Kaine hails N.C. victory against voter ID

Kaine hails N.C. victory against voter ID
September 01
07:55 2016



If there was any doubt about the importance of North Carolina as a battleground state in the upcoming presidential election, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has come here to put all doubts to rest.

Not only has the state changed demographically since the 2012 presidential contest that saw President Barack Obama lose by just 100,000 votes to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, but Senator Kaine, the vice presidential running mate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, made it very clear recently in an exclusive interview that the campaign is paying very close attention to the recent U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling striking down North Carolina’s voter photo identification law, which the three-judge panel made clear in its ruling was geared by GOP lawmakers to suppress the African-American vote.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the appellate ruling and allow voter ID to be reinstated for the November general elections. During their many visits to the state, both GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (who as in Winston-Salem Tuesday) have come out in favor of voter ID.

Right after the appellate ruling, Sen. Kaine, who visited Asheville, Fayetteville and Greensboro earlier this month, said given his 17-year experience as a civil rights attorney in Virginia and year as a jesuit missionary under the military dictatorship in Honduras, he was very sensitive to the voting rights struggles of African-Americans in North Carolina. During the interview, it was clear Kaine has been following North Carolina’s voter ID case very closely.

“The thing that is very disturbing in North Carolina and in many states is this concerted effort, especially since President Obama was elected in 2008, to really curtail [black voter] participation, whether it’s erecting new challenges with respect to IDs, or making it harder to register [to vote], reducing early voting… when you see these things happen, it’s tragic.”

Sen. Kaine, who has litigated voting rights cases, was impressed with the appellate court’s unusual North Carolina ruling.

“When you get a court to declare it’s striking down voting restrictions because there was an intentional effort “with surgical precision” to put up barriers [to voting] in front of African-Americans, that is such a rare factual finding by a court. In this case, they made a finding that it was intentional discrimination.”

Sen. Kaine said he’s been telling North Carolina audiences “… if anybody tells you your vote doesn’t matter, you should tell them, ‘It sure matters to the other side.’ A lot of folks are working hard to make it harder for you to vote. Please value your own vote as much as somebody else values trying to stop you.”

When asked why he feels there is a clear choice between Clinton/Kaine versus Trump/Pence, Sen. Kaine says he boils it down to three questions – 1) In terms of the economy, do Americans want a “You’re hired president” or a “You’re fired president” when it comes to who has the better plan to grow the economy and create 300,000 more jobs in North Carolina; 2) On the international front, “Do you want a trash-talker or bridge-builder?” Clinton, as a former Secretary of State and diplomat, already knows how to build alliances with foreign leaders.

“Trump is trash-talking everybody but [Russian Pres. Vladimir] Putin,” Sen. Kaine maintained, noting the only foreign leader the Republican president speaks highly of.

Finally, Kaine says character is also a deciding factor between Trump and Clinton. “Do you want a ‘kids-and-family-first president,’ or a ‘me first president?’” Kaine asks rhetorically, noting that Clinton has been involved with children and family issues long before she entered public life, while during his business career, Donald Trump has rarely identified himself with a family cause or issue.

The first of three presidential debates is Monday, Sept. 26, followed on Tuesday, Oct. 4, by the only vice-presidential debate between Sen. Kaine and Gov. Pence. Each debate is scheduled to be carried live by the four major broad-cast networks, PBS, C-SPAN and the three major cable news outlets.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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