From:                              Ashford-Grooms, Meghan (CMG-Austin)

Sent:                               Wednesday, December 14, 2011 5:48 PM

To:                                   Ashford-Grooms, Meghan (CMG-Austin)


From: Matthew Vadum

Date: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM
Subject: Re: media inquiry
To: Meghan Ashford-Grooms <>

The great libertarian journalist H.L. Mencken said “every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”  Mencken was right.

In that vein I wrote my American Thinker op-ed published Sept. 1, 2011, titled “Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American.”  I drew upon material in my book published earlier this year, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.

I stand by my American Thinker article but in retrospect I believe that calling it “un-American” to register the poor to vote was rhetorical overkill.  I continue to believe that actively encouraging welfare recipients to vote to enlarge the existing welfare state apparatus and move America farther down the road to European-style socialism is a terrible idea.  It is, in the American context, antisocial in that it promotes dependency and the social pathologies associated with it.  Encouraging welfare recipients to vote for more welfare cannot be good for society.

Some condemn me for stating this and for the words I initially used but they cannot deny what I write is true.

The article is about using welfare offices to register welfare recipients to vote.  The enactment of the federal Motor-Voter law turned welfare offices into voter registration centers and encouraged nonprofit groups to conduct registration drives in order to bring more welfare recipients into the political process.

The primary goal of the welfare/voter registration provisions in the law, I argue, is to promote the coercive redistribution of wealth and the growth of government.

As I explain in Subversion Inc., Marxist academics and activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were instrumental in making the law a reality.  President Bill Clinton appreciated their hard work on the legislative project so much that he honored both Cloward and Piven at the ceremony at which he signed the bill in 1993.

Cloward and Piven had urged that the welfare state apparatus be used to overthrow the American system (i.e. limited government, indirect, small-r republican democracy, and capitalism).  They urged that welfare recipients, who are naturally inclined to support political candidates promising to take away the wealth of productive members of society and redistribute it to the poor, be registered to vote in the same welfare offices where society financially supports them.

Cloward and Piven explained their approach in an article titled “Toward a Class-Based Realignment of American Politics: A Movement Strategy,” (Social Policy, Winter 1983).

Their strategy was to enroll “massive numbers of new voters,” but only those that would push the Democratic Party farther to the left:

“[E]nlisting millions of new and politicized voters is the way to create an electoral environment hospitable to fundamental change in American society.  An enlarged and politicized electorate will sustain and encourage the movements in American society that are already working for the rights of women and minorities, for the protection of the social programs, and for transformation of foreign policy.  Equally important, an enlarged and politicized electorate will foster and protect future mass movements from the bottom that the ongoing economic crisis is likely to generate, thus opening American politics to solutions to the economic crisis that express the interests of the lower strata of the population . . . The objective is to accelerate the dealigning forces already at work in American politics, and to promote party realignment along class lines.”

It is one thing to feel compassion for the poor and to provide a government-administered social safety net; it is quite another to encourage them to further burden society by electing politicians who will give them more and more taxpayer dollars.

Nor should taxpayer resources be used to favor one political party over another.  Welfare recipients are more inclined to vote for Democrats than Republicans.

Sanford Newman, founder of ACORN affiliate Project Vote, freely admitted Project Vote’s work helped the Left almost exclusively.

“While our work is nonpartisan, it is realistic to assume that upward of 90 percent of the people we register on unemployment and other social service distribution lines will oppose politicians who have supported cuts in the programs on which they rely,” he said. “They are likely to vote Democratic in most instances.”  (Robert Pear, “Drive to Sign Up Poor for Voting Meets Resistance,” New York Times, April 15, 1984, cited at page 105 of Subversion Inc.)

In 1984, Texas GOP chairman George W. Strake expressed concerns about a Texas policy that foreshadowed Motor-Voter by nearly a decade.  Under the policy Texas used taxpayer resources to register people who were likely to vote for Democrats.  Then-Gov. Mark White, a Democrat, issued an order that state workers “while discharging their regular duties,” had to offer to register people applying for welfare benefits.

Republicans cried foul.  “Everybody who’s eligible should be registered, but here they are using taxpayers’ money to register predominantly Democrats,” said Strake. “There are not a lot of Republicans in the welfare lines.”  (Subversion Inc., page 105)