In the world of politics — at least from a media perspective — more knowledge can often be gained by watching what elected officials do, as opposed to listening to what they say.
For example: We can infer from Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s actions — a farcical play to disqualify the first real challenger he’s had for his Rockingham County seat, Jen Mangrum, by pretending she doesn’t live in the district — that perhaps he has some concerns over the safety of his position in the impending election.
The actions of his cronies in the NC General Assembly in these waning days of the session, however, require a little more unpacking.
As has been their usual custom, House and Senate Republicans have been cutting and pasting last-minute bills and tucking in extraneous amendments in relative isolation from their Democratic counterparts: judicial redistricting (in committee), a controversial farm bill (passed), addressing almost 10,000 backlogged rape kits at the State Crime Lab (a system has been created, but the backlog will have to wait). Like that.
The latest ploy to come down the pike is a bill that adds a voter ID clause to the state constitution. This is something that absolutely cannot be taken at face value. Every effort the state has expended to impose a voter ID law has been thwarted repeatedly by the courts — most recently in May 2017, when the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by state Republicans. This is settled law, and even Supreme Court justices have limits on their patience when it comes to hearing the same case over and over again.
Smart money says it’s a move to increase voter turnout among the deplorables in this election cycle — those who might have been energized by the dumpster fire that is Donald Trump but who might not make it out this November to extend the reign of legacy Republicans like Berger and his ilk… unless it’s going to really piss off liberals and others who understand the world better than they do.
Unlike their repeated efforts at actually passing a voter ID bill, this tactic actually works sometimes.