MSNBC's All In Highlights How WI Voter ID Laws “Consciously Disenfranchised” Voters

Chris Hayes: “There Are People Who Have An Interest In Making Sure The Country Is Less Democratic Than It Should Be”

From the April 6 edition of MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes:

Video file

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Last night, I got to see in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that American democracy can be a pretty worn down and creaky, Rube-Goldbergian machine. At times, it's made that way on purpose. In other words, there are people who have an interest in making sure the country is less democratic than it should be. Take, for instance, Wisconsin Republican representative Glenn Grothman, who as a state senator in 2014 told colleagues he wanted to “Nip early voting in the bud, before it spread to more communities,” and who just last night seemed to suggest that Wisconsin's voter ID law could skew the presidential election in Republicans' favor. 


SAM SEDER: The idea that that representative from Wisconsin -- there's only two options here, when that guy gives that kind of answer, right? He's got to believe that every presidential election that has gone to a Democrat in Wisconsin has been the function of literally hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, in which case he should be on that right now, right? I mean, he should be holding investigations about that. Or he just sees there's going to be an added bonus for us, that we have consciously disenfranchised a whole set of people, and they happen to be Democrats. 

HAYES: Okay. so I totally agree, like, from a sort of moral perspective, right, that these are very different things. Voter ID laws that disenfranchise folks, make it a hassle to vote is one thing. Primary rule systems is another. What unites them in my mind is just the fact that we have set up all kinds of ways in American democracy that essentially just make it hard, attenuate the connection between the people, and what happens democratically. 

SEDER: I'm not even talking morally, though. I'm talking just pragmatically. 

HAYES: Right. 

SEDER: OK, the fact is those disenfranchised voters, they can't vote that guy out of office. 

HAYES: Right. 

SEDER: They don't have access to that. These Republican primary-goers, who are about to find out that, hey, you know, I think there's a very good chance they're going to get -- their choices are going to get screwed over in some respect. 

HAYES: Right, I mean we appreciate - they're going to be told “We appreciate your suggestions, we'll be considering them in Cleveland, and we'll get back to you.”

SEDER: Right, exactly. Been an interesting year. And at least those people have somewhere to go, right? Theoretically, they can continue to vote against their Republican congressmen, their Republican Senator -- 

HAYES: Right, right right. 

SEDER: -- But those people who are disenfranchised, there's nowhere for them to go. Literally, there's nowhere for them to go, they can't even respond in terms of the electoral democratic process.

HAYES: The other thing I saw -- I mean, someone made this point to me once, in a different context, in a different policy context, about just how much damage you can do with hassle. You know, if you -- look, I have a to-do list I could pull up here, there's things on there that have been there for three years. All it takes is a little bit of hassle to get me not to do it. You create enough little hassles, you can have big effects. 

SEDER: Well, sure. Frankly that's the strategy, the way the Republican Party is disenfranchising women's right to have sovereignty over their own body. I mean, that's the whole game plan.

HAYES: For abortion, absolutely. One hassle after another. 

SEDER: Exactly. We're going to keep putting obstacles there, and make it practically impossible to exercise that right. That's exactly what's going on with the disenfranchisement of voters.


Morning Joe Incorrectly Points To High Voter Turnout In WI To Downplay Impact Of Voter ID Law

MSNBC Shows How Wisconsin Voter ID Laws Disenfranchised College Students

Right-Wing Media Use Wisconsin Primary Turnout To Dismiss Discriminatory Impact Of Voter ID Laws

Joe Scarborough Ignores History Of Voter Suppression To Claim Improving Voter Access Is A Non-Issue