“This country has many distinctions as a democracy,” The Nation‘s Ari Berman writes in his new review of Gary May’s Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy. “The saddest is that it is the only advanced democracy ever to disenfranchise, enfranchise and disenfranchise again an entire segment of the population. What should be its most settled right—the right to vote—remains the most contested.”
Since 2010, Republicans, mostly in states that made up the Old Confederacy, have passed a torrent of laws designed to make it harder to vote. The echoes of these new restrictions to the poll taxes and grandfather clauses made illegal by 1965’s Voting Rights Act were obvious to most in America’s civil rights movement. The truth is that though racial animus may fuel the drive for new voting restrictions, the motivation is more partisan than racial. That’s why Texas’ new voter ID law, for instance, makes it harder for not just racial minorities, but also women and students. Hundreds of thousands of Texans will face new burdens on voting for a law that might have stopped four — FOUR — cases of fraud since 2004.
Republicans generally argue that restrictions on registering and voting are about the “integrity” of elections, but have never been able to prove that any American election has been stolen by in-person voter fraud. However, occasionally, a few overly honest Republicans let their true motives slip out.
That’s what happened when Don Yelton, a now-former North Carolina Republican official, spoke to The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi.
Yelton admitted that North Carolina’s new voting law, which includes a flurry of new provisions including voter ID, is “going to kick Democrats in the butt.” In one interview, he stumbled through every dumb cliché of the modern racist, including referencing his one black friend and showing disdain for “lazy blacks” who want the government to give them everything.
MSNBC’s Adam Serwer points out that Yelton is a fringe figure who has been in and out of North Carolina’s Republican Party for a decade. He’s out again, and attacking his own party after that interview. But Yelton’s cartoonish take on voting restrictions has been echoed by several other very serious Republican officials.
Here are six more Republicans who have admitted that their party is intentionally attempting to disenfranchise Democrats.