Today’s “Grand Old Party” has a hard time accepting that certain groups of legitimate voters just don’t like them. So they have targeted the voting rights of any vulnerable group that might lean Democrat. Right in America’s heartland, they have come up with a carnival-type effort to remove the president from the ballot altogether. This effort is predicated on a fantastical argument that President Barack Obama is not a native-born citizen of the United States.
“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection,” Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach said, obedient to GOP scripting. Long-form birth certificate notwithstanding, “birthers” are determined in their challenging the very legitimacy of the Obama presidency. Evidence means little to them or to the majority of their constituents.
How did this crazy situation come to be in Kansas? A certain Joe Montgomery, communications manager for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, introduced his own strange variant of the “birther case” before the Kansas Objections Board. On it sits Secretary of State Kris Kobach, as well as Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer – all Republicans. Montgomery argued that as the president’s father was a citizen of Kenya at the time of the president’s birth, it would automatically grant British citizenship upon his son. Claiming that this would disqualify the president from being on the ballot, he presented a flimsy and inaccurate argument to substantiate his case.
According to Montgomery, “Barack Obama, according to multiple sources, was not born to a citizen father. His father was never even admitted to this country as a resident alien. Barack Obama Sr. retained his British and Kenyan citizenship and passed them onto his son, which Mr. Obama has publicly claimed on his Fight the Smears website.
The Supreme Court has specified that natural-born citizenship inherently excludes dual citizenship through a citation in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (which was citing U.S. v Rhodes, noting that one could only be a British subject or a natural-born citizen, and not hold both citizenships): “All persons born in the allegiance of the King are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens.”
In point of fact, the cases cited do not back up Montgomery’s case. One of the cases he cited to prove that “natural-born citizen” means someone born of two American citizens – United States v. Wong Kim Ark – actually was ruled opposite his conclusion. Specifically, Wong was born in San Francisco to two Chinese citizens here for work. After a family visit to China, Wong was prevented from re-entering the U.S. based on the erroneous finding that he lacked citizenship. That case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. The high court ruled 7-2 that a child born in the U.S., regardless of the citizenship of his parents, is indeed a natural-born citizen.
It is embarrassing even to try arguing legal cases on their merits with political hacks who have donned the hats of legal charlatans. The Kansas voter suppression effort is but the latest step in a national campaign to deny voting to groups likely to vote Democratic, such as by “cleaning up” the voter rolls or introducing new voter identification requirements which afford no practical way for some people to comply. The voters targeted are the least able to fight back. Some might not have cars, and others might not ever have travelled overseas. They might have been planning simply to show up at the polls expecting to vote the way they always have voted, by affirming their identity, under penalty of perjury for falsifying the same.
Evidence of widespread voter fraud has yet to be produced, because it doesn’t exist. Level heads and informed political experts estimate it as miniscule. This has not prevented the fringe right-wing from flexing its arrogant muscles in the most anti-American manner imaginable: to deny voting rights to the most vulnerable among our citizenry. Operating under the guise of a “grass roots” movement, this billionaire-financed campaign to steal another election actually is simply an embarrassment to reasonable and fair-minded people, whatever their party affiliation.
The voter suppression machine makes up a cynical claque of buffoons and traitors to the American way. They should be so judged by the electorate on Nov. 6.