The AFL-CIO’s “Voting Rights” Fantasy Land

We have been following the Left’s coordinated effort to mount a “voting rights” campaign that will energize the Democratic base while intimidating states that are trying to maintain ballot box integrity. The campaign started with a march in New York City that was co-sponsored by a rogues’ gallery of left-wing organizations and addressed by several Democratic politicians, but was attended by only one or two thousand people, mostly at the behest of sponsoring unions. No matter: the event was followed up by Eric Holder’s announcement of a three-part Obama administration initiative, driven by the bogus “voting rights” concerns that were the subject of the march, the purpose of which is to make voting as easy as possible for ineligible as well as eligible voters.

The AFL-CIO was one of the liberal groups that sponsored the NYC march, and a member of the organization’s “Special Committee on Labor-Community Partnerships” reported on the event on the official AFL-CIO site. The report begins:

Tens of thousands of labor and civil rights activists on Saturday marched from the New York offices of Koch Industries, whose owners have supported restrictive voting legislation modeled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing think tank funded by brothers David and Charles Koch.

Pretty much every word is false. The claim that “tens of thousands” marched is absurd, as the photo and videos at the first linked post above show. It is true that the march started at the New York offices of Koch Industries, but in fact, neither the company nor its owners has taken any position on the various election procedure statutes that the marchers were complaining about. Koch has zero to do with the “voting rights” issue, but somehow the AFL-CIO and other leftist groups think they can advance their fictitious narrative by dragging the Kochs into it. As for ALEC, it is not a “right-wing think tank,” and it is not “funded by brothers David and Charles Koch.” ALEC is a good-government, pro-free enterprise group that brings together state legislators and private sector employees who have expertise on various public policy issues. ALEC’s task forces draft model legislation that can be introduced and debated in state legislatures. It may be that an ALEC group has drafted legislation that relates in some way to voting, but if you go to the ALEC web site and look at the lists of Task Forces, Initiatives, Publications and News, there is nothing about voting procedures.

It is bizarre how the Left singles out a handful of individuals and groups for demonization, regardless of whether they have anything at all to do with the issue at hand. It is even more remarkable how the word goes out, and liberals in unison–whether MSNBC hosts, Democratic Congressmen or AFL-CIO functionaries–sing in unison from the same song book. The AFL-CIO continues:

Some of the laws passed in more than a dozen states around the country include requiring photo IDs at the ballot box and making it harder to vote absentee and vote early. The laws primarily affect low-income people, African Americans, Latinos, students and the elderly. Earlier this year, as anti-labor laws swept state legislatures dominated by Republicans backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, who together own most of Koch Industries, some of these same legislatures passed laws designed to suppress voter turnout, especially targeting African Americans and immigrants.

If you can follow the logic of that paragraph, you are a better man than me. Actually, ballot integrity laws only suppress voting by those who are not legally qualified to vote. They apply equally to people of all ages and colors. Democrats don’t like ID requirements and so on because they prefer to have the latitude to employ fraud to swing close elections.

Other big corporations also are funding passage of these restrictive voting measures, including Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and AT&T. Koch is one of the nation’s largest privately held companies with business interests that include refining, chemicals and commodities trading.

You could never figure this out by reading the AFL-CIO site, but Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and AT&T are mentioned because they are among the large number of companies that participate in ALEC–which, however, has little or nothing to do with the voting procedure issue. The whole fantasy is a massive non sequitur.

The AFL-CIO is a political organization. It represents its members–many of them involuntary–only if they are liberal Democrats. Once again, one wonders: why do unions enjoy privileged treatment under the antitrust laws? Why aren’t they subject to the same legal principles as employers and individual Americans? Repealing Section 6 of the Clayton Act, which confers privileged antitrust status on labor unions, is a simple reform that would eliminate an enormous amount of corruption and advance the cause of fairness.

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