Dirty Tricks Watch

Shooing away black voters in Baltimore.

On the Weekly Standard Web site, Jonathan V. Last argues that Democrats have become the party of dirty tricks. But the Nov. 4 Baltimore Sun reports a stunt that suggests Republicans haven’t lost their touch since the heyday of Donald Segretti. It’s a flyer that was distributed in black neighborhoods in Baltimore. Joshua Micah Marshall has posted a copy on “Talking Points,” his political Weblog. Here is the text:


Come out to vote on November 6th [sic]


Before you come to vote make sure you pay your

—parking tickets
—motor vehicle tickets
—overdue rent


Chatterbox can’t prove that this leaflet was distributed by Republicans, but since Baltimore’s black population is overwhelmingly Democratic, that seems a safe assumption. If there’s an uglier example of dirty tricks from this election season, Chatterbox hasn’t seen it.


[Update, Nov. 5: In National Review Online, Joel Mowbray makes the case  that the flyers were a Democratic plant meant to inflame African-Americans against the GOP. Thus enraged, they would then descend in droves on Baltimore’s polling places. The trouble with this theory, apart from its violation of the principle of Occam’s Razor, is that the Democratic plotter would have to be clever enough to concoct this devious flyer, yet stupid enough to think that word of the GOP’s treachery could be disseminated fast enough to affect turnout. To be successful, a con like this would have needed to be carried out weeks before Election Day in order to make sure that the maximum number of people heard about the counterfeit dirty trick.]