Last night on CNN, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a taste of his own medicine when legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told him the truth about the draconian voter ID laws he has pushed that have made Kansas the ninth-hardest state in which to vote.
Kobach, who is currently running for governor of Kansas, has continued his streak of voter suppression despite a court ruling last summer against his proof of citizenship law that forced him to go back to law school as part of his punishment. Just this past month, he moved the only polling place in Dodge City outside the city limits to make it harder for its majority-Latino population to vote. The ACLU has announced plans to sue Kobach for the fifth time over this misuse of power (for a chart outlining their previous four lawsuits, click here.)
In a debate over Trump's proposed executive order to strike birthright citizenship out of the 14th Amendment, Toobin explained to host Anderson Cooper that there's no way Trump can do this, something that even conservatives like Paul Ryan agree on. Kobach argued otherwise:
"A person who is here temporarily, and certainly a person who is here illegally..," he said, "is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States...[the 14th Amendment] was never intended to be, 'if you’re born here and no other criterion is met, you get to become a citizen.'"
When Cooper reminded Kobach about the results of last summer's lawsuit, he said that the decision was being appealed, and spun a web of legal jargon directed at both Cooper and Toobin in an attempt to prove precedent for his side. Toobin, who has no tolerance for BS, cut to the chase and said that Kobach "has devoted his career to stopping black people and poor people from voting."
"That is an outrageous accusation," Kobach retorted, looking like he was about to do a spit take.
"Well, it's completely true," Toobin rebutted.
Kobach then said that "when this question is polled, the vast majority of African Americans have proof of photo ID" as a way of shutting down Toobin. But this statement doesn't hold water either. Multiple studies have proven that voter ID laws discriminate against people of color, and for Kobach not to realize that is worse than just feigning ignorance: it is an excuse for him to continue doing exactly what he has done his entire career, as Toobin reminded him:
"It is a completely true accusation because, Kris, your whole career … that’s why you had that whole phony voter suppression commission that was such a preposterous joke…that it just disbanded because it couldn’t prove your claim that voter fraud is a problem in this country. Your problem is that some people vote for Democrats, and you want to stop that by establishing voter requirements."
Kobach currently finds himself in a dead heat with Democrat Laura Kelly to become his state's next governor, and if he wins, Kansans can expect more of the same from him. Fortunately, many of them are working hard to ensure his defeat. "I’m glad we’re having a respectful argument here," he said before Cooper changed the subject. "This is so good for the viewers to have this."
He's correct - but not for the reasons he thinks.