The Politics Of Voter Suppression: Defending And Expanding Americans’ Right To Vote, by Tova Andrea Wang
The most dishonest words in a book that is full of them are towards the beginning in the ritualistic claim that this book is non-partisan. It is not. It is difficult to overstate the level of prevarication that the author of this book engages in, given that the author invents out of whole cloth a nonexistent constitutional right to vote, and makes a faulty premise at the basis of her argument a supposed Voter Inclusion Principle that blindly states that the more people involved in voting, the better. The author seems to be of the opinion that the more voter participation, the healthier our republic. She repeats the canard that is common among progressives of her ilk that our nation is a democracy, when it is no such thing–it is a republic, deliberately designed to reduce immediate voter pressure on leadership and to require slow change over time, encouraging frequent oscillation and the avoidance of massive and sudden change in our political order. Yet the Election of 1840 was among the most vapid and idiotic of our entire history, nearly entirely devoid of any sort of substantive campaigning, yet about 80% of the electorate voted. Likewise, there was a huge degree of voter passion and participation in the Election of 1860, but the extreme partisan divide ended up nearly destroying our republic. The author also manages on the one hand to accuse religious leaders of coercing old people to vote Republican in absentee ballots while seeking to downplay the fraudulent behaviors of “community organizers” like ACORN. The only place where this book is nonpartisan is in the vain imagination of its author and in the equally vain imaginations of her like-minded comrades.
In terms of its organization and contents, the author writes in a more or less chronological fashion, never varying her strident and partisan tone, or her weasel-words appealing for both parties to seek different ways of increasing voter involvement, even when it appears that many of those voters are not particularly desirable participants–incarcerated felons or ex-felons, people who do not speak English well, the transient population, and so on. The first chapter introduces the flawed premise of the author called the voter inclusion principle. After this the author discusses the early years of voter suppression, namely everything before the mid-1900’s, with secret ballots and literacy tests and poll taxes and the like. Then there is a chapter looking at the consequences of the Voting Rights Act, another chapter about the shift in voter suppression to Republicans in the author’s judgment, the battle over voting registration at the DMV, the fallout of the election of 2000, the upswing of voting in 2008, with all of the fraudulent implications, the effects of excluding various populations from elections, where the author engages in all kinds of conspiracy theories to state that many elections were stolen from virtuous Democratic candidates because of Republican efforts to keep felons and ex-felons from voting, and some closing advice on how to increase voter participation, many of which involve government mandates and so on. At least the author is consistently leftist, so as to have a reliable bias.
Throughout the book the author makes all kinds of recommendations in the absence of firm data, with a clear partisan bias in what stories of voter fraud she believes and what stories she doesn’t, without any seeming concern for cost. Apparently, and this makes sense given her leftist politics, she believes the American taxpayer to be some sort of genie that should pay all kinds of money to add lots of paid poll watchers in minority heavy neighborhoods where volunteers cannot be found, and to make sure that everyone is registered to vote whether they want to or not. It is clear that an author like this has an audience, namely around fellow people who share her bias. This is the sort of book that carries with it its own recommendation, in that nearly everything the other promotes is likely to be a bad idea, and a lot of what they criticize is a good idea. If we are to expand the privilege of voting and its frequency, we need to do a much better job of voter education, not least so that people who vote do not have the idea that they have a right to the possession that other people have acquired from their own hard work and skill. The best way to do that is to make it far more difficult to pass laws, especially administrative laws, as this author has mischief in mind, and socialist aims, that are clearly attractive to a certain demographic of demagogues.