Allow me to point out a prime example of what it means to understand the absurd political theater that is the Arkansas political climate.

Recently, former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson won the GOP gubernatorial nomination for Arkansas. However, in a hilarious faux pas that truly exemplifies his political hypocrisy, Hutchinson nearly missed out on a chance to cast a vote for himself during this past Tuesday’s election. You see, Hutchinson is a leading local supporter of voter suppression laws, otherwise better known and deceptively disguised as “voter ID laws.” The reason he almost lost his vote is because he was initially turned away at the polls because he misplaced his photo ID, which is currently required by the state’s new voter ID law. This is a controversial law that was recently struck down by a Pulaski County judge’s decision that the law violates Arkansas’ constitution, but which the Arkansas Supreme Court later vacated while they considered an appeal.

Hutchinson supports the voter ID law which has shown to disproportinately discriminate against the poor, the elderly, minorities, and immigrants.

Lucky for this rich white Republican, with the day off work to politic and plenty of servants to assist him, Hutchinson was still able to cast a vote for himself because he was able to send an aide to fetch his ID for him.

The key takeaway should not only be to point out this Republican’s clear and present case of obvious political and moral hypocrisy, but also simply that the law is undoubtedly an unjust impediment to the democratic voting process. Clearly, the overwhelming majority of voters don’t have the luxury of paid staffers they can summon to conveniently retrieve their photo IDs for them in a pinch.

Most low income voters have a difficult enough time garnering the job flexibility to take time to vote, particularly if their initial trek to the voting polls does not go well. Nevertheless, un-American, anti-democratic voter suppression laws are designed to turn people away at the polls.

At this point, it’s fair to say that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that voter fraud occurs in the American voting system. Nevertheless, well-funded Republicans have propogandized hysterical fear to falsely suggest that it’s a problem. Common voters aren’t as pampered as clueless out-of-touch political candidates like Hutchinson. In fact, low income voters who are initially turned away from the election polls for a simple case of forgetfulness can literally cost them their constitutional right to vote.

Voter ID propagandists assert that such laws are supposed to prevent voter fraud, however all statistical and scientific evidence indicates that such allegations of voter fraud are non-existent. The fear is absolutely baseless. What’s worse, it’s politically motivated to suppress the right to vote because it’s intentionally misleading.

In fact, here’s more evidence of Republicans accidentally proving their hystericia to be false. Recently, Iowa’s Secretary of State Matt Schultz who is also a Republican, unwittingly concluded a two-year study of voter fraud in his home state. Indeed, the investigation was unable to identify even a single instance where a voter fraudulently impersonated another. Ultimately, Schultz inadvertently discovered that the hysterical voter ID law served absolutely no useful purpose in preventing so-called fraudulent voting.

On a slightly different note…

Let’s be clear, Arkansas is a peculiar state with peculiar politics. Bill Clinton was once governor, but sadly so was Mike Huckabee. It’s considered a southern socially conservative (see: ignorant, racist, and plagued with poverty) Red state, but currently has a Dem governor. They have a circuit court judge that pleasantly surprised everyone with the progressive leaning judgement to strike down the ban on same-sex marriage, but Arkansas also has a state supreme court that later blocked that verdict and considers progressive judges to be “rogue.” Yup, it’s fair to say that Arkansas is nonsensical, but there’s more. They have a Dem Senator who actually tends to hold more Republican Evangelical views when he voices opinions on state matters, but tends to vote Dem on some but certainly not all issues when he flies back to DC. Meanwhile, Arkansas currently has a Dem governor Mike Beebe who opposes gay marriage, but also has a Dem Attorney General who publicly supports marriage equality, but who also happens to be the most outspoken state voice leading the legal fight to defend the state’s ban against gay marriage. Figure that one out.

So truly Arkansas is a very strange and backwards southern state with endless contradictory political theatre. Since I’m a transplant to Arkansas, all of this seems like pure nonsense to me, though none of it seems surprising either as I observe the local circus that is Arkansas politics. Actually, it kind of exemplifies the very essence of “southern hospitality.” It’s friendly on the outside, but ugly and morally depraved on the inside. There’s a reason the rest of the country, myself included, considers Arkansas to be a backwards and “backwoods” poor southern state that’s socially, economically, and politically hypocritical. (Ever seen the movie Deliverance?) Don’t get me wrong. The people in Arkansas seem friendly enough. After all, they’ve grown on me since the few years that I’ve relocated to the mid-south from the midwest, but they definitely still do not make sense to me.

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think, Dear Reader. What are your thoughts on the subject?

As always, thanks for tuning in today, Constant Reader.

Until Next Time…

Daniel 🙂



 Oh, BTW…

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