’t, and the prices haven’t been reduced. Lost your naturalization certificate? That’ll be $345. Don’t have a birth certificate because you’re black and were born in the segregated south? You have to go to court.

    Similarly, Republican voters — and perhaps most others — tend not to be aware of how hard it can be to get an ID if you live in a state where DMV offices are far away or where they simply aren’t open very often. One can only hope that would-be voters have access to a car or adequate public transportation, and a boss who won’t mind if they take several hours off work to go get their ID, particularly if they live in, say, the third of Texas counties that have no ID-issuing offices at all.

    I doubt that most Republican voters know that some Republican officials are taking steps to make it even harder to get that ID. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, to take an example, signed a strict voter ID law and then made a move to start closing DMV offices in areas full of Democrats, while increasing office hours in areas full of Republicans — this in a state in which half of blacks and Hispanics are estimated to lack a driver’s license and a quarter of its DMV offices are open less than one day per month. (Sauk City’s is open a whopping four times a year.) Somehow I doubt that this is primarily about saving money.”

  3. Jack

    August 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    The name on your voter registration card has to match the name on your state issues ID. Other wise no vote. How many will be cut off guard? Time will tell.

  4. Steve

    August 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Voter fraud disenfranchises all registered voters. Maybe our efforts should be placed on providing easy and free access to photo IDs just like the way most states offer multiple options to register to vote in the first place. Heck, my state lets you register to vote at the DMV.

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