Democrats in DC are fighting back against states with new laws requiring identification before voting, including a call to boycott Coca Cola, Walmart and others that financially support the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a leading organization pushing for voter ID laws.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., is leading an effort by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to get government-issued IDs into the hands of millions of liberal voters who don’t currently have one. “We are organizing. We are not agonizing. We have staffed up,” Clyburn announced. The South Carolina congressman has also compared such voter ID requirements to “Jim Crow” laws and worries that the Supreme Court “as it is presently constituted” will rule in favor of the laws if challenged.
Color of Change, a left-leaning black advocacy group once home to Van Jones, kicked off its boycott efforts Wednesday:
For years, the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting — and now some of America’s biggest companies are helping them do it. These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a right wing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC’s voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding right wing agenda to weaken the Black vote. Major companies that rely on business from Black folks shouldn’t be involved in suppressing our vote. Please join us in demanding that these companies stop funding ALEC.
The group also has tried to link ALEC with the Trayvon Martin shooting case.
(Not-so) Coincidentally, the boycott kicked off with the simultaneous release of a report by the Center for American Progress (another former Van Jones employer) which condemns state voter ID laws, echoes Clyburn’s racially charged rhetoric and accuses conservative legislators of “conspiring to disenfranchise millions of Americans”:
Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.
In another coincidence, CAP’s report specifically points to ALEC and the targets of Color of Change’s boycott in making its case:
Unfortunately, the rapid spread of these proposals in states as different as Florida and Wisconsin is not occurring by accident. Instead, many of these laws are being drafted and spread through corporate-backed entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as uncovered in a previous Center for American Progress investigative report. Detailed in that report, ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures.
While liberals insist Republicans are only tackling the issue of voter ID to disenfranchise voters, the Democratic Party has a significant vested interest in ensuring that the poor, minorities and others who are less likely to have an ID are still able to vote freely.
A full decade before Motor-Voter laws required states to register voters at welfare offices were enacted, NAACP official Joe Madison explained why: “When people are standing in line to get cheese and butter or unemployment compensation, you don’t have to tell them how to vote,” said Madison, now a radio talk show host in Washington, D.C. ”They know how to vote.”
This logic wasn’t lost on community organizer-in-chief Barack Obama during his days working for ACORN’s Project Vote: “All our people must know that politics and voting affects their lives directly,” the future president said in 1992. ”If we’re registering people in public housing, for an example, we talk about aid cuts and who’s responsible.”
Radical university professors Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven openly discussed their blueprint to fundamentally transform the United States by utilizing what they referred to as “The Weight of the Poor” — swamping the welfare rolls and encouraging cash-strapped states to forgo the federalist system and embrace a philosophy of dependency on the federal government.
It seems modern Democrats have adapted their election strategy to Benjamin Franklin’s past pronouncement: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”