The good news is that Doug Chapin liked my Slate piece from yesterday on whether Hillary Clinton is making real election reform harder by framing the issue as a partisan fight. The bad news is that Doug seems to be alone in telling me to “Rock on.” Most thoughtful people I know with whom I share my writing have had a much more negative reaction to the piece, even if it appears that Clinton’s framing of the issue may decrease Republican support for reform.
I would say the responses fit into three categories:
1. There are no moderate Republicans who will deal on election reform. Republicans won’t support fixing the Voting Rights Act or anything else so there’s very little to lose (and, as I agree in the Slate piece, Clinton is advancing good policies and it is good base politics for her to give this red meat to her supporters). The examples I give in the eighth paragraph of my piece, where Republicans and Democrats have come together on issues, is simply too little, or the policies they’ve come together on, too insignificant.
2. The few moderate Republicans out there are more likely to respond by being shamed into doing the right thing than through rational discussion. (I’m not sure how to judge what is more effective, but I thought the Bauer-Ginsberg commission was a good example of how things could get done with the rhetoric lower.)
3. The comments of Scott Walker, Rick Perry etc. about the extent of voter fraud and the policies they have adopted are so outrageous that they deserve to be called out for their bad behavior. (On this point, I agree, but I don’t think the Clinton, who has about an even chance to be the next President, is the one to do it. I try to do it all the time on the blog when the issue arises, and many, many people write about this.)
I usually don’t have doubts about the positions I put forward in my opeds and commentaries, but this pushback has been so strong from many people I respect that I will think on this some more.