On Wednesday night, Kris Kobach, Republican nominee for Kansas governor and current Kansas Secretary of State, was called out on live TV by CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin for his career-spanning efforts to suppress voting.
The two were appearing on Anderson Cooper’s show. Cooper asked Kobach about the constitutionality of Donald Trump’s suggested policy to end birthright citizenship, something that’s almost certainly legally impossible. Kobach, who is strongly supported by Trump, defended the idea.
Cooper then pointed out that Kobach’s own voter suppression law in Kansas was found unconstitutional by a federal court. “Your critics say you aren’t an expert on the constitution either. In fact, you were ordered to go to six hours of extra classes on the law by the judge,” Cooper noted.
Kobach said that federal judges will “often” disagree on verdicts in controversial cases , suggesting that his verdict, which is currently on appeal, could be overturned.
Toobin decided to get to the point.
“Kris has spent his career trying to prevent black people and poor people from voting,” he said. “That’s been your goal for decades.”
Kobach, apparently not used to hearing the truth stated plainly, expressed shock. “That is an outrageous accusation,” he said, managing to look mildly surprised. “Well it’s completely true,” Toobin responded.
“So if you like voter ID you’re trying to stop people of color from voting?” Kobach asked incredulously. “Absolutely,” Toobin said.
It’s rare to see an interaction like this in the media, not to mention on cable news. If Toobin was playing by standard media debate rules, he would have given Kobach the benefit of the doubt when he suggested that, no, he’s not trying to stop poor brown people from voting, he’s just really worried about voter fraud! But for whatever reason, this night, Toobin was not willing to play along.
Toobin didn’t back down or shrink at Kobach’s outrage over being called what he is: a racist. Instead, he pushed on, calling the voter fraud commission that Kobach was asked to lead by Trump “phony” and “a joke.”
“Your problem is that some people vote for Democrats and you want to stop that,” Toobin said.
Damn! If cable news was like this more often, maybe they could convince anyone under the age of 65 to watch it.