Seth Meyers is proving to be one of the smartest and funniest of the late-night, political comedians. He has taken his mock-news anchor persona from Saturday Night Live and made it a central feature of his NBC Late, Late Show. And last night’s outing is one of the best examples of why it’s working so well.
Meyers “A Closer Look” segment took on the subject of voter ID (video below) with the opening premise that “Voting levels in the U.S. are already among the lowest in the industrialized world,” with slightly more than half of eligible Americans participating in the democratic process. That compares to some other democracies like Sweden where the participation rate is over eighty percent.
The problem, as Meyers sees it, is that rather than trying to improve things many states are passing laws that make it “harder, not easier” to vote. It is not coincidental that those states are run by Republican governors and/or legislatures that have clear partisan agendas. And the impact of these laws can result in the difference “between President Hillary Clinton and glorious beloved leader, Donald Trump, all praise to him and his magnificent hands.”
The segment spelled out how these laws specifically make it harder for low-income residents and people of color to obtain the newly required photo IDs. He cited as an example a 94 year old North Carolina woman who was put through an absurd obstacle course that included ten trips to the DMV and over 200 miles of commuting. All of this to allegedly prevent a suspicious nonagenarian from scamming a North Carolinian whistle-stop out of a single vote.
Meyers correctly observes that the only fraud associated with the anti-voting laws is the purported reason for their existence. The law’s defenders say they are trying to stop voter impersonation – a crime that nobody is committing. Enacting laws to prohibit crimes that aren’t occurring is, as Meyers said, like saying “We’re not sure you’re gonna be on The Batchelor, but you should start taking Valtrex anyway.” Had the law been in effect since 2000 it would have prevented thirty-one possibly improper voters out of more than two billion cast. However, at the same time, it would have kept hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters from casting ballots.
In one particularly egregious example of voter disenfranchisement, Meyers cited an Alabama law that resulted in the closure of DMV offices in mostly rural counties. The secretary of state promised that he would offset that loss of access by dispatching a mobile unit to provide IDs and register the estimated 250,000 voters that didn’t have the IDs made necessary by the new law. He said that the mobile unit would be sent to festivals, schools, churches, and even Walmarts. But when asked how many IDs the unit issued last year he answered, “only twenty-nine.” Out of 250,000. To which Meyers quipped that the unit must actually have been sent to empty lots, swamps, abandoned mineshafts, and Radio Shacks.
The issue of voter suppression is one that is too often ignored by the so-called liberal media. But it is one of the most harmful initiatives being carried out by conservative politicians with the support of right-wing media. Fox News, of course, is leading the way in promoting the false narrative of imaginary voter fraud. For instance, Bill O’Reilly has been fear mongering for years that lax rules for registration are threatening to let “illegal aliens” take over the country. It’s a lie that he and others at Fox are continuing to push on their dimwitted cult of viewers.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.