What the Trump/Khan Debate Really Says About America

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Holly Whitman

Holly Whitman is a writer and journalist based in Washington DC. She loves to share her thoughts on the intersection of politics and culture, and writes on everything from feminism and human rights to climate change and technology.

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  1. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    Holly, I agree with most of this, but I feel this bit missed the mark:

    After all, Mr. Khan was not followed by a Mexican American, a Native American or a Jewish American. There was no parade of the races and creeds purportedly loved with equal intensity by the charitable, ever-loving Democratic Party. There were only the Khans — a human salvo in the continuing broadside exchange of ideals with the morally bankrupt Republican Party.

    Bernie Sanders is Jewish. Anastasia Somoza, who spoke earlier, and was shown on camera during other speeches, is Hispanic of some kind, I don’t know whether it’s Mexican. The same day that she spoke, there were several other Mexican-Americans that spoke, including one described on the schedule as a “DREAMer”. On the schedule of the DNC, there were slots for the Native American Council on Monday and Wednesday. (See https://www.demconvention.com/event-categories/july-25/ for instance).

    It makes sense that Muslims would be most prominent, because that’s the ground (along with Mexican-Americans) we’re fighting over at the moment. I would hesitate at the notion that the Khans are being “used” since that usually describes someone who is unknowing in some regard, who doesn’t understand the purpose for which they have been given a platform. I think the Khans understand it quite well.

    I think that there are still problems. Bill Clinton’s speech had a turn of phrase that didn’t sit well with a lot of Muslims. He said something like, “If you’re Muslim, and you love this country and pay your taxes, we want you here”. Which unfortunately describes the default Muslim as someone who doesn’t love their country and doesn’t pay their taxes. I don’t think he means that, but that’s what that rhetoric means. Go to town on that. But not on the composition of speakers, I think you’re wrong about that. We got our attention fixated on Muslims because of the way media works, but the things the Democratic party actually has control over got spread around quite a bit more than you are describing.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Doctor Jay
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      Yeah I’m gonna quibble with point #2 as well. I saw absolutely no implicit message in trotting out the Khans that even crept towards the risible “You have to be extraordinary to share the stage with us.”

      There’s only so much room on the stage. I didn’t recall the Democratic Party trotting out an ordinary Joe or Jill white person to present a speech. Is the implicit message that only extraordinary or politician white people are worthy of inclusion within the Democratic Party? No, of course not.

      The Khans were included and highlighted because they’re living rebukes to Trumps’ miserable and contemptible pandering on the subject of Islam. They’re far from the only ones; an ordinary Muslim who peacefully does their job and lives their life while thinking that America treats the Middle East lousily would also falsify Trumps assertions but such a Muslim person would not be as easily sympathetic and as readily apparent a rebuke to Trumpism as the Khans. I don’t think I need to expand on this, it’s stagecraft 101.

      I’ll leave #3 mostly to others to argue but I’d note that Trump has driven the GOP all over the place but one glaring opening he left was a relative dearth of patriotic pabulum in his Convention. It would have been political malpractice of the highest order for HRC’s campaign or the DNC to not seize that great gift and take advantage of it. The general election turns, after all, most heavily on the opinions of the millions of low info people across America; not just the tens of thousands of our leftmost citizens snuggled in their college towns and urban enclaves. Patriotic Pabulum sells, especially to the centrist conservative Reaganite contingent that HRC could potentially persuade to turn an electoral win into an electoral route and truly put a stake through Trumpism for good.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      There’s something deeply troubling about you and Holly actually sitting down with the checklist. Filling in all the slots isn’t taking a stand against race-consciousness; it’s elevating it.Report

  2. Avatar Murali
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    says:

    Interesting piece. Much to think about. One thing that strikes me about voter ID laws and brings to line a throwaway line from yesterday’s retracted post: Maud mentioned a conservative neighbour who said that it takes only 5 minutes to get an ID. So, something I want to ask even if its somewhat off topic is how difficult is it to get your hands on some acceptable form of identification. Singapore has both voter ID requirements and issues a national identity card. You are required to file a police report if you’ve lost your IC and go to the nearest police post within a month of changing your address. Are there state level photo IDs? Do they require some skill (like knowing how to drive)? How long does it take to fill the form? How long after submitting the form does it take to receive your ID. Do you have to travel very far to collect your ID or can it get delivered to you.

    Suppose all the above is not too difficult, as in, someone could right now apply for ID and get it in time for election day, should we really count those who still don’t get their IDs as being disenfranchised? Should we want people who are incapable or inadequately motivated to take certain simple steps to achieve their ends voting on matters of great* importance?

    If, as I suspect, obtaining a voter ID is a relatively simple process and doesn’t require you to, for instance, take leave (or an off day) to submit your form or collect your card or doesn’t require you to shell out lots of money then voter ID laws seem reasonable. To the extent that it is so easy, then people who are still unable to get an ID are so incompetent qua voter that it would be irresponsible to allow them to vote. To the extent that some significant portion of such voters exist and they have discernible effects on electoral outcomes, allowing them to vote is like having an incompetent jury: Incompetent voters, like incompetent jury members collectively wrong the public.

    *If the matter is of minor importance, is anyone really wronged in any serious way by being denied the right to vote on it? Would anyone’s rights be violated if they were unable to vote for american idol?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Murali
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      Depending on the state/city, it can be really hard. Especially if you are not in or very near a major city.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        Then there are all the shenanigans about changing/shortening hours of operation, whether or not student or benefit card IDs are acceptable, etc etc etc. It lends itself to creating as many arbitrary hoops as necessary to keep people from getting the card.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to LTL FTC
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          Then there are all the shenanigans about changing/shortening hours of operation, whether or not student or benefit card IDs are acceptable, etc etc etc. It lends itself to creating as many arbitrary hoops as necessary to keep people from getting the card.

          This. My chief objection isn’t the difficulty of getting ID’s, although I do object in principle to a policy design to lower the number of people eligible to vote.

          My chief objection is to creating reasons to deny someone eligible to vote. If an ID is required, that’s one more thing that has to be inspected at the voting line and one more reason for a poll manager to call over a supervisor to look over an ID that doesn’t seem quite right (maybe it’s a state ID that’s still valid but hasn’t been updated).* That’s mildly annoying in some places, and it’s much more concerting in other places that don’t have a good reputation for treating voters equally.

          I don’t know anything about how good or bad Wisconsin is at those things.

          *In Cibolia when I was a bank teller, we were told to look with suspicion on state ID’s because they didn’t expire. Maybe state ID’s there expire now, but they didn’t then. (I also think it was a crummy policy. If people present IDs we said we would accept, we should accept them.)Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Kazzy
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        Does anyone know what its like in Wisconsin?Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Murali
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      says:

      ID is mostly a state government issue, so the situation varies greatly depending on where you live. You generally have to apply in person, providing some documentation of who you are; where I live you also have to pay a fee (currently $28 for a simple ID).

      ID is usually handled through the Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent; these offices are almost always open during normal office hours (8 or 9 in the morining to 4 or 5 in the afternoon) on weekdays and may or may not have weekend hours. In my case, the nearby offices are open 8-5 most weekdays and 9-5 on Wednesdays; if I need to visit in person, I need to take some time away from work. I’m fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule and to be able to work from home as needed, but many people are not.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Murali
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      @murali Another issue in the States is that laws around voting have historically been used to keep the “wrong” kind of people from voting, where wrong kind of people had trappings of being based on intellect / competence, as you express, but were in fact based on race and/or income levels. Mostly the former.

      For example, African American people who had been either barred from reading and writing back when they were still slaves, or, later on, subject to incredibly inadequate schooling through segregation and improper use of their own taxes etc etc etc, were then required to pass a “literacy test” and the texts used were different depending on what race you were. Poll taxes were raised to amounts that were easily affordable for upper-middle-class plus, but a huge burden or even impossible for anyone with less income. And so forth. All *seemingly* aboveboard, but not actually of any use.

      So people are understandably anxious about not allowing any other forms of cloaked racism / classism / gerrymandering to take place under the guise of a seemingly reasonable requirement.

      Propublica has a decent introduction to the subject here: https://www.propublica.org/article/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voter-id-laws

      Purely on practical merits, I think it’s hard for people outside this country who have decent public transit and / or a relatively physically small country to understand how hard it is to get around / get to government offices in many states of this country. Doesn’t excuse the comment referenced, imo, that guy was just not exercising his empathy; but when I moved to this state from Montreal, and had to go through all the rigmarole of getting various cards, ids, etc that I *had* to have…. it made it really easy to understand how many situations there are in which voting is Just Not Worth It. (Eg “i’ll get fired if I take this time off to go to the DMV” just for example – not being willing to get fired shouldn’t be a requirement for voter competence. Likewise physical disability, etc)

      Or, tl;dr : your suspicions are wrong.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Maribou
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        says:

        This is pretty close to my view on the subject. Not saying I’d be against any proposed regime of voter ID laws but the unique history of the United States combined with the unreliable and at times tough to access agencies that would administer the rules make them inherently suspect to me.

        I’ve also never seen convincing evidence that we have a voter fraud problem, which again, raises questions to me about the true intentions.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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          InMD: I’ve also never seen convincing evidence that we have a voter fraud problem, which again, raises questions to me about the true intentions.

          1) We have Chicago, home of “Vote early and vote often”, which probably stole the 1960 Presidential election.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1960#Controversies

          2) Bush v. Gore was close enough that any fraud would have been magnified. And that’s at a Presidential level where this would be really hard and (normally) pointless.

          3) IDs at the ballot are to prevent dead people from voting.

          https://ballotpedia.org/Dead_people_voting

          http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/05/23/cbs2-investigation-uncovers-votes-being-cast-from-grave-year-after-year/

          4) It stands out as odd that we insist on more ID to buy alcohol or get on an airplane than to vote.

          And yes, I expect everyone involved has ulterior motives. Witness one side claims need to allow anyone to vote unless they’re using the IRS to suppress the vote.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Dark Matter
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            The Ballotpedia cases you cited have been investigated:

            http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/new-york-2004-and-2002

            and they were either unsubstantiated or involved active fraud that would not have been prevented by photo ID:

            Dead voters: The journalists conducting the list matching followed up on seven alleged deceased voters. “Each one was either a database mismatch or an accounting error.” At least two eligible voters were incorrectly marked by election workers in the place of deceased citizens; one voter’s daughter mistakenly signed in her dead mother’s spot.

            You’re talking about cross-referencing public records on millions of votes cast and it is entirely expected that you will run into clerical mismatches. Given that noise tends to dominate over signal in these experiments historically, the LA County case should be considered “alleged” until an actual investigation takes place.

            It stands out as odd that we insist on more ID to buy alcohol or get on an airplane than to vote

            Can you re-state this in a way that applies to other constitutional rights? For example: “It should be at least as difficult to purchase a used gun as to get on an airplane” or “It should be at least as difficult to worship in public as it is to buy alcohol”. Does that sound right to you? Government should strive to write laws that are as narrow as is possible to address specific egregious problems, doubly so when we’re talking about rights enshrined in the Constitution (to protect We The People from the tyranny of the state [as conceived by our brilliant Founders {peace be on to them}]). Voter identification has been discussed for decades, there has been plenty of resources and time to make the case that the law is both necessary and narrow. So why does that case continue to rely on such shoddy evidence?Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to trizzlor
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              You’re talking about cross-referencing public records on millions of votes cast and it is entirely expected that you will run into clerical mismatches.

              It is also expected that the bottom of a barrel is slimy. I’d expect it to be more an issue in the South than California but whatever.

              Can you re-state this in a way that applies to other constitutional rights? For example: “It should be at least as difficult to purchase a used gun as to get on an airplane” or “It should be at least as difficult to worship in public as it is to buy alcohol”.

              You’re claiming it’s easier to buy a gun than get on a plane? And as long as we’re talking about firearms, are you claiming we should let people buy/use/store firearms without any sort of ID or check because it’s a constitutional right?

              Voter identification has been discussed for decades, there has been plenty of resources and time to make the case that the law is both necessary and narrow. So why does that case continue to rely on such shoddy evidence?

              :Shrug: We spend roughly zero money investigating it, and anyone in power who benefited from it won’t want evidence or investigations to happen (witness the 1960 election). Further the opposite argument also applies even more so, in the places which do check ids, does this in practice prevent anyone from voting?

              Big picture is it’s probably a good thing to pay more attention to the ballot box and maintaining the integrity of the same.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Dark Matter
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                >>It is also expected that the bottom of a barrel is slimy.

                But the data you’re presenting is a mixture of (bottom of the barrel) and (clerical error), and the current evidence indicates that it’s 100% clerical error.

                >>You’re claiming it’s easier to buy a gun than get on a plane?

                I think you’re missing the broader point that the way we treat constitutional rights in this country makes the argument “but it’s harder to do X” moot. Either the 15th Amendment is infringed upon or it’s not, it is entirely beside the point whether a fundamental right is easier or harder to do than a some other activity. If you want voting to be more difficult than X, then make an argument for why the Constitution should be amended to do so. If the 2nd Amendment analogy introduces too many variables for you, the public worship one should be pretty clear. And, FWIW, the majority of gun reg proposals that I’ve seen would not meet my preference for justified, narrowly targeted laws. I have long argued that the left displays a lot of ignorance and opportunism in the gun debate. In fact, the way the left abandons empiricism and limited government on gun rights is very similar to the way the right does so on voting rights. One key difference is that the 2A is actually much more vague on what kind of restrictions can be applied than the 15A.

                >>We spend roughly zero money investigating it, and anyone in power who benefited from it won’t want evidence or investigations to happen (witness the 1960 election).

                This is just untrue. There are entire institutes investigating voting law and fraud. There are divisions within the FBI and the DOJ to prosecute voter fraud that are not beholden to the local pull that you describe. The Bush admin made voter fraud a top priority for these divisions and poured resources and time into investigations. Not to mention all of the journalists, pundits, and partisan goons (ex James O’Keefe) for whom a bone fide case would be career-making. Demonstrating voter fraud has and continues to be a massive complex because it offers another opportunity for one side or the other to put their finger on the scale. The fact that evidence of voter fraud is so scant is either an indictment of the conservative institutions looking for it, or it’s evidence that little fraud is actually happening.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            1) We have Chicago, home of “Vote early and vote often”, which probably stole the 1960 Presidential election.

            Ahem. I point to a few *really* obvious quotes from that Wikipedia article:

            ‘However, Nixon carried 92 of the state’s 101 counties, and Kennedy’s victory in Illinois came from the city of Chicago, where Mayor Richard J. Daley held back much of Chicago’s vote until the late morning hours of November 9.’

            And you didn’t mention that actual place fraud happened: ‘Cases of voter fraud were discovered in Texas. For example, Fannin County had only 4,895 registered voters, yet 6,138 votes were cast in that county, three-quarters for Kennedy.[37] In an Angelina County precinct, Kennedy received 187 votes to Nixon’s 24, though there were only a total of 86 registered voters in the precinct.[37] ‘

            There certainly is plenty of evidence of fraud in the 1960. No one is going to dispute that. Maybe the election outcome even was altered!

            And EVERY SINGLE ALLEGED INSTANCE OF FRAUD WOULD HAVE BEEN BY ELECTED OFFICIALS OR POLL WORKERS.

            Every single instance. Additional votes appears in Texas, and we know that for a fact. And the clear suspicion in Chicago is that Daley held back the outcome until he knew how much to alter the vote by, and then everyone just *lied* about the numbers, or he had ballots ready to stuff in boxes, whichever, doesn’t matter. We don’t know this happened for a fact, but let’s just accept for now.

            None of those could possibly been done by the voters.

            If there are 4,895 registered voters in a county, and 6,138 votes are cast, requiring *ID* isn’t going to do fuck-all. It’s not the *voters* that are cheating. What, do they somehow have telepathic powers that cause poll workers not to notice everyone’s name has already been crossed off?

            And did Daley somehow round up thousands of people after the polls closed and it because clear Nixon was going to win, and then stick them in a time machine and send them back in time so they could ‘legitimately’ vote under someone else’s name?

            It’s basically, at this point, a fucking immutable law of the universe: When Republicans start talking about voter ID, they will *immediately* bring up election fraud that ID wouldn’t do a damn thing about.

            Voter ID stops exactly one thing: Voter impersonation. That’s it.

            If you are talking about voter ID and mention *any sort of election fraud besides voter impersonation* as being a rational for it, you are a deliberate liar.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
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              When Republicans start talking about voter ID, they will *immediately* bring up election fraud that ID wouldn’t do a damn thing about.

              Because those are the biggest, most blatant examples, and Dems often squeak about how there’s no evidence of fraud, just like they’re trying to claim right now that there are no problems with the IRS.

              Voter ID stops exactly one thing: Voter impersonation. That’s it. If you are talking about voter ID and mention *any sort of election fraud besides voter impersonation* as being a rational for it, you are a deliberate liar.

              My stated problem was dead people voting. And yes, in order to have dead people voting you need to have lists of the dead supplied by (presumably high level) election officials.

              All of the other examples are to show that we know darn well that election fraud has been done in the past and there is (presumably) interest in having it done now. Any internet search of “dead people voting” results in recent issues, which may or may not have been intentional (dead people signing registration forms is probably the work of low level organizers paid by the signature, but it still smells).
              http://www.progressivestoday.com/clinton-campaign-lawyer-charged-with-registering-dead-people-to-vote/

              To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that IDs prevents, or even suppresses, legit voters from voting. If that’s true, then what exactly is the issue here?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter
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                To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that IDs prevents, or even suppresses, legit voters from voting.

                This is untrue. We have numerous people who have the legal right to vote, from various jurisdictions which have implemented voter ID requirements, bringing complaints because, for them, getting an acceptable ID is, at best, a serious obstacle to voting. We also have evidence that the North Carolina state legislature implemented a voter ID scheme as part of a system of “reforms” that was deliberately intended to suppress the African American vote.

                You may not find the evidence conclusive, but the idea that it doesn’t exist is just wrong.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy
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                We have numerous people who have the legal right to vote, from various jurisdictions which have implemented voter ID requirements, bringing complaints because, for them, getting an acceptable ID is, at best, a serious obstacle to voting.

                Source?

                You may not find the evidence conclusive, but the idea that it doesn’t exist is just wrong.

                Oh I absolutely agree the idea is out there. The issue is whether it’s wishful thinking on a bullet issue or not.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter
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                There are plaintiffs in a lot of these voter ID suits, you know. For example.

                And yes, it’s from the ACLU website, which is supporting the challenge to the WI ID law. Like I said, you may find the evidence unconvincing, but it’s out there.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                There are plaintiffs in a lot of these voter ID suits, you know. For example.

                Thank you.

                you may find the evidence unconvincing, but it’s out there.

                No, I think I need to concede the point. Which in turn means the ACLU’s lawsuit will most likely succeed, and that it most likely should.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                “we have no evidence that IDs prevents, or even suppresses, legit voters from voting.”

                If you ABSOLUTELY MUST have a valid photo ID on your person to vote…

                …and it’s voting day and you haven’t got one…

                …then you ain’t votin’ today. Because there is no ID bureau on the planet that will issue you a same-day photo ID that’s valid for use under any of the photo-ID-to-vote laws. The DMV takes at least a month to get the thing out to you–often longer–and the passport group takes even longer than that.

                ************

                Now, as it happens, I agree with the photo ID requirement. But let’s not act like getting a photo ID is something you can bang out in five minutes at the mall.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
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                Now, as it happens, I agree with the photo ID requirement. But let’s not act like getting a photo ID is something you can bang out in five minutes at the mall.

                I agree with voter ID, too, exactly so we can *stop* having it used as voter suppression.

                But here’s the rule I’ve settled on: If the government requires ID to exercise a right(1), then it is the job of the government to ID everyone.

                They have to do *all* the work. Every single bit of it, except parts where they need you.

                So you have to say ‘Hey, I don’t have any government ID’, and then basically tell them your name, and where any records of you would be, maybe provide fingerprints or footprints or even a DNA sample if things get that far…but it’s *their* job to track them down, it’s *their* job to piece it all together, and it’s *their* job to basically accept whatever seems most likely to be true about who you are. It’s entirely on the government, from start to finish.

                And they do not actually get to reject you because your name is spelled slightly different on a birth cert, because they don’t get to reject you *at all*. They are not allowed to come to a null conclusion…you have to be *someone*, and get *some* sort of ID at the end of it. (And if they come to a crazy conclusion, you can obviously appeal it.)

                1) Yes, I know voting is not technically a right. I don’t care.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                I agree with voter ID, too, exactly so we can *stop* having it used as voter suppression.

                But here’s the rule I’ve settled on: If the government requires ID to exercise a right(1), then it is the job of the government to ID everyone.

                Given how much of society is based on having this (i.e. how messed up you are if you don’t have an id), I agree totally.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
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                I still remember the day at the Pennsylvania DMV where the clerk told me that I couldn’t get a car registration without a driver’s license, but that I couldn’t get a driver’s license without something that proved I was a Pennsylvania resident–“like, your car registration maybe? Do you have that with you?”Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
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                Because those are the biggest, most blatant examples, and Dems often squeak about how there’s no evidence of fraud, just like they’re trying to claim right now that there are no problems with the IRS.

                Oh, Democrats point to plenty of examples of election fraud.

                The problem is you seem to think there is a lot of *voter* fraud, which is something that is incredibly rare, and when voters do commit fraud, it’s not in a way that could be detected by ID checks. Elections are not altered by *voters* deciding to do things, they are altered by election workers or elected officials deciding to do things.

                My stated problem was dead people voting.

                First of all, neither of those examples seemed to involve dead people voting at all.

                Secondly, you don’t get to just *state* what problem you’re trying to fix with voter ID…it has to be a problem that voter ID would actually fix.

                And yes, in order to have dead people voting you need to have lists of the dead supplied by (presumably high level) election officials.

                Erm, actually, I know people use that as a story, but there’s never any evidence that’s how that worked. This story is, from what I understand, that people would circle through the line multiple times, and be given name of a different dead person each time.

                This not only requires the collusion all of all the poll workers, but, once you realize it’s all a sham, you realize the ‘names of dead people’ doesn’t make sense. There’s no point. If the rule is they get to cycle through the lines as many times as they want, because the poll workers are in on it…they don’t need any new names at all. They just say their name again, or a totally made up name, the poll worker nods, pretends to cross that name off, and lets them in. The ‘names of dead people’ is a cute story, but if ‘kept cycling through the line’ truly happened, there were probably no ‘names of dead people’ involved at all. (And why anyone would do this instead of ballot box stuffing is unknown.)

                And, again…as the poll workers would be in on it, I sorta doubt voter ID would do a damn thing to stop it. ‘Oh, sorry, I *was* going to knowingly let you illegally vote under the name you clearly made up, but there’s a law I have to check IDs.’

                That said, there actually *are* dead people voting, sometimes. Much rare than the nonsense states quoted, but it does happen. The problem is that dead people voting is actually two different things, one of which would be solved by voter ID, and one that would not.

                Specifically, someone showing up in person and voting under a dead person’s name would be stopped (Or at least hindered) by voter ID laws.

                And someone voting *absentee* would not.

                The problem is…almost all ‘dead people voting’ fraud is that second thing. Dead people vote absentee.

                And it usually isn’t even some sort of deliberately setup thing to start with. Some person died, they get sent an absentee ballot, the person who ends up with that mail decides to vote it.

                Please note this type of fraud can actually happen *before* their death…there are a lot of old people with dementia and various other problems where someone else basically just steals their ballot, or if they want to give their actions a shine of legally, pretends to ‘help them fill it out’.

                To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that IDs prevents, or even suppresses, legit voters from voting.

                To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that you are not John Wayne Gacy and this isn’t an attempt to murder people as they get photo IDs.

                To the best of my knowledge we have no evidence showing that’s not true.

                —–

                Here is the thing we apparently have to say over and over again…in person voter impersonation doesn’t make sense. First, it has crazy risks that other sorts of voter fraud don’t have:
                1) You are on camera committing a crime directly to a government agent.
                2) You are physically located in the building and could easily be arrested *right there*.

                And there are two ways to be detected:
                1) You can be detected by an alert poll worker saying ‘Didn’t you come through here before?’
                2) You can also be detected if the person you are impersonating decides to vote also.
                (And once the fraud is detected…most of the time you’re *still in the building*. Smooth.)

                And the results of this:
                You get…one extra vote for every time you do it. One vote.

                This is not any sort of rational risk. It’s not even close to a rational risk.

                And thus…it actually doesn’t happen. Yeah, in real life, it doesn’t happen.

                If you really, truly, desperately want to cast an extra ballot…you forge an absentee ballot request from a voter you know is registered, but doesn’t generally vote, and then try to steal it from their mail. It’s much safer, even with the additional crime of mail theft. Even if the voter does show up in person to vote, resulting in the fraud being discovered…it probably can’t be traced back to you. It’s a hell of a lot safer than walking in and committing a felony in front of multiple witnesses.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Most of your post is devoted towards claiming fraud on this level is fairly rare, and I agree, this is a corner case. But that still leaves us with the issue of which is better, having voter id or not having it? Preventing a legit person from voting causes constitutional issues, but so does letting someone who shouldn’t. Further the gov has a legit interest in showing it takes voting seriously.

                Dark Matter: To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that IDs prevents, or even suppresses, legit voters from voting.

                DavidTC: To the best of my knowledge, we have no evidence that you are not John Wayne Gacy and this isn’t an attempt to murder people as they get photo IDs.

                *That’s* your actual answer? No evidence, no support, just a raw non sequitur.

                Let’s just count. I have 4 picture ids trivially accessible right now, 2 or 3 of which I *always* have on me. I probably have another dozen cards of various types which have my name, I also have several hundred utility bills of various sorts which prove I live where I claim I do depending on how old they can be.

                I use these picture ids to do various every-day things (like work or eat lunch), I’m required to use them for various activities. Some constitutionally protected activities already require id (the most extreme being buying guns). I get that I’m probably an extreme case, but the bulk of society is structured so it’s somewhere between challenging and impossible to function without an id.

                So, again, how big a problem would voter id cause?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                @dark-matter
                I get that I’m probably an extreme case, but the bulk of society is structured so it’s somewhere between challenging and impossible to function without an id.

                Pro-voter ID people like to use that argument that ‘everyone already needs an ID’, which hilariously *completely disproves* their other statement that ‘everyone can get an ID’. Both of those statements cannot be true! Why?

                Because approximately *11%* of the adult population does not have a government-issued photo IDs.

                If it was truely ‘impossible’ to function *without* ID in society, the _11%_ of people without such an ID proves that IDs are *really* hard to get for some people!

                You’ve literally argued the wrong direction.

                The only actually justification for voter ID laws with that ‘11%’ number hanging out there is maybe IDs are *not* needed for those people currently, and they could easily go and get them if they were required. Maybe they don’t have ID because they don’t really want it.

                The problem there is even if, of that 11%, if only _1%_ of those people, aka, 0.11% percent of the population, have a problem getting an ID…that is literally *tens of thousand* more people than instances of voter impersonation.

                Preventing a legit person from voting causes constitutional issues, but so does letting someone who shouldn’t.

                Are you willing to accept that, I dunno, *1%* of the people who currently do not have IDs do not have IDs because they cannot prove who they are?

                Because that’s approximately 230,000 people. Which is higher than all *alleged* voter impersonation added together, and then multiplied by a thousand. (And most of the allegations are nonsense.)

                Maybe we should ERR ON THAT SIDE WHEN TALKING ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Because approximately *11%* of the adult population does not have a government-issued photo IDs.

                Source?

                Are you willing to accept that, I dunno, *1%* of the people who currently do not have IDs do not have IDs because they cannot prove who they are?

                So they do not and can not drive, they don’t have birth certificates, bank accounts, enough contact with the gov to ask for a free id, and so forth?

                It’s trivial to think of cases where that’s going to be true (extreme mental illness/disfunction, extreme age to the point of disfunction, people on the run from the law, illegal aliens, etc). It’s harder to see how that wouldn’t also prevent them from voting.

                Please source who you’re talking about because you’ve lost me.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                @dark-matter
                Source?

                If anything, 11% is an underestimation.

                ‘86.1% of those who voted in 2006 reported proper credentials compared to 78.1% of those who are registered but did not vote, and only 75.4% of those who are not registered voters’
                http://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/documents/Indiana_voter.pdf

                Here’s the nationwide survey:
                http://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/d/download_file_39242.pdf

                ‘Eleven percent of the American citizens surveyed responded that they do not have current, unexpired government-issued identification with a photograph, such as a driver’s license or military ID.’

                And in that same survey, 7% said they didn’t have ready access to citizen documentation. I.e., 11% don’t have an IDs, and 7% aren’t sure they could *get* an ID.

                Additionally, the survey shows that an additional 10% of the voting age population has photo ID that they know is *incorrect*, with either the wrong address or the wrong name. (Often not updated after marriage.) This means when they put their *actual* address or *actual* name on their voting registration, their ID will be denied at the polls.

                And that’s just the people who *know* they can’t get access to documentations and people who *know* their ID is wrong. There are plenty of people that are not aware of these things.

                So they do not and can not drive, they don’t have birth certificates, bank accounts, enough contact with the gov to ask for a free id, and so forth?

                Wow, it’s literally a ‘Non-poor person does not understand how poor people live’ parade.

                There are plenty of poor people who do not drive, because, duh, they do not own a car.

                And, yes, plenty of poor people do not have bank accounts. They are called the ‘unbanked’. They’re the people getting ripped off by check cashing places and car title loans. (Although the people getting car title loans presumably have driver’s licenses, but still don’t have access to a bank.) It’s sort of a big thing WRT poverty, often talked about.

                Birth certificates were not commonly issued to people born at home until fairly recently. You know, like *tons* of black people were during Jim Crow, up until the 60s. Additionally, even if they were born in a hospital, a birth certificate existing does not mean they have a copy of it, gaining a certified copy is generally something that must be done in person *and* costs money…assuming their hospital still exists.

                And it’s not always the *birth certificates* that are the problem. To get photo ID, you additionally have to provide proof of residency, often *two* documents proving that. Poor people often do not have any utilities bills or documentation about where they live, because they are living with other people.

                Hell, I’ve had years where *I* couldn’t have proven where I lived to the level required by the state currently, because I was living with a roommate whose name was on all the bills and I just paid her my half, and I’ve *always* gotten most of my mail at a PO box. (I even had that on my driver’s license for a while.) Luckily, by the time I had to get an upgraded ID, I had moved again, and various utility companies wanted to send bills here and I said sure, so I could use them…it was basically purely by luck I didn’t have a bunch of bills all saying my PO box.

                And if you lost your social security card, and *don’t* have a photo ID…have fun with all that.

                It’s trivial to think of cases where that’s going to be true (extreme mental illness/disfunction, extreme age to the point of disfunction, people on the run from the law, illegal aliens, etc). It’s harder to see how that wouldn’t also prevent them from voting.

                Good Lord. It’s not like looking at *any* lawsuit about voter ID laws wouldn’t, you know, turned up some *plaintiffs* and an explanation of why they are suing.

                The current ACLU lawsuit against voter ID in Wisconion has two plaintiffs, and both of them have been voting for *decades*. Also, neither of them are alleging it is too hard to meet the requirements, or is the equivalent of a poll tax, as far as I can tell. They are alleging that, as far as they can tell, it is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE for them fulfill the requirements to get an ID, because their name is misprinted on their birth certificate, and the state will not accept it. (It is *theoretically possible* to alter a birth certificate, sometimes, but it’s a long and expensive process that requires hiring lawyers and going to court….and sometimes it isn’t allowed.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                ‘Eleven percent of the American citizens surveyed responded that they do not have current, unexpired government-issued identification with a photograph, such as a driver’s license or military ID.’

                There are counter arguments, like a survey showing 4% of the population agreeing that they’d been decapitated (NPR on some game show), and one would hope that ‘unexpired’ wouldn’t be necessary.

                However I think I need to concede the argument instead.

                I think the general idea is a good one, I also think that people would benefit from having access to IDs, but it seems there are serious flaws in the on-the-table implementation which don’t take into account everyone’s real world situation.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          “I’ve also never seen convincing evidence that we have a voter fraud problem”

          Yeah, well there’s stink there’s usually crap. And I’ve smelt enough stink in my state, and followed the political machinations, to be utterly convinced it exists. It’s just too damn convenient. Can I prove it? Nope. How does one force an investigation of the the one party state by itself and expect to get an honest investigation? Not gonna happen.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Maribou
        Ignored
        says:

        Not to mention that one of the recent laws that got struck down was struck down because the GOP legislature in question got detailed voter data, determined which ID’s black voters were least likely to have, and mandated only those were acceptable.

        They literally didn’t even try to hide it. They not just mandated IDs, they specified which IDs were and weren’t acceptable based on racial breakdowns.

        (I believe they also ended Sunday early voting, because that was also predominately used by blacks).Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    The Trump/Khan debate says one thing, and one thing only

    “I hate X, and this is Why!”

    It resolved nothing, and says nothing other than what team you are on.

    Much like Brexit, you can read anything into it that affirms your beliefs. That is what we do, for we are human.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Fascinating, I’d expect a “both sides are awful” equivocation to not find much fertile soil in this particular clash could you unpack your thoughts on it some more?Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, many are talking about how much he was paid, which might be false or true, not really interested in it myself. Mainly it is a great way of signaling which team you are on. Really any of the culture war stuff is, and what isn’t culture war is rapidly being changed into such. I ignore it for the most part, as I am on team They are Both Bad. But, if you are on one team, say team red, you will find a way to make this work for your team. If you are on team blue, you will make it work for your team. As most of the commentariat here is on (at least nominally) team blue, we get a lot of cheer-leading for that side. If we were somewhere else, dunno red state? maybe? The cheer-leading would be something different, maybe about PCism and whatnot. They are still cheer-leading, just from another angle. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with a site such as OT picking a side, that is what it is.

        The fertile soil is here, as, from my eyes, we have two horrifically bad candidates. As I have said before, Fractured skull vs. bone cancer.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          But there was no PC-ism here. Trump was demonstrably wrong in what he said about the Khans. Individuals can decide for themselves what his being wrong means to them, but there is no arguing that most of the specific statements he made regarding the Khans (e.g., Mrs. Khan can’t speak publicly because of Sharia, Mr. Khan supports Sharia, the son was killed under Obama’s watch) were factually inaccurate.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            From your point of view @kazzy. From my point of view, Khan put himself on stage at a political convention, in other words directly entering the ring, making him an actor on the political stage who took a very definite side. At that point, all bets are off. One of Trumps fans points about him is that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, something they feel has become a problem in the US.

            And you are right, the son died under the Bush regime, as Ms.Whitman points out. And this was inacurate on Trumps part and he should be called out on that and anything else that he is specifically, factually wrong on.

            But that wont stop it from being turned into a culture war issue, as the warriors of culture will find a way to work it to their advantage. The R’s put Pat Smith up on stage, a mother whose son died at Benghazi. From my point of view, they were attempting to do the exact same thing that the D’s were attempting, putting someone on stage that they feel represent the values that they want to share. By doing so, she opened herself up to attack from D’s and the surrogates that they have. That is part of the game of politics, gathering forces and unleashing your army. And outrage is part of the game.

            The Republican nominee is, of course, entitled to defend himself against Khizr Khan, who took the stage at the Democratic convention and denounced him as an anti-Muslim bigot. But the way in which he has done it has fueled the story.

            There is no question that Khan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, provided a heartbreaking moment in Philadelphia. Trump had nothing to do with his son’s wartime death, of course, but Khan took his proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigrants and used it to question whether the candidate has even read the Constitution (which Trump says he has).

            The media have given this man and his wife an enormous platform—in a way they conspicuously declined to do when Patricia Smith blamed Hillary Clinton at the Republican convention for the death of her son in Benghazi.

            That is Foxnews‘ version of the kerfluffle. Showing that there are many ways to look at this issue. And Holly’s is just one of the many competing versions. Versions that start and finish with ones ideological priors.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              From my point of view, Khan put himself on stage at a political convention, in other words directly entering the ring, making him an actor on the political stage who took a very definite side.

              Sure. Is the fact that he made his claims in a partisan political context the entirety of your analysis? Does the content of his claims not matter at all? You seem to be saying that the content can be rejected apriori simply by his having uttered them in a partisan political context. Which strikes me as an absolutely astounding argument for a smart person to advance.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I repeat myself, but:

                And you are right, the son died under the Bush regime, as Ms.Whitman points out. And this was inacurate [sic] on Trumps part and he should be called out on that and anything else that he is specifically, factually wrong on.

                Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Aaron, you’re repeating yourself but not addressing what I’m talking about. Which party controlled the Preznitcy when his son died is irrelevant when evaluating the content of his claims. Seems to me anyway.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I (me) find what Khan did banal, and no better or more courageous than what Smith did. Very little in the way of facts, on either side, but lots of histrionics. When Kazzy did point out that the facts were wrong on the face of it, I absolutely agreed with him, and indeed do feel that should be pointed out, as something that Trump shoots his mouth off on, as usual.

                What I won’t do is feel that Khan has some special moral ground that he is standing on. Because I don’t. As for his claims being made in a partisan context, and whether that changes them as facts, no it doesn’t in my mind. A fact is a fact, but opinion is not, no matter what stage you are on. As I agreed with Kazzy on, by way of example. Am I still missing your point?

                If so please clue me in.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                @aaron-david

                I don’t think Khan has any special moral ground. Looking solely at the war of words Khan and Trump waged, it seems demonstrable to me that Khan was “right” insofar as the facts were largely on his side. That was my focus. Arguing that Trump was right would be like arguing the Carolina Panthers won last year’s Super Bowl. They simply didn’t. Trump was wrong.

                Now if we want to get into what these men symbolize, well, yea, everyone can and will have their field day. But I’m not interested in that because that is all opinion as far as I’m concerned.

                The Khans are not immune from criticism or pushback, from Trump or anyone else. But when that criticism is predicated on falsehoods, I think it appropriate — necessary even — to say, “One side is landing their punches while the other is missing.”Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                In some ways I agree with you, facts and such, and in others I disagree. Namely that both sides are using proxies for moral positions, and in this I feel that both sides are similar. As the fox piece points out (linked above), “but Khan took his proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigrants and used it to question whether the candidate has even read the Constitution (which Trump says he has).”

                Now, the ban has been discussed here but that is an opinion, and further an opinion based on an idea of a policy. So, whatever Khan may think, something being unconstitutional or not is unknowable when that something that has not been written nor passed as law. This might seem trivial, and no one seems to be discussing whether Khans claim is truthful or not. So, indeed, it is also a moral claim, no different than Pat Smiths claims, which also may or may not be truthful. But, are also moral claims. Competing moral claims.

                So, I am with you in dismissing, and calling out, claims that we know are untruthful, but I am rolling my eyes at the overarching moral claims made in this post. And that is because they are no different that the moral claims made by the other side. So, as I do agree with some of the moral claims made by the D’s and also agree with some of the moral claims made by R’s, some claims that Ms. Whitcome finds so awful.

                TL;DR There are factual issues with Trump, along with factual issues with Khan. Outside of that we are talking moral issues, which I may or may not weigh differently.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                So do you not have a problem with barring people from entry to this country on the basis of their religion? You seem to be going to great lengths to avoid stating an opinion as to whether or not Trump’s comments and policies are substantively wrong, when I see them as remarkably open religious bigotry that shouldn’t be particularly difficult to condemn.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              And after Clinton called Smith a shill for Donald Trump and a Klan member, and said that if her husband were a real man, she would be in the kitchen making him a sandwich.

              Both Sides Do It.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                This is also the proof that vitriolic left-of-center rhetoric didn’t make Republicans nominate Trump.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                That is zero proof @don-zeko , rather it is an opinion, written by a pundit with fairly strong political opinions. I am open to the idea that there are factors on the right that lead to the rise of Trump, who is, was, and always will be, a media icon. But I am generally of the opinion that it was the smug style in in politics, as typified by Jon Stewart.

                But those are both opinions, much like the OP. And in the end, Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc is still false logic.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                They aren’t merely opinions, they are arguments. One can judge their relative merits and relative persuasiveness. And as with the OP, I think that you’re stance of extreme relativism is ultimately indefensible, for reasons that have been spelled out plenty clearly elsewhere in this thread.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, no one here, there or anywhere as put together an argument that has changed my mind that HRC is the worst of the four candidates. So, no matter your opinion that my extreme relativism is indefensible, I find the arguments against it laughable.

                I will happily concede that Trumps plan re; muslims is bigoted. It still doesn’t outweigh how aweful I feel that HRC is. It still doesn’t outweigh how damaged in regards to democracy I feel the D’s have become. It still doesn’t counter the imperial presidency I see happening under HRC and the current press.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                When did we start talking about HRC, @aaron-david ? I am well aware of your opinion of her; we’ve been around that particular point repeatedly and are at a nice state of mutual incomprehension on the subject.

                Seems to me that upthread the discussion was about the Khans and Trumps proposals, where you were resolutely unwilling to even allow for the possibility of making a substantive distinction between them. If, as you have insisted repeatedly, you have no affection for Trump, why not allow that on this narrow point Trump was wrong? Nobody’s going to take away your anti-Hillary card because you defended her supporters once. You could even admit that, and then say that you’re going to vote for Trump or Johnson anyway because you find HRC so reprehensible, and that would be fine.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                As I pointed out to Kazzy above:

                And you are right, the son died under the Bush regime, as Ms.Whitman points out. And this was inacurate [sic] on Trumps part and he should be called out on that and anything else that he is specifically, factually wrong on.

                And as I pointed out to you:

                I will happily concede that Trumps plan re; muslims is bigoted.

                I started talking about HRC, because in my opinion, that is the whole point of Khans proxie speech. And I also pointed out to Kazzy:

                So, whatever Khan may think, something being unconstitutional or not is unknowable when that something that has not been written nor passed as law.

                Now, I am presenting that he has no factual point because, simply, there is no law or such to be weighed against the constitution. So he has a moral claim, also know as an opinion. And that his opinion is being presented as fact when, indeed, it isn’t. You might weigh one set of falsehoods stronger than the other, but I don’t. In fact, I see a moral claim (Khans) being presented as a factual claim. Which, in my eyes, actually weighs against it.

                (sorry if I am cranky, I just quit smoking.)Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, good for you. Hang in there.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                I am willing to say that Republicans are so insecure, so uncertain, so emotionally needy that being criticized and condescended to, even by people they despise, has caused them to act out in unprecedentedly anti-social and self-destructive fashion.

                I certainly feel better having admitted that. Confession really is good for the soul.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        After her second paragraph was it really necessary to read any further? Frankly, it seems a bit presumptuous to assume this kerfuffle really says anything about America.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      It resolved nothing, and says nothing other than what team you are on.

      So, the fact that Trump team’s total response was to accuse Khan of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a proponent of Sharia law, not to mention that he was paid by Crooked Hillary to spew a bunch of slander, says nothing except what team you’re on?

      Well, I gotta say, Aaron, in this case I have to agree with you: the fact that you think the Trump-Khan incident says nothing except which team you’re on indicates exactly what team YOU are on. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I am on team Libertarian, and what remains of the Democrat in me is team good government. Which, with HRC’s nomination, the D’s have destroyed (in my eyes) for at least a generation.

        Much like those whom Trump has destroyed part of the Republican party for, but as I was never a part of that party, that isn’t so much my fear or disappointment.

        I know, I know, it does put me out of step with much of this blog, but what are you gonna do, huh?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          I know, I know, it does put me out of step with much of this blog, but what are you gonna do, huh?

          No, the anti-gummint/anti-democratic-politics view you advance is pretty well represented here. Dominant, actually, in my view. I’ll admit that the Libertarian-because-jilted-by-Democrats overtone is a bit different and unique, tho.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh pshaw, you were republitarian since at least mid Obama era. Nominating Bernie certainly wouldn’t have changed that.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Wait, what?

            Bernie? Republitarian? I am very anti Obama (think he is the worst pres. of my lifetime. YMMV) and the R’s were opposing him (I support the party of No! for the ability to say no. That is important.) But still not socially conservative, and mostly celebrate the seperation of powers and individual freedoms (1st amendment being most important.) The closest I come to R is believing in the second very firmly (always loved the shooting sports.) Then again the D’s have made the R’s (warts and all) less wrong. Terrifying, no?

            But still very Libertarian.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      @aaron-david

      Let’s say you are right. It seems to reveal though that a lot of people don’t want to be on Team Red since the Khan statement. Trump’s slide in the polls began roughly two or so weeks ago when Khan made his speech and Trump made his remarks and keep on making them.

      538 still gives HRC a strong lead in the polls. She is projected to win every state Obama one in 2008 with good chances in Arizona, Georgia as well. 538 shows that Trump is really hurting GOP chances in the Senate, House, and State Legislatures as well.

      Maybe this will improve but Trump continues to shoot off his mouth and the general view is “Wow. This guy is really nuts.” Khan seemed to be a huge slide of Trump coming off as unhinged.

      So does Khan show that there are bridges too far in American politics about things mainstream candidates can say or does it show that the nation is turning blue?Report

  4. Avatar Maria
    Ignored
    says:

    You hit the nail on the head regarding our propensity to prefer spectacle over substance. It has been that way for a long time now, and sadly I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I see it, and admittedly fall for it at times, on my social media. I too wish people were more engaged in the issues that will have a much more direct impact on their lives than Trump’s lasted Tweet, but I have to say, when you are pressed for time, or you have multiple demands on your attention (kids, work, etc) it is so very easy to skim the click-bait headlines, promising yourself you will go back and read the articles later, and then realizing “later” just does not happen 90% of the time. It sucks.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Maria
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      says:

      Democracy has always been about spectacle over substance. Plato observed it back in his day. Social media has perhaps exacerbated this particular morbidity of democratic societies, but it is not fundamentally a new phenomenon.Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to Murali
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        says:

        I think that formulation reflects Plato’s own aristocratic biases. Politics in general is all about spectacle over substance. Comparing them side to side, my read of history has democratic governance as more sober minded and substantive than comparable autocracies.Report

  5. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    ” You and I know it was an absurd proposal,” Really? Absurd? That we, as a nation, could decide on who we want to accept into our country. Absurd? No it isn’t. It’s perfectly reasonable and rational. Many other countries, in fact the majority of them, won’t let you in to work unless you prove no one has your skill set, or have other rigorous acceptance policies. There’s no reason why we can’t change our immigration policy. We’ve done it before.

    As to the coverage. It’s an election season. All news, with maybe the exception of the Olympics and the floods, is going to be 100% politics. I think for two straight weeks before, during, and after the Democratic convention, the lead stories on NPR Morning Edition was this. Frankly, it was “all Hillary, all the time”. So Holly, deal. It’s the news. It’s news.

    War heroes: I too, do not understand how service equates to being a hero. Oh, and none of the people you mentioned are heroes either in my book. Congressional medal of honor like actions–yep, that’s a hero. I’ll give soldiers props for serving our country. I’ll give them more for being deployed, and even more for being in active combat, but that’s not heroism.

    And I have to take exception to “Targeted hatred is not long for this world.” I’m calling BS on this. Everyone hates the outsider. All people are tribal and the tribe doesn’t like outsiders. It’s very slow to change and the greater the difference between the outsider group and the inside group the greater the tension and the longer to grant acceptance.

    Standing in front of the soldiers “preaching love” is nice. But it doesn’t help you when they are there to burn your village. See the above paragraph. World peace will be achieved one of two ways: 1) no more resource conflicts and mankind evolves away from tribal racism or 2) One tribe kills all the other tribes or kills enough that they never are a challenge to the other tribe’s power. (Genocide and massacres have solved more political “problems” than love ever has.) Neither seems imminent.

    “Politics is how a stable and inclusive society is built.” Please. Politics is about the effort to obtain and use power. It’s the process to reward your friends/allys and harm your enemies. To entrench your reach and diminish the other guy’s.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      @damon

      world peace is also possible if international trade networks become sufficiently widespread and robust. If everyone is trading with everyone else and would lose out by breaking off trade relations and attacking them, then they will be willing to trade peacefully in spite of scarcity of resources, racism etc. Whatever bad opinions of them that I have are irrelevent in the face of what I could get out of being able to sell them my stuff or buy stuff that I want from them. After that, maybe nice feelings will naturally follow, but its not a precondition.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Murali
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        says:

        True. When do you think that will happen? 🙂Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Damon
          Ignored
          says:

          Within the next 50-75 years. China is already beginning to pour lots of money into Africa, which in 50 years should be where China is today. I also expect the middle east to have sorted itself out by then. If no one screws the pooch it could be done even faster. In 10 years, ISIS is either gone or somehow people-we-can-do-business-with or at the least people-we-can-ignore-for-now. Really depends on whether they are willing to contain their special brand of insanity to within their own borders. If they can contain their form of Islam to just within their borders, people will deal with them, like they deal with Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia etc.Myanmar is already getting its act together. Kim Jong Un in north korea doesn’t look to have a particularly long lifespan.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Murali
        Ignored
        says:

        If everyone is trading with everyone else and would lose out by breaking off trade relations and attacking them, then they will be willing to trade peacefully in spite of scarcity of resources, racism etc.

        Implications of rationality: Ode to Homo Economicus!Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          It reminds me of the proof that there is never lasting discrimination in hiring, because the employers that don’t discriminate will outcompete the ones who do.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            It reminds me of the proof that there is never lasting discrimination in hiring, because the employers that don’t discriminate will outcompete the ones who do.

            Yeah! I mean, we can actually prove companies aren’t racist.

            I mean if employers were willing to add random *illegal* hurdles like race to hiring, crippling themselves, we’d see a bunch of random *non-illegal* hurdles also, logically.

            For example, we might see companies requiring college degrees for jobs that have never needed them before and still don’t actually need them. For example.

            But we all know such things make companies less competitive, and thus it will never happen.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              For example, we might see companies requiring college degrees for jobs that have never needed them before and still don’t actually need them. For example.

              I think companies aren’t allowed to give IQ tests, & personality tests are subject to being gamed. So if you want to hire a workforce and select for intelligence and determination, how do you do that?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “Have you done this work before?”
                “Who are your references?”
                “How would you handle this situation or problem?”

                alternatively-
                “How did your family spend Christmas Day?”

                (Actual question posed to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan by her prospective employers)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty sure everyone asking those questions knew that Elena Kagan had graduated from college.

                Further, even asking those questions is unworkable in real life.

                200 resumes on your desk, you want to select for intelligence and determination (among other things). Bringing them all in for interviews is a non-starter, ditto even calling them up.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          You don’t have to be homo economicus (i.e. some kind of global* utility maximiser) you just have to be able to recognise a good thing when you have it or at least when it is nearby and salient enough. That’s a much more plausible assumption. For instance, it seems like you might be less willing to bomb iran if you get dates from them. and Iran might be a bit more willing to clamp down on terrorist activity if it found that terrorist activity was hurting its exports.

          *global in the sense that you maximise your utility over all your option sets.Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to Murali
        Ignored
        says:

        This was already the state of affairs in Europe before world war 1. The big problem was that the political class in all states hadn’t realized it yet.

        So while I think your formulation has merit, it has the important caveat that not only must trade networks be that strong but that it also becomes commonly understood that warfare doesn’t benefit you. The industrialized world seems to basically have gotten there, but that isn’t everyone.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Brent F
          Ignored
          says:

          The big problem was that the political class in all states hadn’t realized it yet.

          Yeah, that seems to be a relevant difference today. The political class in the past 30 years has been about as pro-trade as they have ever been in the history of the world. Which is why the rise of people like Trump and Sanders is worrying. Hopefully they are anomalies and we are not regressing to the mean.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Damon

      Come on man, don’t you know that violence never solved anything?Report

  6. Avatar LTL FTC
    Ignored
    says:

    “Why does the news cover Topic A even though I think Topic B is more important” doesn’t say a whole lot and can be asked by anyone in any context. It proves little.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC
      Ignored
      says:

      “America” as an abstract doesn’t necessarily prefer spectacle, but the news media does. It’s not like the WI voter ID decision wasn’t reported at all: I knew about it before Ms Whitman posted this article, and I can only assume she did as well.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy
        Ignored
        says:

        I think (could be wrong) that that’s LTL FTS’s point: the fact that the media promulgates certain strains of newsworthiness doesn’t say necessarily say anything about Americans. Tho it might say quite a bit about the media, their objectives, their revenue streams and choices made to maximize them, the nature of media markets, etc etc.

        None of which inspires unguarded optimism regarding our political economic future, seems to me.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, it’s partially about the vagaries of the news business. It’s also about biases in perception and news diet. Notice how these sort of claims about what the news ignores never come with any sort of systematic analysis, just personal reflections and annoyance about hearing about this and not that on the radio station they happen to listen to.

          These days, you can consume exactly the news you want. But if you’re going to try and reach a large audience, the presidential election we can all take part in may reasonably take priority over an appeals ruling in one of a couple dozen similar lawsuits nationwide.

          The complaint is the same across the ideological spectrum. It’s unpersusive no matter where it comes from.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC
            Ignored
            says:

            The complaint is the same across the ideological spectrum. It’s unpersusive no matter where it comes from.

            I remember some liberal advocacy group used to (and for all I know still does) circulate a list of the top 10 “censored” news stories of the year. Not only were they never actually censored, they were rarely news either–usually just conditions that liberals would tend to find unpleasant continuing from one year to the next.

            It was, as you say, unpersuasive.Report

  7. Avatar NoPublic
    Ignored
    says:

    If, as I suspect, obtaining a voter ID is a relatively simple process and doesn’t require you to, for instance, take leave (or an off day) to submit your form or collect your card or doesn’t require you to shell out lots of money then voter ID laws seem reasonable.

    In many parts of Wisconsin, the DMV is open very limited hours.
    I paraphrase from an amicus brief filed against this law, which 30 seconds of googling will locate.

    Wisconsin has 92 DMV locations, The hours at those locations are limited, with just 31 of Wisconsin’s DMV centers maintaining normal business hours Monday through Friday. Only two are open after 5 p.m., and only three are open on weekends.
    Of the 92 DMV locations, 49 operate two days per week. Four offices are only open for six days each year and one, in Sauk City, is open for just three days this year. The next time the Minocqua DMV will be open is in Nov on the day of the election. The Wittenburg location won’t be open at all between the date of this ruling and the day of the election.Report

  8. Avatar InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    Point number 3 is both important and is maybe being missed in the discussion of Khangate or whatever we’re calling it. There was an article in the Atlantic a few years ago that argued that a number of factors have moved most Americans too far away from its military to really understand it, and one of the results has been blind hero worship of anyone involved in the institution and even of the institution itself.

    This isn’t to say we shouldn’t have respect for individuals who have made sacrifces, or that Trump isnt guilty of his usual idiocy and tasteless in response to Khan’s speech. However, and maybe this was what @aaron-david was saying above, I do think that Khan was used here as a partisan prop, the same way the military and their families have been for decades, and particularly extensively since 9/11. In other circumstances I’d almost be impressed that a major party presidential nominee was willing to aggressively push back in the face of the tactic. Of course it’s Trump so instead of the eloquent criticism I’d love to see its the usual wild eyed egotistical and racially charged bluserReport

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to InMD
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      says:

      But the way Trump framed the debate made Khan’s response entirely appropriate. Bringing out Gold Star parents or wounded veterans is a prop when it’s an emotional response to a policy dilemma. But Trump’s argument is that “Islam hates us” and that Muslim immigrants are incompatible with American society. Khan serves as a direct counter-point to that argument. He’s not saying “my opinion matters more because my son is a hero”, he’s saying “my son demonstrates that Muslims are capable of heroism”. Moreover, the Trump/Breitbart reaction to Khan served to underscore the fact that this was not a misrepresentation of Trump’s claim – he really thinks that Muslim immigrants are incompatible with American society and he cannot bring himself to feel even minimal respect or sympathy for such people.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to trizzlor
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t entirely disagree, but there’s a reason the Clinton campaign chose the family of a soldier. Why wasn’t it a physician or a teacher or engineer or successful business owner? That would’ve made the same point about assimilation.

        The criticism I’m making here isn’t specific to Clinton (the Republicans were shameless about it during the Bush years).Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          Trump’s argument wasn’t about assimilation. It was “all Muslims hate us and want to kill us”, not “oh they’re not really assimilating into American culture”.

          Ae a Muslim soldier dying in the line of duties is the most stark contrast available for that, and the point of it was to…draw the most stark contrast possible.

          A doctor or engineer or business owner doesn’t actually demonstrate that said person doesn’t “hate us for our freedoms” (to steal a phrase that sums up Trump’s schtick better than he can”), and certainly not in such an undeniable way.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Morat20
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            says:

            I’m with @inmd . While I understand the political realities here, it would be nice if our political discourse recognized that there are other ways to demonstrate patriotism besides military service.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko
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              says:

              *shrug*. Plenty, and quite a bit on display at the DNC. We only tend to recall the Khan’s because of the attack from Trump. Otherwise, it’d be forgotten by now. (As, I note, the similar attacks on Clinton by a parent of one of those who died in the Benghazi attacks).

              But like I said, the point is to draw contrast. And if your opponent is saying stuff like “Muslim’s can’t be real Americans and hate us for our freedoms, we should get rid of them all” how exactly do you trump, as an example, something like the Khans?

              I’ve found the weird post 9-11 military fetishism pretty weird myself, but I’m not going to let my discomfort with that blind me to the reality that you can’t find a more visceral (to Americans, at least) response to Trump’s anti-Muslim blathering than that — and since his xenophobia on Muslims is direct at gut-level responses, so must any real response.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that the Khan speech was excellent political theater that underscored a very real and very potent moral argument against Trump. I just wish that doing the same with a Muslim elementary school teacher or social worker or state senator would have had a similar impact.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            All you’re doing is reaffirming mine, and what I interpret the author’s point to be, which is that soldiers (the deader the better) in our political culture have become the most useful political props to the big parties. I don’t have to like or agree with Trump to recognize that and I find the tactic concerning even when it’s employed against politicians I don’t like.

            Also being in the military in itself or even dying in the line of duty doesn’t demonstrate anything about an individual’s politics (though by all accounts I’ve seen Kareem Khan served honorably). Just ask Nidal Hassan.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to InMD
              Ignored
              says:

              You seem to be missing my point entirely. As I don’t think I can make it more clear, suffice to say I disagree, especially in regards to the Khans and the belief that a Muslim doctor or business owner would make the point equally as well.

              And by the point, I mean “refuting Trumpist claims” here, and not “Any point involving freedom or America or whatnot”. Specifically, here and now, Donald Trump and his specific attacks, claims, and blathering about Muslims.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough and maybe I am missing something in my frustration with militarism I’ve been stewing on the last 15 years (for awhile I was seriously waiting for loyalty oaths to be required to buy a hot dog at a baseball game).

                My more recent frustration that there is even a need to refute the types of claims Trump is making about American Muslims and numerous others may also contribute.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      In other circumstances I’d almost be impressed that a major party presidential nominee was willing to aggressively push back in the face of the tactic.

      He didn’t push back against the tactic you’re referring to. He and his surrogates pushed back by criticizing Mr. Khan for engaging in a bit of Muslim misogyny by not letting his wife speak, then by claiming Khan was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, then an ISIS operative, then that Khan was paid by Hillary to slander him (or something..), and on and on, all the while never once objecting to the “tactic” you appear to think he was pushing back against. And let’s be clear what purpose the “tactic” was invoked to serve: to put Trump on his heels regarding Muslim’s patriotism and their commitment to American values. In that sense, it worked (it was good politics!).

      Look, no one denies that Khan speaking at the DNC convention constitutes an overtly political act. The contention is whether his speech was nothing more than an overtly political act. As I’m reading your comments, you’re effectively ending your analysis (like Aaron, seems to me) at the partisan/team-membership level without even considering the content Khan conveyed. And perhaps even worse, it seems to me, is that you’ve generously accounting for Trump and et al’s bizarre, bigoted and dishonest responses to Kahn as nothing more than pushback against sneaky tactics in a political game. As if the content of his/their claims is absolutely irrelevant. Which, as I said to Aaron up thread, strikes me as a really bizarre position for a smart person to hold.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I can see how I probably wasn’t clear previously on the issue of pushing back. I meant that, in other circumstances if someone were to push back on the use of soldiers or their families as political props in a presidential campaign I would find it very refreshing. I find a lot to agree with in the OP on this issue.

        Trump’s response did not do what I would like to see happen, nor do I find the demagoguery Trump engages in about American Muslims more generally, to which Clinton’s actions were no doubt a response, to be anything other than detestable.

        See also my comment just above to Morat.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          I find a lot to agree with in the OP on this issue.

          Just when I thought we could come to an agreement… )

          But I hear ya about the military being used as a political prop. I’m pretty fed up with it myself, but not in this context: having Khan, a Muslim gold-star parent (and Harvard Law guy!), respond to Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry/xenophobia was, in my view, not only excellent tactical politics but substantively entirely appropriate.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            I see where youre coming from and dont think its a meritless position. There’s a past me (circa, say 2002-2006) that would say the Khan speech is perfect and just what someone needed to say/do. There’s another past me (circa, say 2006-2010) that would’ve said, ‘kinda cynical at this point, but I’ll take it.’ Somewhere after that my own cynicism overwhelmed me.

            I’d also be lying if I said that the candidate this is coming from doesn’t color my feelings on it (i.e. probably the most important Democrat to support the disastrous and pointless war where Khan was killed). I accept any hits to my own credibility on the topic that comes with that admission, and fully cop to being a very bad, and unreliable anti-Trump person.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
              Ignored
              says:

              Somewhere after that my own cynicism overwhelmed me.

              Having dabbled in it, cynicism strikes me as a debilitating emotional, or perhaps even psychological, condition, one rectified by booze, weed, or recognizing that everything does NOT fit into a neat, tidy, disparaging and (ultimately) self-satisfying paradigm.

              Unless you want it to. 🙂

              I’d also be lying if I said that the candidate this is coming from doesn’t color my feelings on it

              Yes, of course. But you also recognize that there are various ways to evaluate speech acts in a context, and one of them is the content conveyed by the speaker. I’m also not a fan of Hillary, but I was (apparently? to my discredit?) able to distinguish the content of Khan’s speech from the context in which it was uttered.

              And I’m not saying that as a “holier than thou” sorta thing. It’s more a “cynicism is a self-congratulatory but ultimately self-defeating” sorta thing.Report

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