Long ago Nas rhymed on his debut album Illmatic that the “rap game reminds me of the crack game,” and now Colorlines voter-ID columnist Brentin Mock is drawing parallels between voter-ID laws and the theater of the boxing industry.
This week, a judge ordered Floyd Mayweather Jr. to pay more than $113,000 in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by fellow boxer Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather has accused Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs, though Pacquiao has never tested positive. But his outbursts boil down to Mayweather declaring Pacquiao guilty of juicing until proven innocent; the same problem exists in states like Pennsylvania, where people are treated like voter-fraud perpetrators, thanks to constantly changing laws that aim to keep them away from the polls in November.
It’s in this way that somehow the vote game reminds me of the boxing game, and not just because of all the theater and drama. In states like Pennsylvania they have made displaying a state-issued photo voter ID card a condition for voting. Reason being: They — and by “they” I mean people who tend to be Republicans — believe that rampant voter fraud is afoot. In their minds, voters are guilty of fraud until showing ID proves them innocent. Civil rights organizations such as The Advancement Project, ACLU, and the NAACP have had to sue these voter ID states for violating the fundamental rights of eligible voters.
Next week in Pennsylvania, a courtroom drama ensues over its photo voter ID law, which was kept in tact by the Commonwealth Court in August, and then appealed to the state’s supreme court, only to be kicked back down to the lower court with instructions to issue an injunction against it if it is as questionably lawful as the Supreme Court found it.
But in both the boxing and the voting cases the strategy is the same: keep the opponent away. Mayweather is adamant about the needle drug tests only because he knows it will keep Pacquiao out the boxing ring with him — the drug allegations are a ruse. Republicans appear to only push for voter ID laws because it will keep voters who tend to be Democrats away from the boxing ring, with voter fraud as their ruse.
Read Brentin Mock‘s entire piece at Colorlines.
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