Home / Culture and Society / Republican Strawmen, Yellow Journalism, and the GOP’s Continued Voter Suppression Campaign

Republican Strawmen, Yellow Journalism, and the GOP’s Continued Voter Suppression Campaign

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A few days ago an article appeared on BC decrying alleged voter intimidation by Democrats. The word “alleged” is included in the previous sentence because the author presents only third-hand accounts of said intimidation, to wit:

In contrast, numerous incidents of abuse have been documented by poll workers. Poll watchers are certified by and may only represent a candidate or a party, but many who received their training from True the Vote are reporting shocking violations of law as well as harassment. These workers have filed hundreds of incident reports for unlawful activity in the polls.

Are there links to these incident reports? Are there links to videos or audio recordings or interviews of victims conducted by reputable news agencies? Is there anything in the article that gives credence to the accusations in the paragraph quoted above?

No. But please notice that in the reference provided by the author there was no allegation whatsoever of physical abuse (or even any proof as to who was committing said abuse in the first place)…but the author includes in his article this accusation:

In fact, poll watchers maintain that they have been physically attacked and intimidated by Democrat activists at the polling locations.

Not only is there no actual evidence of any abuse whatsoever in the reference provided, nor is there any evidence shown concerning who allegedly committed the abuse, but the author even added an accusation that was never a part of the accusatory article that he uses as a reference!

The “voter fraud” accusation has been a meme of the Right for decades…and it is largely unfounded. Two years ago I issued a still-unanswered challenge to the BC conservatives that for every fraudulent vote made by a Democrat or as a result of ACORN, I would provide evidence for a thousand people (always in majority-Democratic districts) who were disenfranchised due to GOP-supported voter caging efforts. “Voter caging,” for those not familiar with the term, is:

…the practice of sending mail to addresses on the voter rolls, compiling a list of the mail that is returned undelivered, and using that list to purge or challenge voters’ registrations on the grounds that the voters on the list do not legally reside at their registered addresses. Supporters of voter caging defend the practice as a means of preventing votes cast by ineligible voters. Voter caging, however, is notoriously unreliable. If it is treated (unjustifiably) as the sole basis for determining that a voter is ineligible or does not live at the address at which he or she registered, it can lead to the unwarranted purge or challenge of eligible voters. …Moreover, the practice has often been targeted at minority voters, making the effects even more pernicious. [Brennan Center, “ A Guide to Voter Caging” 6/29/07] (boldface mine)

Does the Right engage in voter caging and voter suppression? Here’s a list of their efforts across the nation. In fact, in a private phone conversation that was secretly recorded, Mark Kirk, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois, told state Republican leaders last week about his plan to send “voter integrity” squads to two predominately African-American neighborhoods of Chicago and two other urban areas of Illinois with significant minority populations “where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat.”

Despite the fact that there is hardly any evidence whatsoever that such organized efforts by the “other side” (the Democrats) exists at all.

In an audio clip from a Tea Party meeting in Wisconsin, “Grandsons of Liberty” leader Tim Dake describes the strategy the [Wisconsin] Tea Party, Republican Party, and Americans for Prosperity plan to implement,

“One of the things we’re going to do is take these addresses that people give and we want to send out a postcard that says, ‘You need to call and confirm this. And if you haven’t called, well then it could get tossed out.’ We’re also looking for when you send these cards out is they’ll come back if it is an undeliverable address.”

In other words, if the recipient tosses out the postcard as junk mail, the poll watcher will challenge the voter…and it is stated in the same article that the poll watchers will have Republican lawyers on hand if there’s any dispute. So try to imagine what will happen when a voter with a high-school education is having to face a poll watcher with a Republican lawyer standing beside him in order to vote!

Having to face a lawyer in order to just cast a vote, people, IS voter intimidation…especially when the Republicans are deliberately sending lawyers ostensibly to prevent voter fraud when there’s NO probable cause to believe that such voter fraud is occurring.

Let’s not forget the “New Black Panther” brouhaha of the 2008 election. You’ve all heard Fox News shouting to the rooftops how this incident was evidence that the Democrats were out to bring democracy to an end…but have you heard of Abigail Thernstrom? She’s the woman President George W. Bush appointed as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In an interview with Politico, she said:

“This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration…My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president.

It’s yet another example of Republicans building a strawman and conservatives being so eager to believe ill about liberals (and minorities) that they engage in no fact-checking whatsoever.

As in elections before, the “voter fraud” and “voter intimidation” meme foisted on us by the Republicans/Tea Party is a strawman of epic scale. There might be a handful of individual voters who do so (like Ann Coulter), but there is no evidence whatsoever that there is ANY organized effort by the Democrats or anyone on the left to commit voting fraud! NO evidence at all!

But there’s a wealth of evidence of deliberate voter suppression by the Right. And why do they do this?

It’s right here, complete with a link to a 40-second video, where Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich gave a speech in 1980 to fifteen thousand Baptist preachers in Dallas. The audience included Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell. During that speech, he says:

I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Last I recall, we should encourage everyone to vote. But the Republicans/Tea Party don’t see it that way. They want to stop us from voting…and at the same time spread fear among their faithful with blatantly false accusations about Democratic voting fraud.

I wish that the author to whom I referred at the beginning of this article would learn to differentiate between accusations and evidence. His article—as with nearly all the Republican accusations about Democratic voting fraud—contains accusations (and even adds to those accusations) but contains NO evidence. He, like most of the rest of the Right, will ignore the fact that there is no evidence to support their accusations…because they like to hear such accusations against those the Republicans oppose, and as a result those accusations are all they need to hear, as long as the accusations support their preconceived notions about the Democratic party and liberals in general.

I will conclude with a definition of “yellow journalism”:

“Yellow journalism or the yellow press is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension ‘Yellow Journalism’ is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.”

Is the practice of believing baseless accusations “yellow journalism?” Of course not. But I strongly suspect that adding to those unsubstantiated accusations and presenting them in an article meant to be taken as fact might well be seen as “yellow journalism.”

YES, there will be those who are greatly offended by this article because of the accusation of “yellow journalism” (and they’ll pay no attention whatsoever to the evidence I presented about the Republican strawman of “voter fraud” and their organized efforts at voter suppression), but if BC authors would take the time to compile the EVIDENCE to support their beliefs, then articles like this wouldn’t be necessary.

Of course, there’s always the danger that if they force themselves to depend on the evidence, they just might find out that they were wrong about more than a few things….

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • I never imagined stumbling across a four page article and finding absolutely nothing to read.

    There is a first time for everything, I suppose.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mr. Cotto –

    I never imagined stumbling across a four page article and finding absolutely nothing to read.

    Ah, yes, I forgot – when the Republicans are caught in voter fraud/intimidation/suppression, the patriotic response is “okay, move along, nothing to see here”.

    But Real Republicans never forget to RAISE HELL like the rest of the Right whenever anyone accuses the Left of voter fraud…even when there is NO EVIDENCE of it at all.

    Such profound hypocrisy!

  • Arch Conservative

    Do you hear that Glenn? It’s the sound of Chopin’s Funeral March being cued all around the country at Democrat candidate headquarters.

    There’s not a damn thing you, your Obamessiah, or the union thugs you’ve thrown in with can do about it.

    Have a nice week!

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    There’s not a damn thing you, your Obamessiah, or

    I do believe that grinning at the early start to Republican over-reaching will do quite well. Enjoy your short-lived political hard on captain weak-assed cliche man.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Tuesday looks to be a triumph for the low-information voter and the corporatists who lead them by the nose.

    But in the end I’m not that worried. Why?

    – Because the average Fox viewer is 65 years old and white.

    – Because the attendance at GOP and Tea Party functions is almost lily-white.

    – Because the GOP and the Tea Party are still largely homophobic and Islamophobic and anybody-who’s-different-from-us-phobic.

    – Because the VAST majority of the under-30 crowd has (unlike the GOP/Tea Party) NO problem with racial/social/cultural/religious/sexual diversity.

    – Because no matter what they think, the GOP/Tea Party are not an immovable object that can ever hope to stand in the way of the irresistible force of the liberalization of mankind as a whole…because look how much more liberal the world is (including America) than we were even just a generation ago.

    The march of history is irresistible. It’s happening…and there is absolutely squat you can do about it. Enjoy your time in power, for it won’t last.

    Oh, and one more thing – if you knew anything about American political history, you’d know that the party that holds the presidency nearly ALWAYS loses seats in the midterm…and the more so in a bad economy.

    That means that if the GOP takes the House but fails to take the Senate, then – historically speaking – this midterm will effectively be an example of the overall weakening of conservative politics. That’s not spin, Arch – that’s the concrete history of American politics.

  • In a perfect world, there would be neither vote fraud or vote suppression. Both are deplorable, but how common are they really? We get exaggerated claims from both sides. Try to discuss it on here, and invariably get yelled at and spat upon, figuratively speaking.

  • You would think Arch had never been through an election cycle before. Democrats with long memories are accustomed to disappointment — at the presidential level in the 70s and 80s [and the exasperating ‘tie’ of 2000], and in congressional cycles periodically since 1994 [the Senate doesn’t tend to swing so widely and wildly].

    So if we lose the house, we’ll take it in stride. The fact that voters don’t actually like Republicans better that Democrats — somewhat less, even — could be seen as comforting, or as ominous: what will disappointed, unhappy voters do next time, if they still dislike both parties? Elect Jesse Ventura?

  • Arch Conservative

    Whatever you need to tell yourself to feel better about tomorrow Glenn……….

    You’re right handy I’m voting straight GOP and I really can’t even stand any of the bastards. I hate them less, much less than the Dems but hate them none the less. My joy comes not in seeing the GOP gain power but the leftist moonbats lose it.

    The balance of power will most assuredly swing back to the Dems sooner or later. I’m just glad that for now they won’t be allowed to push us into the abyss.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Arch is taking the “crash diet” approach to voting, I see. Good luck with that.

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    My joy comes not in seeing the GOP gain power but the leftist moonbats lose it

    You actually have joy? Aside from calling women cunts? I guess you do learn something new every day.

    The democrats actually had power? That’s news to me too.

    Man, you’re a fuckin’ genius.

  • Arch Conservative

    Glenn…do you have it in you to give us a “yes we can,” before you lay your head on your pillow tonight?

    For old time sake?


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Reread what I said about the irresistible march of history – it’s all there for those with eyes to see. America – and the world – is FAR more liberal than we were a generation ago, and even America’s Jim Crow era was much more liberal than a few generations before that!

    And you know what, Arch? This isn’t anything new – I’ve been saying the SAME doggone thing ever since before Obama got elected in the first place. So yes, the GOP and the Tea Party will have a measure of power for a while…but in the long view of history they’re becoming less of a rock of stability and more of a speed bump in the progress of human civilization.

    And one more thing – bear all this in mind and thirty years hence think back to this conversation ‘tween thee and me…and (bar massive worldwide disaster like runaway global warming or some kind of far right dictatorial coup in America), you will see precisely what I meant –

    – and you’ll probably hate me for it.