Dear pals in the Maine Republican Party —
A few days ago I offered some pointers to my friends on the other end of the political spectrum from me. Specifically, I suggested that there are certain kinds of people the Republicans should try not to have associated with them, in their quest to embiggen their tent.
And lo, the outgoing head of your party has decided to serve himself up as a coruscating example of the sort of jerk the national Party really needs to lose:
Outgoing Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster plans to investigate claims that “dozens of black people” who were unfamiliar to municipal officials voted Nov. 6 in rural Maine towns.
“In some parts of the state, there were dozens of black people who came in to vote,” Webster said. “Nobody in town knew them.”
When Carrigan pressed Webster to identify the towns, the Maine Republican Party chairman only specified that they were small rural towns.
“One of the reasons people think there’s a problem is that they don’t know these people when they come in to vote,” he said. “Several pockets in the state had unusually high numbers of new voters, and the selectmen and town clerks did not know who they are.”
Webster bristled at the notion that his probe is racially motivated.
Because who could possibly conclude that his probe was racially motivated? How could anyone reading this article think “this man seems inordinately suspicious about a particular group’s participation in electoral fraud specifically because of their race”?
Let’s begin by contemplating how epically stupid a plot like this would be, were it real. These black ersatz voters would travel to the whitest state in the union and then pick the communities where they were most likely to stand out, rather than a place like Portland. All for the purpose of contributing a handful of votes in a state that the President (the heavy favorite heading up to November 6) carried by over 100,000. In order to lock down a whopping four electoral votes.
That plot is so idiotic I fear I may have gotten measurably less intelligent simply by thinking about it.
How’s this for an alternate theory — these worrisome black people (generously granting that they even exist) were voting legitimately and the selectmen and town clerks just didn’t happen to know them?!? Perhaps they keep to themselves? Do white voters not personally acquainted with the local grandees enjoy similar scrutiny? Why do I somehow doubt that?
As it happens, the Better Half’s vocation makes him a somewhat prominent member of our community, and as his
partner fiancée I have become acquainted with a great many similarly prominent people in the town where we live. I think that tally may even include one of the selectmen, though I’m not certain. Not one of these people was in the town hall when I cast my vote, and the nice woman who handed me my ballot was a perfect stranger. She didn’t give me the side-eye when I voted just because she didn’t know me, so why should town clerks around the state do otherwise with voters they don’t know who just by coincidence happen to be black?
So here’s my friendly tip to the Maine Republican Party, one of the last remaining bastions of respected moderation within the GOP — have the incoming Chairman and maybe another prominent officeholder or two (*cough*SusanCollins*cough*) publicly, unequivocally repudiate Mr. Webster’s comments. In as polite but unambiguous a manner possible, tell him to shut his piehole and assure the people of the state that his statements are in no way representative of how the Party feels as a whole. Given that this particular gentleman has a history of making trumped-up charges of voter fraud that the (Republican) Secretary of State has found baseless (as the article goes on to report), the risk/benefit calculation is pretty lopsided. Loudly distancing yourself from an embarrassing clown who maybe quite possibly perhaps looks just the slightest bit racist is pretty much all win for you. Making clear that, no matter how they look or where they live, voters in Maine can go to the polls without fear of intimidation or undue scrutiny is a message that will only redound to your credit.
Your chum Russell
[Updated] PS> Bonus tip, offered in the spirit of friendly cooperation: If your damage-control follow-up interview contains this phrase
“There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine.”
you need to do anything in your power (wet yourself, speak in tongues, fake a seizure, have a seizure, etc) to end the interview, which I can assure you is going disastrously and is not helping your cause.