"You see? I kill my own men." -- Mystery Men (1999): Evil is Cocky
Democrats rending their garments over the NCGOP's latest legislative caca del toro -- the Voter Information Verification Act (House Bill 589), the election "reform" bill -- have missed the real story. Fortunately for Republican leaders, so have their own supporters.
When Republicans rolled out the latest version of their legislative Death Star on Tuesday, the VIVA bill had exploded from 15 to 57 pages. Under the guise of improving voting security, it erects an obstacle course of roadblocks to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina voters casting their ballots. From cutting early voting by a week to eliminating same-day registration to allowing anyone in the county (not just the precinct) to challenge anyone's right to vote on election day.
The signature photo identity requirement is to protect the state from voter impersonation fraud. As elusive as Bigfoot, only two voter impersonation fraud cases were referred for prosecution by the NC State Board of Elections in the past ten years.
Democratic voters are the GOP’s primary but not its only targets. VIVA is a weapon of mass disruption that will harm Republicans as well.
In a report issued in April, the NC State Board of Elections estimated that 176,091 registered Democrats are without the state-issued photo identity card most will have to pay $20-$32 for before they can vote under VIVA. Plus 73,787 unaffiliated and 1,126 Libertarian voters. Among registered Republican voters, 67,639 have no photo identity cards. Over 2/3 are women.
See, GOP leaders are playing the percentages. They figure that VIVA's voting restrictions will hurt more Democrats than Republicans -- and they will hurt Republicans. Still, Republican leaders calculate that, in the end, the net result will help them hold onto power. Indefinitely.
But the real story North Carolina and the rest of the country misses is that Republican leaders consider any of their own voters hurt by these vote suppression measures collateral damage. Acceptable casualties. Expendables.
The GOP will sacrifice their own to hold onto power. Figuratively, Republican leaders are willing to shoot their own troops to hit Democrats standing behind them. All good, if you're the leader. But what if you're not?
Well if they don't help stop the worst voter suppression bill in the nation, 67,639 rank-and-file Republicans, 73,787 unaffiliated and 1,126 Libertarian registered North Carolina voters without proper identity documents are betting too -- betting that they won't be VIVA casualties in future elections. The Republican rank-and-file especially need to ask themselves one question: Do I feel lucky?
Would you eat a bullet for House Speaker Thom Tillis? Fired by Thom Tillis?