Democrats and the activist left have managed to achieve several victories in the last several weeks — while almost entirely ignoring the issue itself. Concurrent with a resurgence of interest in Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance, given the premiere of Laura Poitras’s inevitably hagiographical documentary about Snowden and his crusade, federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court have quietly struck down two of the nation’s most flagrant Republican attempts to disenfranchise minority voters.
–The Supreme Court last week blocked a 2011 Wisconsin law that required photo-IDs at polling places. Naturally, elderly and minority voters without the means to attain an ID would be forbidden from voting.
–Regarding the voter ID law in Texas, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”
In spite of nearly zero chatter on the left, these are significant victories for voting rights. But knowing how the Republican establishment’s disenfranchisement effort is such an obvious example of the GOP abusing the law in order to directly prevent Democrats from voting — the real voter fraud in America — the left seems more concerned about surveillence and, I don’t know, Obama personally disappointing them, than a roster of laws that directly impact the very integrity of our democracy. Case in point: the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week showing that ID laws in Kentucky and Tennessee reduced voter turnout by as much as three percent, all in the name of making sure that the 0.0000001 percent chance of fraud is thwarted.
This should be red meat for the left, but it’s mostly been ignored. Why? It’s difficult to know for sure, but it could be that issues like NSA surveillance impact the mostly white, male, financially well-off liberal intelligentsia — those who can afford the latest iPhone and who have ample time to malinger on Facebook all day. Yes, the “p” word. Privilege. It’s unlikely that John Cook or Pierre Omidyar will have too much trouble producing a photo ID at the polls next month, but Snowden’s NSA documents, on the other hand, are big business.
Inadvertently or not, there’s a significant chunk of activists on the left who are ostracizing minorities, and they simply don’t seem to care. Prioritizing NSA metadata or “Standing With Rand” over neo-Jim Crow laws, while vilifying the first African-American president as a baby killer and war criminal, the activist left isn’t doing itself any favors. Then again, as we observe the flailing and misappropriation of resources by the activist left, perhaps minorities and other groups are better off without their help.