Hillary Clinton has taken an sudden and unquenchable interest in voters’ rights.
Now, it’s not that voter rights isn’t an important issue. It is. In Chicago, we have such an expansive view of voter rights that your status as a zombie is absolutely immaterial. Across the country, the battle between Voter ID requirements and the Motor Voter law which makes it almost impossible to police for voter fraud, has been raging since the late 2000s, and with some success. Republican states, many on the east coast, have established voter identification laws which require a state-issued form of ID to process a matching ballot. For Democrats, this is both threatening and an excellent PR angle with which to hammer Republicans over minority voting rights, claiming that state IDs are expensive and difficult to obtain, especially when you are on a restrictive or part-time work schedule and rely on public transportation.
Either way, both parties have made minimal, but significant impacts on the voter landscape. Where they’ve really sung, though, is turning voter ID or lack thereof into a wedge issue to court certain specific demographics. And like any cynical Democrat willing to trade on knowing what’s best for poor people, Hillary Clinton has no intention of abandoning the opportunity to use voters rights as a wedge issue in to the minority community, where she’s viewed, rightly, with some skepticism.
At the New York Times today, Maggie Haberman and Chozick have an important article on a legal campaign being undertaken by “Democrats allied with Hillary Rodham Clinton” to challenge a welter of voting restrictions enacted by Republican legislatures around the country.
To make a relatively long story short, the idea is twofold: to get enough litigation underway so that friendly judges can perhaps intervene to suspend or modify some of these restrictions during the 2016 election cycle, and to identify HRC (who is expected to speak on this subject at Texas Southern University tomorrow) with an issue of particular concern to the minority voters she needs to hang onto in order to replicate the “Obama Coalition” in the general election.
She’s right to try. The voter landscape is very different from what it was in 2008. Things have changed not just in how people vote, but why, and, for that matter, whom. The demographics of the voter community skew younger, less white and slightly more liberal – all crowds Hillary Clinton is having a hard time rounding up. The good news is, of course, that Clinton is as inauthentic on voters rights as she is on anything else, so it’s unlike to draw much more than a cursory acknowledgement, for now at least.