In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama hoped to illustrate the need for election reform by pointing to Desiline Victor, a 102-year-old woman in North Miami, who was told when she arrived at her polling place that there would be a six-hour wait. The point, of course, was to point to a dramatic example – which no one could possibly defend – to make clear the need for non-partisan improvements to the system.
There are, however, partisan concerns that make reforms difficult. For one thing, Republicans chose to make voting more difficult on purpose, so they don’t see a problem worth fixing. For another, as Emily Arrowood noted, the Desiline Victor story didn’t quite resonate with some on the right.
On Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade and Fox’s Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer laughed off the difficulties 102-year-old Desiline Victor endured in order to vote in the 2012 election. Victor, who was invited to the State of the Union address and whom President Obama applauded for enduring a long wait to vote, had to make two trips to the polls and wait in line for over three hours before she was able to cast her ballot.
Discussing Victor, MacCallum wondered, “What’s the big deal?” and said, “This is such a non-issue. Ridiculous.” Hemmer added that at the State of the Union, “They held her up as a victim. What was she a victim of?”
Hemmer added that it doesn’t matter whether this 102-year-old woman ended up with “rashes on the bottom of her feet.”
Let this realization sink in for a moment: the United States is the only modern, industrialized democracy on the planet that tolerates eight-hour voting lines, even for centenarians, and for Fox News personalities, it’s “ridiculous” to even try to improve the system.
Also note the shift in Republican rhetoric on this. As Michael Tuck reminded us the other day, Karl Rove was irate in 2009 when GOP voters in New Mexico were expected to wait in line for 45 minutes to vote. But now the Republican line is Desiline Victor’s ordeal is a “non-issue”?
The “war on voting,” which is intensifying in several states, has become increasingly shameless.