Racism Coming and Going: The Cases of Sen. Tom Watson and Gov. George Wallace


A good way to illustrate the importance of voting rights is to examine the behavior of actual politicians: Most of them will work hard to gain the goodwill of their constituents. Non-voters, on the other hand, usually get less attention—except, as in the case of children, when actual voters have very strong desire to benefit them.

I’m sure none of that comes as a shock to you, but I think I have a nice historical illustration of it, so I figured it would be good for weekend reading. This is from my Commissioner Statement in the Report on Minority Voting Rights Access released by the Commission on Civil Rights last week (footnotes omitted):

Consider the case of Senator Thomas E. Watson of Georgia (1856-1922), whose political (and journalism) career spanned many decades, beginning…

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