Worst. Analogy. Ever.

I’ve blogged very little about the Republican War on Voting, because I really haven’t had anything to add to the conversation. It’s pretty straightforward: when Republicans win elections, they push to restrict voting based on a fig leaf complaint of “voter fraud,” the same excuse people have used for over a century to make it harder to vote. One could, I’ve thought, defend this as part of the normal give-and-take of democracy, or one could slam it as interfering with the basic and fundamental right to vote, but either way it is what it is.

Ah, but then I happened to be over at National Review’s “The Corner,” and saw this gem from Christian Schneider:

Think about all the times you’ve been told that sexual assault occurs more than we think, as victims are hesitant to come forward and press charges. (A claim I believe, incidentally.) What if we just used arrest and conviction statistics to determine how often women are assaulted? Should we assume nobody in Major League Baseball used steroids in the late 1990s because no players were suspended?

Wow. I almost want to skip past the first part of this because it’s so awful, but briefly: for that analogy to make sense, we’d have to believe that the reason that we have no actual evidence of voter fraud is that the victims (that is, Republicans) are just refusing to come forward. Does anyone believe that?

But mainly, it’s Schneider’s baseball analogy that got me going.

He’d have us believe that voter fraud is just like baseball’s steroids use. That is, presumably, the reason that no one has any evidence of widespread, significant voter fraud is because…huh? We know all about steroids in baseball. We have eyewitness accounts. We have MLB’s self-investigation, the Mitchell Report. We have trial records. We have lots of confessions. The guilty, or at least the believed guilty, have in fact been punished in some cases. In other words, whatever you think of steroids in baseball (and I believe it’s overhyped, but that’s another story), we have lots and lots of evidence documenting what happened. Voter fraud? Not so much. And no, Schneider’s list of mights and could haves doesn’t qualify.

In fact, voter fraud is far more like the major gambling and cheating scandals that have plagued every major sport recently. What, you don’t know about that one? Well, we have no evidence at all that there’s been any actual gambling/cheating going on (at least since this one), so by Schneider’s logic, there must be tons of it, right?

Just pathetic.

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.