A fascinatingly naked challenge in the Tarheel State: In the past few years, the analysts have had quite a few complaints about Rachel Maddow’s work.
We can’t really say they’re wrong, especially when they complain about the mugging, the clowning, the all too frequent thumb on the scale and the constant pretense, widely swallowed by viewers, that Maddow loves to correct her mistakes, which she plainly doesn’t.
We often fight back against the analysts, noting that Maddow covers some important topics, like voting rights out in the states and state restrictions on abortion rights. In the end, the analysts usually win, but we do put up a good fight.
That said, we strongly recommend last night’s program about newly restrictive voting procedures in North Carolina. No, we haven’t fact-checked the program, and you know our motto with Maddow:
“Trust but verify. After that, check again!”
Last night, Maddow was live and direct from the Tarheel State, speaking with local figures who seemed reliable. In our view, the best part of the program came when she walked the lonesome highway Appalachian State students may now have to walk if they intend to vote.
Maddow was accompanied on her 50-mile hike by Mollie Clawson, president of the Appalachian State College Democrats. We thought we saw Machu Picchu in the background at one point, though we weren’t entirely sure.
To watch this segment, just click here. But you can pretty much get the gist just by reading the transcript. Assuming this isn’t some sort of a con, this attempt to make voting very hard for college students seems remarkably naked:
MADDOW (8/22/13): Voting is supposed to be easy, so more people can exercise their right to do it. So where did the local board of elections decide to reroute all those thousands of voters in Boone, North Carolina, to do their voting?We recommend that you watch the whole program. Assuming no major con is involved, we’re looking at a remarkably naked attempt to roll back voter turn-out among groups which tend to vote for Democrats—in this case, students at Appalachian State.
They rerouted them down this long road that doesn’t have a sidewalk, which is nowhere near a bus stop. But which does exist in vague proximity to a bus route which uses the smallest buses they have in the local transit system. It’s called the gold line. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAWSON: The bus will pick up from the library circle every 30 minutes, and it’s about halfway down the route. So from the route to the library circle, and from the library circle, is about 15 minutes each. If there’s too many people on the bus and they can’t accommodate the students, they’ll leave the students behind. And you know, depending on my school schedule, depending on when I can catch the bus, it can make it really difficult for me even to get on the bus, you know, let alone other students as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Good luck getting a seat. You want to see the bus schedule for the route that takes you to the voting place? Ta-da! It’s down there in the corner. Welcome to the small print part of step one of the new, dangerous, million-step process we have newly instituted for you to exercise the right that used to be really easy. Let me emphasize, though, even if you do get on that bus, the bus stop closest to the new mega-precinct for 9,000-something people is not at the mega-precinct exactly. Oh, whoops, there it is! That’s it, bye! Hey, stop the bus!
So, wear some sturdy shoes, intrepid voters. You’re going to need them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAWSON: Got to be careful. This right here, this median or shoulder, actually, I’m sorry, is the sidewalk. There is no other place to walk, so it’s either this median, or this shoulder or the tall grass. This is not a sidewalk at all. You see here we actually have to step on the road. And my shoes I’m wearing would not work with this at all.
It’s really not in good condition. It puts me very close to the road. And it’s pretty much just not a good place to walk at all. I can currently put my feet forward and that’s it. And it’s getting smaller as we go.
Yes, this is Agricultural Conference Center right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
CLAWSON: And do note that, if you look, how small the parking lot is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, parking. Be advised the Ag Center where you’ll have to vote, you 9000-plus voters, your new voting locale has roughly 30 parking spaces. And because it’s going to be the only place in Boone to vote, about 20 of those 30 parking places will be taken up by the election workers. So maybe be ready to hover for a while I guess while you’re missing class and/or work?
Did Maddow get it right last night? Others have noted the restrictive new rules enacted by North Carolina’s new Republican majorities. If the new procedures are really this absurd, they create an intriguing challenge for progressives in general, but especially for Maddow, who works the voter restriction beat.
How do progressives make average people see that this shouldn’t be the way the society functions? Maddow is technically bright, but she’s also culturally tribal. Outreach to regular people isn’t likely to be her strong suit.
How do progressives convince regular people that this isn’t the way the society should function? Last night, Maddow put an unusually naked attempt at vote suppression on display.
She’ll have no trouble convincing the tribe that these are very bad procedures. How do progressives meet the challenge of talking to regular people, including the people we love to denounce, often quite dumbly, as being so much like the Klan?