Shorter MSNBC: Voter I.D. Laws Are Racist, Even Though They Seem Perfectly Logical

Once again, MSNBC has continued to prop up Rev. Al Sharpton’s racist conspiracies that state legislatures led by the GOP are deliberately suppressing minority voters through new voter ID laws.

On Friday’s episode of Jansing & Co., radio host and MSNBC substitute host Michael Smerconish led a left-wing attack on the GOP.  The panelists including Pennsylvania AFL-CIO chief Richard Bloomingdale asserted that a person's signature is sufficient identification to vote in the United States. Indeed, both Smerconish and Bloomingdale insisted they have voted that way for years in Pennsylvania with no problems.  [See video below.  MP3 audio here.] 

But as it stands right now, current Pennsylvania laws requires voter who "appear[s] at a polling place for the first time" to bring photo ID with him or her to the polling place. If he or she lacks a photo ID, any number of "non-photo identification that includes your name and address" will suffice.

The discussion continued with Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com claiming that, "they went at the things Democrats tend to do, early voting we’ll just cut that down. or requiring an I.D., things that tend to hit voters that don't vote for them."

Smerconish, no novice to politics, demonstrated his ignorance on the subject less then thirty seconds later when he made the following ridiculous comments:


    I think that there are isolated incidents of voter fraud that get blown out of proportion. One of them happened in my hometown in the '08 cycle on election day, involving the so-called ‘New Black Panthers.’ Truly two knuckleheads in my view looking to get on tv and not to intimidate anybody, but Matt Drudge blew it way out of proportion. Rush Limbaugh then touted it and all the sudden, in the heartland, there was a concern that the election was being stolen.


One can only imagine the outrage Smerconish and other members of the liberal media would express, and rightly so, if the story had been two white rednecks standing outside a polling place in say Selma, Alabama, spouting nonsense and intimidating voters.

Democratic strategist Krystal Ball chimed in by claiming that, “when you look at the fact that 25 percent of voting age African-American voters do have the government ID that they are requiring, it becomes quite clear that this is an effort at voter suppression and a cynical Machiavellian political tactic.”

At no point did anyone on the panel consider that perhaps it would be more constructive for liberals to seek to expand access to photo IDs rather than kill a sensible law.

Indeed, what was ironic at the end of the debate were comments by Reid who admitted that, “I think that people think it's logical that you should show an ID.. I think it's hard to argue with the logic of that when you have for so many other aspects of ordinary life.”

Liberals like Reid cannot hide from the fact that logically one should show an ID  when one votes, but of course like any good liberal has to explain to the audience the racist undertones in voter ID laws that they cannot see without the help of folks like herself and the liberal news networks like MSNBC that endorse their argument.

Below is the relevant transcript.


JANSING & Co.
03/09/2012
10:03 a.m.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: So let's bring in our panel now. Richard Bloomingdale is the president of the Pennsylvania ALF-CIO. Joy-Ann Reid is the managing editor of Thegrio.com and Krystal Ball is an MSNBC contributor and Democratic strategist. Richard, let me begin with a fellow Pennsylvanian, when I go to vote, sir, in Montgomery County, I sign my name. Is that enough of a precaution? Is that enough of a legitimacy check in our state?

RICHARD BLOOMINGDALE: Absolutely, Michael. And thank you for having me on the show. You know, for, god, years it's been plenty. Our judges of elections know us and recognize us and it's all about local involvement, and, you know, we're trying to get to this big brother attitude of let's try to make everybody papers, please, when they walk into their polling place. When I have voted in the same place for 17 years and before that 20 years. My judge of elections knows me. A signature is fine. There is no voter fraud as Reverend Al Sharpton mentioned. This is about failed ideas. This is about the right wing --

SMERCONISH: Well Joy-Ann, that's the way it is at my polling place as well. You know, they know me because I'm a blowhard but they also know me because I've lived in the neighborhood for a long, long time. In a neighborhood that has much more transition, I'm sure they don't get to know folks, and I wonder whether ballot security measures are sufficient at present? Somewhere in there, there's the proper balance.

JOY-ANN REID: Well you know what, The thing is the reason that I'm cynical about these attempts to sort of stop so-called voter fraud, I lived in Florida for 14 years. There's no place more transitional than that, people come and go, but when the Republicans in Florida decided to pass voter i.d. laws, they didn't get at the one place that there ever has been fraud, which is absentee balloting, but absentee balloting happens to be where Republicans are strongest so they completely ignored the potential for absentee ballot voter fraud and they went at the things Democrats tend to do, early voting we’ll just cut that down. or requiring an i.d. , things that tend to hit voters that don't vote for them.

SMERCONISH: Krystal, I think that there are isolated incidents of voter fraud that get blown out of proportion. One of them happened in my hometown in the '08 cycle on election day, involving the so-called ‘New Black Panthers.’ Truly two knuckleheads in my view looking to get on tv and not to intimidate anybody, but Matt Drudge blew it way out of proportion. Rush Limbaugh then touted it and all the sudden, in the heartland, there was a concern that the election was being stolen. I guess my point is, it steams there's a lack of data to prove there's a problem that warrants such widespread change.

KRYSTAL BALL: Yeah. As you're pointing out, it's been absolute utter political propaganda, and there's another reason to be cynical other than the reasons that Joy-Ann was pointing out. If you look at which states have really pushed these efforts, and it goes way beyond just a government i.d. , they're attacking this process at every stage from voter registration to when you can vote, as you said the early voting, to then actually being able to vote on election day. But if you look at the states that have really pushed these efforts, they are states that have had large growths in minority populations. Places like Florida and Georgia and Texas have been on the front lines, and when you look at the fact that 25% of voting age African-American voters do have the government i.d. that they are requiring, it becomes quite clear that this is an effort at voter suppression and a cynical Machiavellian political tactic.

SMERCONISH:  Richard, I want legitimate voters out there and voting. One of the things I'm most proud of is I've never missed an election in my life. We need more people voting so long as they're legitimate. And I liked hearing  reverend al say to show an i.d. is not objectionable, so long as we are tapering what form of i.d. it might be to the community we are trying to serve.

BLOOMINGDALE: You know, in going back to what Krystal was saying, this is about fear. It’s about the changing status quo.  The folks that have been in charge are losing power and they want to make sure that people don't vote. You know, anytime -- if you erect a fence, if it's a foot, it's still a fence. If it's ten feet it’s harder to get over, but if it’s a foot high it's still a fence. Any kind of attempt to keep people voting is wrong. You're right Michael, America is about inclusion, not exclusion. And we gotta make sure more people vote and have the opportunity to vote. We don't need to be erecting barriers to our seniors and in Pennsylvania it would disenfranchise a disproportionate number of seniors. We saw wall street and Santorum fail –

SMERCONISH: Thank you. Let me ask Krystal Ball a quick question.  How is this playing with “I's"?  How is this playing with independents? I know that folks who are partisan “D's” are saying it’s voter suppression.  The hard core GOP base says oh no, no, no, it's just ballot integrity. And as I like to underscore the power really rests in the hands of independents in my view come November. What are they thinking as they watch this?

BALL: Well, this is my own personal opinion not based on polling, but my sense is that thus far Republicans have done a much better job of messaging on this issue which is why I'm so grateful to people like Reverend Sharpton who are bringing this to the forefront. Because I think this is the single most important issue facing the country. And it's not just in these voter sup...voter i.d. laws. We also see in the push-back against illegal immigration. Ann Coulter said in her CPAC speech, that  if we allow illegal immigrants to become citizens, the whole country will go the way of California and no Republican will be able to get elected again. This is about a broad range of efforts to keep their people at the polls and more Democratic leaning voters out.

SMERCONISH: Joy -Ann, do you concede that thus far on this issue the GOP has done a better imaging job?

REID: Well, I think that people think it's logical that you should show an i.d. I think it's hard to argue with the logic of that when you have for so many other aspects of ordinary life, but I think that what Krystal said is where it gets to. Look, if you're the republican party right now, let's just keep it real, okay? Your base is getting down to primarily white men. You have lost Hispanics because of the messaging on immigration. You have lost African-Americans decades ago for any number of reasons. You are now largely a southern, western party. You're landlocked to certain parts of the United States. So you can grow your -- you can make yourself a national party two ways. You can either get more people to vote Republican and bring more people in, or you can get more of the other team away from the polls and keep them from voting, and right now I think Republicans are playing a very cynical game. They're saying, listen, we can't grow our base, so we're going to try to suppress the other team.

SMERCONISH: Well I think Reverend Sharpton had the right message for "D's" and for "I's," people who are able to be persuaded on this issue, which is to say -- to ask for identification is not offensive, not problematic, but lets be reasonable as to what form of identification that might be.

REID: If you look in Texas, they're saying student i.d’s  –

SMERCONISH: I know, But a gun license works, yeah. End of argument. Richard Bloomingdale, thank you very much. Joy Ann and Krystal stick around.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.