By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
I was startled and surprised that The Washington Post published the following opinion piece by Henry Olsen. The writer is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C..
He correctly labeled President Joe Biden’s speech this week on voting legislation as demagogic and dangerous. Joe’s remarks are easily debunked by anyone doing grade-school level homework on his claims and comparisons.
I disagree with Olsen’s overly optimistic belief in America’s pristine and fair elections. It’s like hearing Joe Biden argue this week that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shouldn’t interfere in elections because the United States has never done so. I burst out laughing.
Frankly, watching this speech, you could almost hear Joe’s handlers: “When Donald Trump says outrageous things, the middle of the country loves it. Maybe if we fire up Joe’s inflammatory rhetoric, people will love it too!”
Um, no. Poor Joe “Salieri” Biden ends up looking like a desperate old guy with crazy eyes. Nobody who works for a living wants a president egging on a real Civil War.
Here’s Henry Olsen’s column:
“President Biden’s speech on Tuesday was just the latest chapter in the Democratic Party’s reckless attempt to use disputes over voting regulation to bridge its intraparty divisions. As such, it is both demagogic and dangerous.
According to Biden, the right to vote is under assault because of Republican efforts to enact election integrity measures. He called these laws and proposals “an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections, an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are.” He went on to say that the country faced its “most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.” In Biden’s world, there is one party that is committed to democracy — his — and one that is not.
It’s worth looking at what elections will look like under the state rules that he implicitly condemned. Georgia’s new law, for example, has attracted national attention thanks to Democratic howls and is the target of a lawsuit from Biden’s Justice Department for allegedly violating the Voting Rights Act. Given all this, one would expect that thousands — perhaps millions — of people will be denied their ability to vote in next year’s midterms.
That’s simply not true. Every eligible Georgian, regardless of race, will still be able to register to vote, including filling out their registration forms online rather than in person. Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots at thousands of precincts in their neighborhoods, just like before, on Election Day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. They can also vote early in person during at least 17 days before a general election, including two Saturdays. Counties can authorize extended times for early in-person voting beyond normal office hours and can also approve early in-person voting on Sundays. Voters are also permitted to vote by mail without any excuse required, and counties are required to provide one dropbox per 100,000 registered voters for people to submit their ballot if they don’t trust the Postal Service.
This is one of the most expansive voting access laws in the world. Most other countries do not allow no-excuse absentee voting, and dropboxes are also virtually unknown elsewhere. Nor did the pandemic cause countries to adopt Georgia-style access rules. The Netherlands authorized no-excuse mail balloting only for voters over 70 for its elections held in March, and it only added three days for early voting because of the pandemic. If Georgia’s elections are undemocratic, then almost all of our democratic allies are also undemocratic.
Nor are voter identification laws undemocratic. Most other nations have mandatory identity papers, which means that requirements to produce picture identification is easy to comply with. But almost all Americans have picture identification, whether it is a driver’s license or something else, and voter ID laws have been found to not have any significant impact on voting rates. Voter ID laws are popular with all segments of the population, including Black Americans and Democrats. Requiring people to show identification to vote in person, or include their ID number on applications to vote by mail, is simply common sense and does not reduce access to the polls.
One might wonder why Biden and Democrats are raising such a ruckus given that their charges are so easily disproved. That, I’m afraid, comes down to politics. Party leaders have apparently decided that they can best unite their ideologically disparate coalition with a fearsome enemy for all to oppose. Donald Trump’s defeat means they can no longer point to that man in the White House. Making the GOP the fall guy for Trump’s despicable post-election lies — and claiming the party is anti-democratic as a result — seems to be their solution.
This may not succeed with the people they need the most: the educated suburbanites who used to vote Republican before Trump. A Republican won a special election in suburban Atlanta Tuesday by a 63-37 percent margin. Trump won the same seat by only four points, and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp won it by only 10. This follows an embarrassing debacle in Texas, where a Democrat failed to make the runoff in a Fort Worth-area suburban seat in a district that Biden had nearly won.
Biden’s demagoguery is worse for the nation. It’s bad enough that Trump is telling his minions that he won the election, causing them to distrust our elections process. Biden’s overheated accusations push his followers to the same conclusion. We can’t have a functioning democracy if activists in both parties neither trust nor accept the outcome.
Next year’s elections will be free and fair in every state, just as they were in 2020. It’s a shame that Biden, who says he wants to heal the country, is instead adding his voice to those that tear it down.”
Finally, pray for Joe. Humor aside, he needs it as a human being and a president, and so does America.