-
Thursday, May 26, 2022

OPINION:

Where does Atlanta go to get the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game back?

Amid outrage jointly spewed by Democrats and the media over Georgia’s new election integrity law, Major League Baseball pulled last year’s midsummer classic from Atlanta and awarded it to Denver instead. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he did so because baseball “supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”


Mr. Manfred no doubt had been paying attention to the hyperventilating and hyperbole coming out of the nation’s newsrooms in the spring of last year.

MSNBC ran a story under a headline that blared, “GOP advances new voting restrictions, worst ‘since the Jim Crow era,’” which highlighted the new law in Georgia and similar efforts in other states. 

The piece quoted David Leonhardt of The New York Times, who had written that Republicans were “trying to make voting more difficult, mostly because they believe that lower voter turnout helps their party win elections.”

University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald provided the quote for MSNBC’s headline by saying, “We are witnessing the greatest rollback of voting rights in this country since the Jim Crow era.”

Nick Corasaniti, also of The New York Times, chimed in that Georgia was trying to “restrict voting access in the state” and picked up the Democrats’ claim that the law “unfairly targets voters of color.”

NBC mischaracterized the law, claiming that it added “a host of restrictions, including requiring identification for mail voting and making it illegal to take food or water to voters in line.”

First, numerous public polls show that voter ID laws are wildly popular, including among large majorities of Black voters and Democrats. Second, the Georgia law merely banned political operatives from offering candidate-branded items. Poll workers are specifically allowed to provide water to thirsty voters.

Through the uproar, the media — as it does — adopted the language of the left, repeatedly referring to the controversy as a “voting rights” issue, although no one has ever identified a single voter who would be prevented from voting under the new rules.

CNN even ran a series under the branding “Voting Rights Under Attack.”

President Biden, of course, was emboldened by the support he received from the media and launched what may be the most ludicrous political attack of his five-decade career.

“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” Mr. Biden thundered. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

It followed, then, that Georgia would be under great scrutiny when the 2022 elections rolled around.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Jim Crow 2.0 — voter participation actually increased.

The Associated Press was forced to report that a “record number of ballots” were cast during the three-week early voting period, which hinted that in-person voting might go smoothly as well. 

Nevertheless, on the day before people voted in person on Election Day, NBC’s Yamiche Alcindor alleged that Republicans believe that “Black people don’t deserve the access to citizenship in the way that other Americans do.”

But sure enough, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that “voters encountered short lines and limited problems” this past Tuesday.

And according to National Review, turnout dramatically increased for both parties in Georgia compared to the last election.

In 2018, a little more than 600,000 people voted in the first round of the Republican primary, which ultimately ended in a runoff. This week, nearly 1.2 million people voted in the GOP primary.  

On the Democrat side, there was growth as well. In 2018, a little more than 555,000 people voted in their primary, compared to over 708,000 this time, even though second-time candidate Stacey Abrams was running unopposed.

And still, some members of the media clung to their narrative, claiming that the high voter turnout numbers didn’t prove a thing. In a tweet that can only be described as a conclusion looking for supporting evidence, liberal journalist Aaron Rupar said, “Just because more people are voting doesn’t mean it’s not harder to do.”

What truly would be hard to do is to restore the tens of millions of dollars of economic impact lost by Atlanta businesses, many of them Black-owned, when baseball moved the All-Star Game to Denver.

Following the explosive voter turnout in Georgia, Major League Baseball won’t say if it harbors any regrets about making that decision in 2021. But since Mr. Manfred has been frantically tinkering with the rules of baseball to try to revive a dwindling fan base, perhaps he can find the authority to grant Atlanta a do-over.

But don’t count on it.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and the founder and principal of Line Drive Public Affairs, a communication consulting firm.


Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.