Today’s quite reasonable SCOTUS decision on the Voting Rights Act pointed out that it’s long past time for Congress to revisit the criteria for requiring districts to obtain federal “pre-clearance” for changes to their voting procedures. The existing formula, included in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, was written almost 50 years ago. The state of race relations has advanced considerably since the mid-1960s. It’s time to reassess which districts should be presumed guilty of organized efforts to suppress the minority vote.
The Left lost its collective mind over the decision, wailing that the return of slavery was at hand. Minnesota state representative Ryan Winkler, a Democrat, declared on Twitter that the 5-4 majority for this decision was nothing but “four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas,” by which he meant black Justice Clarence Thomas.
Yes, that’s right, our tolerant Democrat friend just called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.” He went on to declare that “if Virginia wants a battle flag back from their war to defend slavery, they can march to Minnesota and take it.”
Confronted with online outrage over this comment, the cowardly Winkler backpedaled madly, claimed he didn’t know what “Uncle Tom” meant, and finally tried deleting the offensive Tweet.
There’s lots more crap like this pouring out of the Left over today’s Supreme Court decision, for four very big reasons:
1. The Left absolutely hates sensible voter ID laws, and the Voting Rights Act was the club used by Attorney General Eric Holder to beat them down.
2. Liberals are convinced black voters angry about voter ID laws surged to the polls in 2012 and helped put Obama’s re-election bid over the top. They might be right about that; some areas with voter ID laws experienced higher minority ballot activity, which puts the lie to the “voter ID as racist vote suppression” canard, but also presents a compelling political argument for the Left to express very loud outrage on the subject. (Last year, they were comparing even voter ID cards issued free of charge to “poll taxes.”) They need something to rally around in 2014 and 2016, and they could use a nice distraction today.
3. The Left derives a great deal of political power and money from keeping American race relations frozen in 1965. The idea that we’ve made progress since then is anathema to “progressives.” They’ll fight such progress tooth and nail, every chance they get, for as long as they can. If nothing else, they need to portray gains against institutional racism as fragile – something America could lose in a heartbeat, if the massive racial grievance industry doesn’t work night and day to protect it. This seems increasingly silly to their fellow citizens in 2013, who may find themselves wondering how any electoral district could dream of getting away with a truly discriminatory law along the lines of a true poll tax, but it’s an article of transcendent faith on the Left. Never mind the actual Black Panthers standing outside a polling place with truncheons; hypothetical Klansmen are but days away from replacing them.
4. Congress could easily create a new set of Section 4 criteria and re-energize the Voting Rights Act, the same way the Congress of 1964 did. There will be great pressure from parts of the liberal coalition to do exactly that. And the prospect of such a political struggle terrifies Democrats. Who wants to be the red-state Dem who tells his voters, “Yeah, you guys are still a bunch of knuckle-dragging racists, so I think our district needs to be covered by those pre-clearance requirements?”