Voter suppression

I don't find this argument persuasive.  David Fredoso, author of “Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama,” maintains that Chris Matthews engaged in a voter-suppression campaign by calling Republicans racist.  However stupid or partisan Matthews's remarks may have been, I think we go off the rails if we equate unfair or irrational criticism of political parties with voter suppression.  Is Matthews supposed to have scared potentially conservative voters away from the polls by lying about the Republican leadership?  Persuading voters away from the polls is not the same as bullying them, even if the persuasion is mistaken or dishonest.  Would we be in patience with liberal complaints that Republicans suppress votes by criticizing the incumbent Democratic president?


Grim said...

Yeah, I agree with you. Anyone who was persuaded that supporting Republicans is ipso facto racist is a huge win for Democrats. But it's an argument that, however unfair, has to be contested via counterargument or by personal example. It can't be contested by legally declaring the tactic unfair or unspeakable.

Besides, for every Republican voter Chris Matthews motivates to stay home, he probably motivates fifty to get out and vote just to stick it to him.

Texan99 said...

Agreed. And even if the tactic is considered unfair or unspeakable (it certainly makes me stop listening to Chris Matthews and terminates any vestige of respect i might have had for him), I don't believe it's in the same league with "voter suppression." I consider voter suppression a serious problem when it really happens. I'm still pretty outraged by the Blank Panther scandals of 2008.

Part of the problem is the tendency to link any unacceptable practice with any word denoting any other unacceptable practice. Bad is bad, right? Like: Isn't it just as much "terrorism" when someone buys a park and puts a factory there? No, it's terrorism when you do violence to non-combatants for the purpose of making others afraid to go about their daily business for fear you'll randomly do it to them, too, in order to gain political influence. The factory may be a bad thing, but if so it has it's own proper name, like destroying habit and replacing it with pollution, if that happens to be your viewpoint. Isn't it terrorism when a company lays off workers solely on the ground of their race? No, it's racism. There's a reason we have so many words, instead of just "good stuff" and "bad stuff."

Texan99 said...

Arghh, no editing function, and I particularly hate saying "it's" for "its."