I have been getting a lot of pushback from Democrats and those on the left recently about some recent posts, my book chapter, and a recent oped of mine on the subject of voter identification laws. The essence of the complaint is that I’ve drawn a false equivalence between spurious Republican claims of voter fraud offered to justify new strict voter identification laws and exaggerated Democratic claims of the extent to which such laws are likely to actually deter Democratic voters from voting. One prominent Democrat accused me of a false evenhandedness as a “media strategy” for my upcoming book. Another Democrat writes that there is a problem with my writing because it implies a parallel in which engaging in voter suppression and fighting voter suppression are seen as morally equivalent acts, and that I’ve just thrown up my hands and lamented how both sides are acting in a ridiculous way.
This was a change of pace for me, after having heard a prominent Republican complain about my book (which the person read in draft form) that it was too one-sided in favor of Democrats and that I missed my “Nixon in China” moment, and reading this complaint about my book chapter that it is a “biased hatchet job” favoring Democrats because the chapter does not discuss the Carter-Baker report. I spend a great deal of time describing Hans von Spakovsky, Thor Hearne, the American Center for Voting Rights, and other members of the “fraudulent fraud squad” and how they manufactured a “voter fraud” epidemic, often with racial undertones, for partisan gain.
I was very conscious of the issue of bias and false evenhandness in writing the book. As I explain there, the book is harsher on Republicans than Democrats because Republicans have done more objectionable things in the Voting Wars over the last decade. I reject the idea of false evenhandedness in the name of nominal objectivity. But Democrats have hardly been innocent, and I offer specific examples in the book of spurious or exaggerated voter suppression claims on the Left.