April 7, 2016

Someone needs to explain the definition of voter disenfranchisement to MSNBC's spite-filled morning host Joe Scarborough. Apparently the right wing hack believes that if you have record turnout during an election, that somehow means you haven't also prevented people from voting.

Here he is doing just that (joined by his abused TV wife Mika Brzezinski) on this Wednesday's Morning Joe while discussing the Republican primary turnout in Wisconsin:

BRZEZINSKI: Alright, GOP turnout easily broke the record set thirty six years ago, back in 1980, when...

SCARBOROUGH: Boy, that's really surprising.

BRZEZINSKI: … when 1.1 million people participated.

SCARBOROUGH: I thought the abhorrent voter ID laws were going to keep people away from the polls.

BRZEZINSKI: I know. It's amazing. I think something happened.


BRZEZINSKI: Maybe people brought their ID?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I don't know, but boy that certainly, I mean, that's just this side of a poll tax making somebody bring a picture ID. I can't believe they broke the records, because I was watching all day yesterday about how this is disenfranchising poor voters.

BRZEZINSKI: Disenfranchised voters?

SCARBOROUGH: It made me sad. I thought, isn't this what the communists did? I was like, “What, what?” And now, look at that Willie.

BRZEZINSKI: Disenfranchised voters? Where are they?

The HuffPo's Jason Linkins let Scarborough have it for this nonsense when he made basically the same remarks on Twitter the prior evening: MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Wants Disenfranchised Wisconsinites To Stop ‘Whining’:

Ruthelle Frank is an 87-year-old resident of Wisconsin who had voted in every election since 1948 and served on her local village board for nearly two decades. In October 2011, she found out that she needed to obtain, for the first time in her life, an ID card in order to go on voting in Wisconsin. The process she endured, which she laid out for The Guardian three years later, can best be described as stupefyingly insane.

She’s hardly alone. Draconian voter ID laws shepherded into existence by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) have put the legal votes of an estimated 300,000 residents of the state in jeopardy ahead of Tuesday’s primary. As you might expect, these restrictions fall most heavily on some specific groups: African-Americans, veterans, the elderly, students and the working poor. But to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, their disenfranchisement, and the public outcry it has induced, is not worth a tinker’s damn.

Oh, for sure. It’s just “whining,” this whole not having a legal remedy to getting one’s vote stolen. And it’s especially déclassé, this “whining,” because the turnout in this particular primary election is slated to be so high. I’m not sure if Scarborough truly understands how voting actually works. It doesn’t occur to him that maybe you could have especially high voter turnout and an especially high rate of stolen votes simultaneously. It’s also not clear how these voters will get their votes back if they cease all “whining.”

It’s sufficient to say that Scarborough does not know what he’s talking about, an evergreen news story if there ever was. Because if he spent even three minutes exploring this matter on Google (or had whoever does that at MSNBC do it for him), he’d learn all sorts of interesting things about the state of voter disenfranchisement in Wisconsin.

As Linkins noted a little later in the post, perhaps Scarborough could bother to watch some of his own networks' reporting as well. Of course, that would require him to do something besides listen to the sound of his own voice for five minutes.

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