It’s no secret that for years now the popular media personality Rachel Maddow has railed against nullification. Consistent with her partisan Democrat disposition she fear-mongered the return of institutional racism, secession and civil war whenever she approached the subject. Her conclusion was that nullification is a hysterical, reactionary, right-wing radicalism that has no place in modern American politics.

But Maddow has apparently had a change of heart – at least in one case.

The inconsistency is not really new. For example, she would regularly qualify the word nullification by putting it in quotations, as if she only opposed some particular definition of it. It was also evident that she recognized that not all conservatives were “hysterical” because she cited the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation in one of her anti-nullification arguments. Perhaps agreeing with Republicans gave her pause because soon after, in another post, she conceded the legitimacy of the anti-commandeering doctrine – a major step. That was all several months ago. (You can learn more about the anti-commandeering doctrine here.)

One case stands above the rest. In a recent video, Maddow endorses Democratic candidate Edward Fitzgerald against John Kasich for Governor of Ohio. Her problem with Kasich, besides being Republican, is his manipulation of voting laws that, in her view, harm Democrats who wish to challenge Republican incumbents like Kasich.

Sound familiar?

You might recall that Ohio Libertarians are also at odds with Republican incumbents. Both Charlie Earl, running for governor, and Steven Linnabary, vying for attorney general, are facing rules changes that threaten to exclude them and other third party candidates from the ballot in Ohio. They both feel slighted and are currently appealing to the courts for permission to run. To be clear, Maddow’s complaints against the Rebublican establishment in Ohio extend beyond the interests of just Democrats.

In her endorsement, Maddow proudly described how Edward Fitzgerald didn’t have to rely on the courts to deal with his grievance about new absentee ballot laws in Ohio. As County Executive of Cuyahoga County (the largest county in Ohio) he persuaded council to approve a county “nullification” law, defying the state of Ohio, that declared that absentee ballots would be distributed in the county anyway. Stealing a play from the federal government playbook against unruly states, Kasich and Ohio threatened to sanction Cuyahoga County by withholding state funds. Immediately after Fitzgerald appealed to US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice for help the matter was dropped.

It’s yet another nullification win, sort of, only this time Rachel Maddow is happy about it. Enjoy.

Tod Damask

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