Right-Wing Media Accuse Clinton Of Playing “Race Card” For Supporting Expanded Voter Access

After Hillary Clinton proposed reforms to increase access to voting, right-wing media accused her of playing the “race card” and sowing “division” for political gain.

Clinton Proposes Sweeping Changes To Voting Laws

Clinton Calls For More Early Voting, Automatic Registration. In a June 4 speech at Texas Southern University, Clinton proposed significant voting law reforms, including universal automatic voter registration and at least 20 days of early voting. According to The Washington Post, Clinton also “attacked Republicans for what she characterized as a calculated attempt to turn back the clock on voting rights.” [The Washington Post6/4/15

Right-Wing Media Attack Clinton's Proposals As “Race-Baiting”

Fox Guest: Clinton Using Proposals To “Scare Black Voters.” On the June 7 edition of Fox & Friends Sunday, editor of PJ Media and frequent Fox guest J. Christian Adams said Clinton's proposal was doing something that “Democrats use to win elections now,” which is to “mobilize a racial base” and “scare black voters into thinking Jim Crow is back,” which drives “racial polarization” up. Host Tucker Carlson agreed, saying this “promotes hatred and anger and division.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday6//715]  

NRO: Clinton's Speech Contained “Good Doses Of Race Baiting.” In a post on National Review Online titled, “Hillary's Voting-Rights Speech: Good Doses of Race Baiting and Federal Overreach,” Roger Clegg described Clinton's speech as “predictable race-baiting demagogy”:

First, it contained the predictable race-baiting demagogy -- e.g., “what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color . . .” No, what is happening is the usual effort to strike the right balance between facilitating voting by eligible voters and preventing voting by ineligible voters. If there is evidence of racial discrimination, the courts are open for business. [National Review Online, 6/5/15

Fox's Katie Pavlich: Clinton Is “Perpetuating This Bogus, Race-Baiting Narrative.” On the June 8 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox host Greg Jarrett asked contributor Katie Pavlich if Clinton was “playing the race card and the poor card simultaneously” with her voting access proposals. Pavlich answered that Clinton was “perpetuating this bogus, race-baiting narrative that somehow voter ID laws disenfranchise minority voters.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom6/8/15

Fox's Doocy Asks“Is Hillary Playing The Race Card?” On the June 11 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy asked if Hillary is “playing the race card” and showed a clip from Clinton's June 4 speech. Fox contributor Juan Williams referred to Clinton's voter ID speech and claimed that Clinton is “going to beat up Republicans, try to scare black folks by saying Republicans are so terrible.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/11/15

Charles Krauthammer Attacks “Cheap Demagoguery” Of Clinton's “Race-Baiting Statement.” On the June 5 edition of Special Report, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer attacked Clinton for the “race-baiting statement she made,” saying it was “made rather cynically” and was “cheap demagoguery.” [Fox News, Special Report, 6/5/15

Radio Host Bryan Fischer: Hillary Played “Race Card.” On Twitter, the head of the American Family Association tweeted, “Desperate Hillary Clinton plays race card in arena that's 75% empty.”

[Twitter, 6/5/15]  

American Spectator: Clinton's Proposals Are “Race Huckstering.” In a post at the American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord wrote that Clinton was “out there playing the race card” and “using racism to stir the liberal base.” Lord added, “whether its [sic] 1902 or 1963 or 1970 or 2015 -- the race huckstering game of liberalism never changes. Mrs. Clinton is only the latest to deal herself into the game.” [The American Spectator6/9/15

Voter Disenfranchisement Affects Minorities Disproportionately, Was Apparent In 2014 Election 

2014 Study Found Sharp Decreases In Voter Turnout In Four Out Of Five States That Enacted Restrictive Voting Laws.  A joint report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the Southern Elections Foundation found that four out of five states studied that had introduced at least one new restrictive voting measure in 2014 “experienced sharp decreases in voter turnout from the 2010 midterm election, likely due, at least in part, to these laws making it harder to vote in 2014.” [Legal Defense & Education Fund, November 2014 via Media Matters]

Non-Partisan Government Report Finds Voter ID Laws Had “Disproportionate” Impact On Minorities. A Government Accountability Office report released in October 2014 found that “states that toughened their voter identification laws saw steeper drops in election turnout than those that did not, with disproportionate falloffs among black and younger voters.” [Associated Press via Politico10/9/14

Wash. Post: Minorities Benefit From Early Voting. In a post at Wonkblog, the Washington Post's Emily Badger explained how minorities tend to benefit more from early voting: 

Early voting is intimately bound up in race, not simply because minorities are more likely to take advantage of it, but because the policy itself addresses systemic barriers they face. When we decide to vote, we're not simply making a calculation about whether we like the candidates, or care about the issues at stake, or value the abstract idea of democracy. We also have to make calculations about how to get to the polls, whether we can spare the time to go there, and who will watch the kids while we're gone.

These costs associated with voting -- in lost pay, in childcare, in transit fares -- are higher for minorities and the poor. Which is why they are among the largest beneficiaries of early, flexible voting. [The Washington Post9/30/14]