House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., received the ignoble distinction of four Pinocchios for his claim that Democrats have never opposed voter ID laws. A couple weeks ago, various Democratic leaders pivoted on their long objections to voter ID laws as the “new Jim Crow” laws, including Stacey Abrams. The Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote “On the face of it, it seems absurd. After all, Clyburn has long been a foe of voter ID laws passed in his own state.”
In an interview with Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Tuesday, Clyburn was confronted about the flip flop when he announced support for Sen. Joe Manchin’s, D-W.Va., proposed voter ID requirement in a national election bill. Polls show voters overwhelmingly support voter ID.
“I don’t know why you guys keep misrepresenting what I said. I have never said that you should not have voter ID. When I got my voter registration cards, I keep them in my wallet. And when I go to vote, I presented that every time. And I said to them, I am Jim Clyburn, this is my ID, and I want to vote. I have always had voter ID. And that’s why the representative earlier who voted … no Democrat has never been against voter ID.”
Kessler however said that Clyburn spoke out against South Carolina’s 2013 photo ID law under which a voter can use a driver’s license or obtain a voter registration card with a photo for free. It also allows South Carolinians to cast provisional ballots without a photo ID by signing an affidavit explaining why they were unable to get an identification card. Clyburn denounced the law and said that such ID laws were “poll taxes.”
He has repeatedly called such laws as designed to suppress the vote of black voters.
Kessler awarded four Pinocchios and added:
“Clyburn is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. He routinely decries ‘voter ID’ laws, but at the same time he insisted on Fox News that he has never opposed such laws — and that every Democrat has supported them. In reality, he appears to be against many types of voter ID laws — ones that require photos, or a fee for a photo or which favor one voting group over another.
In other words, he’s playing word games. He supposedly is for voter identification but against most of the voter ID laws being adopted by states … You cannot claim one day that voter ID is a new kind of poll tax and then, on another day, say every Democrat is for voter ID.”
Clyburn is not alone in this distinction. President Biden has also accumulated a collection of Pinocchios, including for his false statements about the Georgia voting law.
Such contradictions would not ordinarily draw much attention except that the statements were made to support claims that these laws are voter suppression vehicles or, as Biden has claimed, “Jim Crow on steroids.”