Voting Is Not The Same As Buying Sudafed

Apparently, this is now a point that must be made: You have a constitutional right not to be denied from voting on the basis of race. You do not have a constitutional right to go to R-rated movies, buy alcohol, or purchase Sudafed.

Some of the slower members of the right-wing media have been having trouble with this distinction as it pertains to laws requiring Americans to provide photo identification at the polling place in order to vote. The Justice Department recently struck down such statutes in South Carolina and Texas, saying that the jurisdictions had failed to demonstrate that the laws would not discriminate against and disenfranchise minority voters.

This morning on Fox & Friends, while disparaging DOJ's decision to block Texas' voter I.D. law, co-host Gretchen Carlson said:

[L]et's just take a look at a simple list of what we're required to show I.D. for in general society. To buy cigarettes and alcohol. To purchase an R-rated movie ticket. To even buy Sudafed now. To rent a car, to get a hotel room, and I could go on and on, Mr. Adams, even to get a beach pass in my community, you have to show several forms of I.D.

During the segment, Fox aired this graphic:

Texas voter id

Likewise, the James O'Keefe clown show apparently went to Vermont recently, where they attempted to demonstrate why the state should have a voter I.D. law by haranguing bartenders and hotel employees over their “racist” demands that the conservative activists present identification before obtaining drinks or hotel rooms.

But don't take my word that this is a “silly,” “flimsy,” and “constitutionally incorrect” comparison. Just ask noted GOP hack and New Black Panther fabulist J. Christian Adams.

Back in December, Adams urged conservatives not to use arguments like this, writing:

Finally, don't fall into the silly and constitutional incorrect argument that you have to show ID to cash a check and get on a plane. Flimsy arguments like that are what the left wants from you. The 15th Amendment is in play when it comes to voting. It prohibits racial discrimination in voting, and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is passed to enforce that part of the Constitution. Cashing a check isn't found in the Constitution, and people who love the Constitution shouldn't equate a plane trip with the right to vote free from racial discrimination.

Of course, J. Christian is the “Mr. Adams” that Carlson was talking to this morning. Offered the choice between intellectual honesty and political hackery, he chose the latter, deciding not to call her out on an argument that he knows doesn't make sense. Several election experts, however, have similarly noted that this comparison just doesn't work.