WOS has some very dear friends in North Carolina, and we have been distressed by the state’s descent into the toilet following the purchase of the NC General Assembly and Governor’s Office by Art Pope. Bill Maher said it well on Real Time:
“Take every crazy angry idea your drunk right-wing uncle mumbles at Thanksgiving, turn it into a law, and that’s North Carolina today.”
And just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, Governor McAsshole has signed into NC law the worst voter suppression law in the country. As reported by the Democratic Governors Association, the law would eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, eliminates one week of early voting, prevents counties from extending voting hours due to long lines or other extraordinary circumstances, scratches college ID cards and other forms of identification from the very short list of acceptable state-issued photo IDs, and outlaws certain types of voter registration drives.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow provides additional context:
“Unfortunately for North Carolinians, the governor has no idea what he’s talking about. (In fact, as of two weeks ago, he literally didn’t know — McCrory was praising the legislation despite not having read it, and couldn’t answer basic questions about proposals he’d already publicly endorsed.)
The governor kept using the phrase “common sense,” but when it comes to voting rights, I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.
As we discussed a few weeks ago, we’ve seen plenty of “war on voting” measures over the last few years, but North Carolina Republicans pushed the envelope in new and offensive directions. Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said during the legislative fight, “This is the single worst bill we have seen introduced since voter suppression bills began sweeping the country.”
The scope is simply breathtaking — the new state law imposes voter-ID restrictions never needed before in North Carolina, narrows the early-voting window, places new restrictions on voter-registration drives, makes it harder for students to vote, ends same-day registration during the early voting period, and makes it easier for vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters.
And why on earth would Republicans consider all of this necessary? Was there a widespread outbreak of voter fraud that necessitated the most sweeping new voter-suppression tactics seen anywhere in the nation? Of course not. For one thing, since 2000, there are exactly two incidents — not two percent, literally two individuals — involving suspected voter impersonation in North Carolina, out of several million votes cast. You’re far more likely to find someone struck by lightning in the state than find an improperly-cast ballot.
For another, many of the measures signed into law today — including narrowing the early-voting window — have nothing to do with improving the integrity of the process or preventing fraud, and everything to do with making it more difficult for people to participate in their own democracy.
These are not “scare tactics” from the “extreme left”; these are simply facts.
Up until fairly recently, there’s no way North Carolina’s new voter-suppression campaign would be approved by the Justice Department, but after five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ did not have an opportunity to consider the proposal before it was signed into law.
Attorney General Eric Holder has already challenged new measures in Texas under the remaining elements of the VRA; we’ll know soon enough whether North Carolina is added to the mix.”
Again, Bill Maher had it right:
“Now, people want to know, how did this happen? How did a state where Democrats well outnumber Republicans, a state that was trending blue, where Obama won in 2008, go completely insane? It looked like the knuckle-draggers had been defeated. And were dying off and being replaced by the kind of educated young urban professionals that John Edwards hits on at TGI Fridays.
What happened in North Carolina? Well, his name is Art Pope. That’s what happened. And he’s kind of the Koch brother from another mother. He’s super-rich, super-anti-union, anti-tax, anti-big government, thinks government should have absolutely no role in helping the less fortunate, who should earn their money the same way he did — by inheriting it from their dad.
You know, until recently, rich assholes like this would just use their money to buy a Ferrari and splurge on hookers, and then kill them. And that’s the America I like to remember. But in 2010, the Supreme Court issued their infamous Citizens United ruling, which raised the amount people could give to political campaigns from a few thousand to infinity.
It’s why I was able to give Obama’s PAC $1 million bucks. It’s why Sheldon Adelson was able to spend $150 million against Obama. And it’s what has allowed a guy like Art Pope on the local level to hijack an entire state and impose the laws he wants. Crazy laws that 4/5s of the people there don’t want. But it doesn’t matter what the people want, it’s what Art Pope wants.
In the post-Citizens United world, it’s no longer our ideas versus their ideas. Or even our base versus their base. It’s our super-rich versus their super-rich. And theirs are winning. Which means ours have got to get in the game.”