“Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump”—Or Maybe Not

Ari Berman for Mother Jones.  Despite the headline, and despite this:

The impact of Wisconsin’s voter ID law received almost no attention. When it did, it was often dismissive. Two days after the election, Talking Points Memo ran a piece by University of California-Irvine law professor Rick Hasen under the headline “Democrats Blame ‘Voter Suppression’ for Clinton Loss at Their Peril.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said it was “a load of crap” to claim that the voter ID law had led to lower turnout. When Clinton, in an interview with New York magazine, said her loss was “aided and abetted by the suppression of the vote, particularly in Wisconsin,” the Washington Examiner responded, “Hillary Clinton Blames Voter Suppression for Losing a State She Didn’t Visit Once During the Election.” As the months went on, pundits on the right and left turned Clinton’s loss into a case study for her campaign’s incompetence and the Democratic Party’s broader abandonment of the white working class. Voter suppression efforts were practically ignored, when they weren’t mocked.

Ari relies on a poorly done Priorities USA study and writes:

While we’ll never know precisely how many people were prevented from voting, it’s safe to say that thousands of Wisconsinites like Anthony were denied one of their most fundamental rights. And with Republicans now in control of both the executive and legislative branches in the federal government and a majority of states, that problem will likely get worse.

And again, I think this asks the wrong question:

As I’ve said many times, this whole analysis asks the wrong question. The right question is why a state like Wisconsin can burden the right to vote with unnecessary restrictions for no good reason, and for the bad reason of hoping it will suppress Democratic turnout (whether it actually does or not.)


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