If you can’t persuade, intimidate

The Republican National Committee wants to be freed from a court order forbidding it from engaging in the suppression of the minority vote. A federal judge says no.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

19 thoughts on “If you can’t persuade, intimidate”

  1. "Under the agreement, some election tactics could only be used with court approval, including the creation of voter challenge lists, photographing voters at the polls and posting off-duty police and sheriffs officers at the polls in minority precincts."

    Voter challenge lists prohibited? Why the hell is the judge permitting them to even have poll watchers, then? What are they allowed to do, chew gum?

  2. Not exactly. More like, the RNC wants to be able to prevent voter fraud, and the DNC believes that voter fraud is a necessary tactic to elect Democrats. And a federal judge–a Carter appointee and as far as I can tell a doddering and stubborn fool–issued a confused opinion giving the RNC some of the relief they'd requested.

  3. Republicans have used voter challenge lists in vote caging operations that particularly affect fully eligible registered minority voters. Contrary to Republican claims in this case, the party's incentives in this regard haven't completely disappeared. I very much doubt that the RNC itself thinks poll watchers serve no useful functions except ones involving impermissible uses of voter challenge lists or vote caging; so the party will continue to allocate scarce campaign resources to deploying them. Thomas seems to imply either that Pres. Obama wouldn't have been elected but for voter fraud – that he's in this sense illegitimate – or that the DNC mistakenly doubts its own capacity for success. Which?

  4. Thomas :

    Tens of thousands of perfectly legal voters were denied the right to vote in Florida in 2000 through the magic of Katherine Harris's (illegal) shenanigans purging the voter rolls. And the outcome of the 2000 Presidential election hung on those votes.

    Please point to ten (not ten thousand, just ten) instances of the kind of voter fraud that poll watchers plus challenges have detected or averted.

  5. Poll watchers under the limits this story reveals can't detect or avert squat. And Katherine Harris sent local elections officials a list of names to CHECK, not purge. The local officials who purged without checking were as guilty of malfeasance as the ones who didn't bother checking. Mostly the list was ignored, which is why the Miami Herald had no trouble identifying convicted felons who'd voted in that election.

    How about the military voters the Democratic party managed to disenfranchise by sending absentee ballots out too late to make it back in time?

  6. Brett :

    Please post pointers to evidence for two actual instances of the kind of vote fraud

    that is so frightening to Republican organizations,

    and that we must be so vigilant to prevent.

    Two instances of people found to have actually voted

    when or where not authorized to do so, with fraudulent intent.

    Evidence, please.

  7. Please explain to me how we're supposed to present evidence, when collecting said evidence is essentially illegal.

  8. The persistence of the Republican belief in voter fraud – the idea there could be a scheme requiring one conspirator for each extra vote gotten, and yet no one has ever confessed – continues to amaze.

  9. Brett, are you aware that in Florida 2000 the GOP challenged the overseas absentee ballots of urban minorities for exactly the same lapses they said must be ignored for rural white military absentees?

  10. And, Brett, could you please substantiate your vile claim that anyone tried to delay sending soldiers their ballots? Or is this a figment like the disciplined secretive hordes of fraudulent voters?

  11. The persistence of the Democratic belief that calling up a random sample of people who are listed has having voted absentee in an election, and merely asking them if they really did vote, is "voter harassment" stonkers me, too, so we're even. But Democrats have repeatedly gotten efforts of that sort of basic quality control stopped. I'm equally stunned by the notion that a cop car anywhere on the route to a polling place is "disenfranchisement", but I've heard that one, too.

    Look, I don't think the Republican party has clean hands, and I'll gladly agree that absentee voting is where the rubber really hits the road in voting fraud, but the notion that only one of the major parties is entitled to have poll watchers in precincts that run heavily to the other party is nutso on steroids. And the idea that only one of those parties has any motive to disenfranchise constituencies that vote for the other is, if anything, crazier.

  12. the idea that only one of those parties has any motive to disenfranchise constituencies that vote for the other

    Nice squirm.

    Both parties surely have motive. They're _partisan_.

    Motive is not action.

    Only one party has, over the last quarter-century, accumulated a well-documented (as in legal cases) history of systematic attempts to disenfranchise the voters of the other party.

    And it ain't the Democrats.

    Katherine Harris. J. Kenneth Blackwell. Bradley Schlozman.

    These names mean anything to you?

    I say again : you got nuthin'

  13. Not gonna have anything for a while, I'm having a reaction from the post-surgical antibiotic. Apparently it doesn't interact well with Nyquil.

  14. Brett :

    I'm sorry to hear about your health problems.

    I hope that your surgery went brilliantly.

    Please accept my best wishes for a speedy recovery,

    and may you and yours have the merriest of Christmases.


    PS : and thanks for your postings in this forum.

    I'm too lazy (or cowardly, maybe) to sally into the

    comments section of "conservative" blogs and there

    argue my positions and the facts. I admire your

    persistence and dedication to arguing the

    Republican side here — it allows us to have

    dialogues, arguments, sometimes even debate,

    instead of merely preachers and the choir.

  15. I'm mending. But I can now tell you from personal experience: You don't want to contract bronchitis after a radical prostatectomy. Coughing hurts. Not to mention you've got to change the diapers more often… Foley catheters leak during coughing spells.

    Next week I've got a biopsy scheduled for the totally unrelated tumor they found during my pre-operative physical. Who knows, maybe the prostate cancer saved my life, by causing the other cancer to be discovered early? I suppose that could be considered good luck.

  16. Brett, I sympathize with your surgical operations, and hope that your coughing doesn't lead to a 're-do'.

  17. Good luck, Brett. I don't agree with you very often, but you are a good commenter who mixes it up with people who you disagree with rather than staying in the echo chamber.

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