Republicans strike out trying to find a coherent argument against baseball

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Republican attacks against Major League Baseball for its protest of Georgia's racist voter suppression law make no sense.

Congressional Republicans have been on the attack against Major League Baseball after the league moved its All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the state's new racist voter suppression law.

But many of the the attacks Republicans are levying against MLB are incorrect, unfair, or just make no sense at all.

One of the requirements of the new law, signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in March, requires ID to vote by mail. Republicans are claiming that  by opposing the new voting restrictions, the league is somehow being hypocritical for requiring a valid ID to work for the league or to pick up tickets at will-call.

"@MLB, not only can someone not get a job working for your organization without valid identification, people can’t even pick up your baseball tickets at will call without a valid ID," Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted on Saturday.

It's an argument Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also made.

"Hey @MLB, this you?" Mace tweeted, adding a photo of MLB's will-call ticket pick-up policy that states a photo ID is needed.

However, ticket theft is an actual problem for the league. There have been multiple instances of ticket fraud in recent years, including in January 2020, when two former Chicago White Sox employees were charged with selling fraudulent tickets. The scheme cost the White Sox $1 million in lost sales between 2016 and 2019, according to NBC Sports.

In another instance reported just last month, a man was charged with stealing the NBA's Utah Jazz ticket vouchers meant for youth basketball players.

But voter impersonation fraud — which voter ID laws seek to curb — is not a problem.

A study from Loyola University Law School Professor Justin Levitt found that out of more than 1 billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014, there were just 31 incidents of voter impersonation.

And Levitt's study said that some of those 31 incidents had yet to be investigated and would likely turn out to be bogus.

"Requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens," Levitt wrote in a 2014 Washington Post article describing his findings.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thought he got a good dig in at MLB when he tweeted on Monday, "If needing to show an ID to vote is racist, perhaps NY Yankees tickets that average over $100 are discriminatory? Will 'woke' @MLB mandate free tickets to to allow equal access?"

There are a few issues with Paul's attack.

First, the average ticket price at Yankee Stadium is not $100. In 2019, the last normal baseball season before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average ticket price was $47.62, according to a study by Satista.com.

What's more, going to a baseball game is not a right enshrined in the Constitution.

Multiple amendments to the Constitution, however, grant the right to vote, including the 15th Amendment, which said no one should be denied the right to vote based on race; the 19th Amendment, which said no one's right to vote should be denied based on sex; and the 26th Amendment, which eventually granted the right to vote to all citizens over the age of 18.

Multiple other Republicans are arguing that the MLB should be punished or boycotted for its decision to move the All-Star Game — even though these same Republicans have decried so-called "cancel culture," which punishes people or organizations for their views.

"Republicans are fans most likely able to afford Major League Baseball obscene ticket, parking & food prices. #MLB should stay out of politics, or at least adopt pro-America political positions, or risk losing their #GOP fan base," Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) tweeted, a comment that suggests Brooks would only accept MLB engaging in politics if the league took Republicans' side. "Conservatives know how to boycott, too!"

Meanwhile, Brooks complained just last week that "Big Tech" had "silenced" him when YouTube removed a video he posted that lied about voter fraud.

"Can’t win an argument on the merits? Just cancel and silence your opponent," Brooks tweeted of his video's removal. 

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.