Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel suggested that blocking voters from the polls won the election for Republicans. And he's proud that he helped.
Republicans often push laws to make it harder for lower-income and minority groups to vote, under the guise of ensuring election integrity. But sometimes they give the game away, as Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel did while talking to conservative radio host Vicki McKenna on WISN Thursday.
“We battled to get voter ID on the ballot for the November ’16 election,” Schimel boasted. “How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that Senator Johnson was going to win re-election or President Trump was going to win Wisconsin if we didn’t have voter ID to keep Wisconsin’s elections clean and honest and have integrity?”
And for good measure, Schimel claimed that his Democratic opponent Josh Kaul, who has led the legal battle to overturn these voter restrictions, works for billionaire philanthropist George Soros — a common bogeyman for the Right.
But Schimel is not alone. Many Republican officials have said for years that blocking access to the polls, whether by voter ID or cutting poll hours and locations, is the key to victory.
In 2012, then-GOP House Leader Mike Turzai proclaimed voter ID was “going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Some lawmakers are even more explicit. In Georgia, State Sen. Fran Millar complained Sunday early voting in certain locations made it too easy for African-Americans to vote, and that he would “prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”
Trump himself is a huge proponent of the idea. He has repeatedly claimed, with no basis, that he only lost the popular vote due to millions of people voting illegally in California. He set up a sham voter fraud commission to investigate, chaired by Mike Pence and anti-voting crusader Kris Kobach. This commission eventually shut down in the face of bipartisan resistance from state election officials and multiple lawsuits, including from one of its own members.
Blocking people from the polls is indefensible. Try as they might to avoid it, Republican advocates of voter suppression like Schimel keep telegraphing their real intentions.