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Cawthorn shows ignorance on current issues

By Erick Mendez • Guest Columnist | According to the U.S. House records, at 25 years old, Madison Cawthorn — who will represent the 11th District and Western North Carolina — will become the youngest elected member of Congress in history. Cawthorn has styled himself as a leader of a new generation of conservatives, unafraid to criticize the Republican Party; however, Cawthorn has adopted President Trump’s tactics, particularly in basing his candidacy on a foundation of lies, only further confirming Cawthorn’s intentions as a sycophant to Trump’s agenda. As a native Western North Carolinian and a member of Generation Z, I felt compelled to voice my concerns against the elected congressman representing my hometown nestled in the heart of these Blue Ridge Mountains.

Over the duration of the congressional race between Madison Cawthorn and his Democratic opponent, Moe Davis, Cawthorn repeatedly demonstrated his moral and intellectual deficiencies as a congressional candidate and human being. When he was not misleading about his rejection from the Naval Academy or trivializing his endorsements by his former colleagues and the president of Patrick Henry College (PHC), only to have alumni of PHC sign an open letter denouncing Cawthorn for the public misrepresentation of his past, and self-admitted academic failings, Cawthorn is prevaricating about his many inappropriate sexual misconduct allegations from his former female colleagues. In only a few short weeks since winning his congressional seat, before he has even sworn the oath of office, Cawthorn has disappointingly demonstrated his focus is not the residents of Western North Carolina (WNC). Instead, it is to inflame the divisions between us further and give credence to President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud that ultimately undermine American democracy.

Rather than commit to working across the aisle to achieve desperately needed stimulus for our small businesses or push for the fundamental necessity of accessible broadband internet across WNC, Cawthorn has advocated for establishing “integrity in our elections” and sanctioned the implementation of voter ID laws in North Carolina. By doing so, he only further fuels a baseless crusade against voter fraud, which has not been proven to be systemic or widespread enough to have affected the outcome of any election, including his own. In addition, Cawthorn also endorsed the frivolous Texas lawsuit filed by Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, to invalidate the presidential election. Such rhetoric from duly elected members of Congress is tantamount to sedition and treason against the republic and is antithetical to the principles of democracy itself.

Existing research from the University of California San Diego found that photo ID laws have a particularly depressive effect on turnout rates among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups, worsening the participation gap between voters of color and whites. By initiating strict voter ID laws, states can alter the electorate and shift outcomes toward those on the right, contributing to Republicans and their national partisan advantage. Meanwhile, voter ID laws continue to be enforced in a discriminatory manner; minority voters disproportionately lack photo identification; nationally, up to 25 percent of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo identification, compared to only 8 percent of whites. Since Madison Cawthorn and the GOP he so claims to be independent of has been unable to prove widespread voter fraud, perhaps, disenfranchising people of color, such as myself, is his genuine intention?

Nonetheless, even if they could prevent voter fraud, it is imperative to note that state legislatures control such rules for voter ID laws, leaving Madison Cawthorn with a minimal role in creating such legislation even though the GOP-controlled General Assembly is already in support of such a measure.

To be fair, though, most citizens are unaware of the federal government’s complexities and which elected officials would be responsible for such a role. It would seem Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn is, as well. 

(Erick Mendez is from Franklin and is a graduate student at Western Carolina University. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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