To clear the way for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton to capture the White House this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe unilaterally acted to restore the voting rights of 206,000 convicted violent and nonviolent felons in his important battleground state last week.
The move, which critics say violates the state constitution, is without precedent in Virginia's history and is particularly noxious and authoritarian coming as it did two days after the state's General Assembly adjourned.
The push to mainstream felons comes as Barack Obama, the most radical left-wing American president in history, is defining deviancy down by attempting to de-stigmatize criminality. The Left views criminals -- especially minorities -- as victims of society, oppressed for mere nonconformism. Because it needs their votes, the Left is pressing for the restoration of felons' voting rights. And it also supports legislation "banning the box," that is, banning employment applications that ask if the applicant has a criminal record.
And like President Obama, McAuliffe apparently revels in signing executive orders to accomplish what lawmakers would never approve. McAuliffe's order also classified all drug-related convictions as "non-violent, shortening the application for more serious offenders from 13 pages to one page, [and] removing a requirement that individuals pay their court costs before they can have their rights restored," his office indicated.
"Previous Virginia governors have restored rights on an individual basis, but none has done it for an entire category of offenders with one pen stroke," the Richmond Times-Dispatch observes.
Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R) said "the timing of this action should give all legislators pause."
House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R) blasted the blanket re-enfranchisement of criminals.
"The singular purpose of Terry McAuliffe's governorship is to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States," Howell said. "This office has always been a steppingstone to a job in Hillary Clinton's cabinet."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton thanked her longtime lackey on Twitter. "Proud of my friend [McAuliffe] for continuing to break down barriers to voting."
And McAuliffe, who is barred from seeking reelection, promised to re-enfranchise even more felons --including more violent offenders-- before his term of office expires in January 2018.
Adding felons to the voter rolls in the Old Dominion will go a long way towards helping Clinton, the likely Democrat nominee, put Virginia in her party's column this November.
But left-wing politicians like McAuliffe know enough not to admit in public what they're really doing.
Churning out holier-than-thou claptrap about what good people felons really are deep down, left-wingers typically clothe themselves in moral garments, to borrow a phrase from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.
Posing as a civil rights trailblazer, the shamelessly corrupt McAuliffe said:
“If we are going to build a stronger and more equal Virginia, we must break down barriers to participation in civic life for people who return to society seeking a second chance. We must welcome them back and offer the opportunity to build a better life by taking an active role in our democracy. I believe it is time to cast off Virginia’s troubling history of injustice and embrace an honest, clean process for restoring the rights of these men and women.”
Laughably, he claims that putting 206,000 felons on the voter rolls months before a critical presidential election isn't a ploy to help Democrats win elections.
The governor's own braggadocious press release belies his claim the dramatic action wasn't motivated by political considerations.
"Previous to today’s action," it states, "the McAuliffe Administration restored the rights of more than 18,000 Virginians, which is more than the past 7 governors combined over their full four-year terms."
The 206,000 figure for newly enfranchised felons is more than 11 times McAuliffe's own previous record of 18,000-plus -- and is substantially more than President Obama's relatively thin 149,000 margin of victory over Mitt Romney (R) in Virginia in 2012.
So it's clear the fix is in for Virginia.
McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman long in the service of Bill and Hillary Clinton, even took a thinly veiled shot last week at Republicans, the party most supportive of measures ensuring the sanctity of the ballot box and combatting the rampant vote fraud facilitated by the Left.
“Too often in both our distant and recent history, politicians have used their authority to restrict peoples’ ability to participate in our democracy," McAuliffe said, implying that letting murderers and child molesters vote is somehow good for society.
"Today we are reversing that disturbing trend and restoring the rights of more than 200,000 of our fellow Virginians who work, raise families and pay taxes in every corner of our Commonwealth,” said the governor as he laid down a rhetorical smokescreen calculated to dupe so-called low-information voters.
Whether there is in fact such a "disturbing trend" is an arguable point and it is far from clear if those 206,000 Virginia felons actually do lawful work, raise families, and pay taxes, as McAuliffe claims. Within five years of release, 77 percent of state prisoners are arrested for new crimes, according to "Multistate Criminal History Patterns of Prisoners Released in 30 States," published by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2015.
Letting felons vote tends to hurt Republicans because criminals are a natural Democratic Party constituency. President Obama and the radical leaders of his party see criminals as political allies and misunderstood, oppressed members of a racist society that hates the poor. This is one of the reasons Obama wants to empty the prisons and forbid employers from inquiring about the criminal history of job applicants.
GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz slammed felon re-enfranchisement on the campaign trail in December. He told radio host Hugh Hewitt that Democrats "go in and fight to give the right to vote to convicted felons. Why? Because the Democrats know convicted felons tend to vote Democrat."
Radical left-wingers want to free half the nation's prisoners --including many violent offenders-- a move that would cause an upsurge in crime rates for decades to come.
To many of today's leftists criminality itself is an illegitimate concept. The mindless chanting of the slogan "no one is illegal" at open-borders rallies is part of the same school of thought.
Spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union and bankrolled by radical speculator George Soros, the "end mass incarceration" movement wants to reduce the U.S. prison population by 50 percent within the next 10 to 15 years.
Of course, few politicians are more supportive of going easy on criminals than Hillary Clinton.
After all, only luck has kept her from donning an orange jumpsuit herself. No wonder she's so supportive of restoring felons' right to vote.