White Patrician Elitist Rep. John Kavanagh Says ‘Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting’ UPDATED

When the United States was founded, it was a white male patrician society: only white men of property were permitted to vote in a majority of states, which prevented poor people, freedmen former slaves, Native Americans, and women from voting.

Following small “r” republican logic, citizens were believed to need an economic stake in society in order to be trusted to vote wisely [i.e., the “right way”]. If a voter lacked economic independence, then it seemed that those who controlled his livelihood could easily manipulate his vote. It was an elitist view.

The presidential election in 1828 was the first in which non-property-holding white males could vote in the vast majority of states. The last state to abolish property qualification for white men was North Carolina in 1856.

White patrician elitist Rep. John Kavanagh would like to return to the not-so-good old days. The Hill reports, Arizona House Republican says party thinks ‘everybody shouldn’t be voting’:

Arizona House Rep. John Kavanagh (R) told CNN that Republican lawmakers are concerned ballots sent without being requested [PEVL] to people who have died or moved could contribute to voter fraud [for which Republican legislators have never presented any credible evidence], while accusing Democrats of being “willing to risk fraud” to get more votes.

“There’s a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “Democrats value as many people as possible voting [democracy!], and they’re willing to risk fraud [false!]. Republicans are more concerned about [nonexistent] fraud [Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth], so we don’t mind putting security [voter suppression] measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting.”

“Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues,” he said. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.

We can’t have poor people and minorities who tend to vote for Democrats voting! The unwashed masses are a mob who resent us wealthy white patrician landowners, and don’t vote the “right way” – we can’t have a democracy!”

“We’re talking human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”


And “totally uninformed on the issues?” Seriously, John? Have you met your Republican Caucus in the Arizona Legislature? You guys comprise a collection of the most ignorant, uninformed dumbasses I have ever encountered in my life. And I’ve done work in the Texas legislature!

Kavanagh also called out Democratic efforts to register voters and get those who haven’t turned in their ballots to do so [i..e “ballot harvesting, a pejorative], saying “you can greatly influence the outcome of the election if one side pays people to actively and aggressively go out and retrieve those ballots.”

Do you mean this actual case of voter fraud by a Republican operative in North Carolina? North Carolina Republican operative charged in election fraud scheme, the only known case of large-scale voter fraud by a ballot harvesting scheme of which you complain actually occurring? Maybe Republicans should stop their illegal conduct.

And that goes double for Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Senator Lindsey Graham, and potentially Mark Meadows (according to a new Wall Street Journal report). Fulton DA’s investigation into Trump heads to grand jury. I anticipate RICO counts for conspiracy to commit criminal election fraud coming.

What this is really all about: Donald Trump told Fox & Friends, “They had things, levels of voting [in the bill] that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

Kavanagh’s remarks come as the Republican-majority legislatures in Arizona and other states are considering [Jim Crow] bills that would institute voting restrictions after former President Trump has claimed falsely that widespread voter fraud tainted the 2020 election.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University found in late February that more than 250 bills that would restrict voting are in circulation across the country, including almost two dozen in Arizona.

Among the bills in Arizona is legislation that passed the state Senate that would mandate voters to include identification paperwork with mail-in ballots. Another, approved by a state House committee, would drop voters from the permanent early voting list if they miss consecutive election cycles.

Arizona Rep. Athena Salman (D) told CNN that she believes Republicans are pursuing the [voter suppression] bills because it’s the party’s “only way” of winning after the state broke for President Biden and Democratic senators in recent elections. Arizona hadn’t broken for a Democratic presidential candidate in more than 20 years.

“They are trying to make it harder for everyone to vote based on the hope and desire that the people who it harms more and who it disenfranchises more are the people less likely to vote Republican,” she said.

Rep. John Kavanagh deserves to be dragged for his patrician elitism and his blatant lies in letters to the editor and in social media posts.  It is long past time for this embarrassment to Arizona to go.

UPDATE 3/13/21 @4:45pm:

Ed.- Mike Bryan, here. Just wanted to add this video commentary about Kavanaugh’s admission from one of my favorite ex-military contractor, redneck, Florida man, yet very liberal journalists, Beau of the Fifth Column:

Representative John Kavanaugh has been making national news for his accidentally a-bit-too-honest revelations of Republican electoral philosophy. Follow @BlogForArizona for the latest news out of Arizona, including continuing coverage of Kavanaugh’s revealing comments.

BTW, I know you read this blog regularly, John, and I see you have commented on this post claiming that your comments were twisted out of context to create a false impression of your beliefs.

You weren’t misquoted; you were revealed.

I call bullshit on your party’s whole “fraud” song and dance. Show us clear evidence of the fraud you claim is occurring. You won’t, because you can’t. Your claims about electoral fraud in mail-in voting are either entirely fictive or wild speculation.

You seek to justify voter suppression of those who won’t vote for Republicans with vapid and baseless conspiracy theories about fraud. It just doesn’t happen like you claim… at least not by Democrats (see AZBlueMeanie’s link about the criminal acts of North Carolina Republicans above).

Your comments have gone viral because they are honestly revelatory of how you, and those like you, actually feel about average voters; we all know that you really DO think that anyone who disagrees with your so-called “conservative” views should have a tougher time getting their votes to count. It’s very kind of you to confirm that for us in your own words.

Voter suppression is what your caucus is engaged in right now across the nation (over 250 bills narrowing voting rights and procedures) and in the AZ legislature (with over 20 bills) attempting to make it marginally harder to vote in all sorts of ways for those who tend not to vote for Republicans.

You really should be ashamed of your own behavior, but you are perhaps too far gone in motivated reasoning and increasingly implausible self-justifications to every see this issue from OUR viewpoint. Ask yourself, just once, if Democrats were trying to disproportionately disadvantage demographic groups who are known to vote Republican at higher rates, what motive would you assign to their actions, however they might justify them?


17 thoughts on “White Patrician Elitist Rep. John Kavanagh Says ‘Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting’ UPDATED”

  1. My whole family, who were born in Arizona, have a terrible “feeling”, that carpet baggers who move to Arizona from New York, need to be excluded from voting or serving in the legislature. And our “feelings and beliefs”, without evidence, needs to be enshrined in law, so that fraudulent voters from New York don’t show up in Arizona.

  2. AZ HCR2002, sponsored by John Kavanagh, is to amend the US Constitution to include maintaining a nine member supreme court.

    Seems he’s worried that Biden may pack SCOTUS the way Ducey did in Arizona a few years ago.

    What was Johnny’s position on Ducey’s packing?

    I thought these Q/Trumpihadi/Teabaggers were all about not changing the constitution?

    I suppose this is the kind of thing someone like Kavanagh would do, protect government as it is, because he’s gotten government checks all his life.

    I wonder if ALEC actually wrote AZ HCR2002?

  3. Garrett Epps writing at the Washington Monthly, “Why Democrats Can’t Wait on Voting Rights”, https://washingtonmonthly.com/2021/03/10/why-democrats-cant-wait-on-voting-rights/


    Wood v. Georgia is a very minor First Amendment precedent; but Judge Long’s instruction to the grand jury is worth careful study. It elegantly states a persistent racist Southern belief: When Black people vote, there is probably vote fraud; when Black-supported candidates win, there is definitely corruption. If not an exchange of money, then “influence” on Black voters, who (unlike whites) don’t really think for themselves. Are the “rumors and accusations” true? Maybe and maybe not, but at any rate white people don’t … well, gosh darn it, they just don’t feel good about it. And when white people don’t feel good, that’s a crisis.

    Note: Sounds eerily similar to John Kavanagh’s comments.

    And remember that, evidence or not, white people’s bad feelings are important. “Many, many citizens in Missouri have deep concerns about election integrity,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said in an op-ed explaining his vote against certifying the election of President Biden. “They want Congress to take action to see that our elections at every level are free, fair, and secure. They have a right to be heard in Congress.”

    Of course, these whites believe it. Of course they are expressing concern about “election security” to their conservative representatives. They’ve been told to believe it, they’ve been told to express concern, they’ve been told to “fight like hell.” And as Judge Long knew, white anxiety in and of itself, “rumors and accusations” without more, are traditionally all that’s needed to spark a cutback on voting.

    But the sincere ignorance of some voters shouldn’t mask the hypocritical cynicism of politicians like Hawley. The best statement of what is really going on came from conservative super-lawyer Michael Carvin, who on March 2 argued in front of the Supreme Court in favor of restrictive Arizona voting laws. Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked Carvin why his client, the Republican National Committee, objected to the counting of ballots cast by registered voters accidentally in the wrong precinct. Carvin’s answer: “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero sum game, and every extra vote they get through unlawful interpretations of [the Voting Rights Act] hurts us.”

    Even the shameless Carvin did not allege these ballots were fraudulent. They were “unlawful,” meaning the Republican party opposed them. They hurt the GOP; therefore, they must not be counted.

    Only one thing can block another rollback of the ballot—action by Congress. Currently pending before the House are the For the People Act of 2021 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The first would require states to expand voter registration and early voting, stop “purging” state voter rolls, and inhibit gerrymandering by requiring states to set up independent redistricting commissions. The second would revive the Voting Rights Act requirement of “preclearance” of election practices by communities (like, say, Georgia) with a history of racist discrimination in voting.

  4. Kavanagh earns yet another report in the Washington Post, “A GOP lawmaker says the ‘quality’ of a vote matters. Critics say that’s ‘straight out of Jim Crow.’”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/03/13/arizona-quality-votes-kavanagh/

    Amid a contentious hearing over proposed restrictions on Arizona’s vote-by-mail system, a Republican state lawmaker argued that voters who hadn’t participated in recent elections should no longer automatically have absentee ballots mailed to them. The reasoning, said state Rep. John Kavanagh (R), is that Republicans care more about alleged voter fraud than Democrats — and that “everybody shouldn’t be voting.”

    Then, despite no evidence presented of dead people voting or residents using absentee ballots that weren’t their own in Arizona, the longtime lawmaker insisted the proposed voting measures in the state, like the hundreds of others in states nationwide this year, reflected how “quality” mattered just as much “quantity.”

    “Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues,” Kavanagh said to the outlet. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”

    His comments have drawn the ire of voting rights experts and critics who accused the Republican of using rhetoric “straight out of Jim Crow” [Twitter https://twitter.com/AriBerman/status/1370057060793077772%5D,as author Ari Berman said, at a time when GOP-controlled legislatures are advocating stricter voting measures across the United States. The push from Republicans comes on the heels of former president Donald Trump promoting baseless claims of voter fraud without evidence for months.

    In Arizona, where close to 80 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail in the last election, the state government has already introduced 24 bills restricting voting rights this year.

    This week alone, the Arizona Senate approved a bill that would require voters to submit identification as part of their mail-in ballots. That was before a state House committee headed by Kavanagh approved the measure on Wednesday to stop mailing ballots to people who haven’t voted in the past four elections.

    Kavanagh’s comments were denounced by voting rights expert Gloria Browne-Marshall, a constitutional law professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as voter suppression that uses “language from the 1800s” in response to the election.

    “When we see states like Arizona that have wanted to suppress the right to vote and found different ways to manipulate law and violence, it’s a slap in the face to democracy at its core,” said Browne-Marshall, the author of “The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justice.” “This is just another level of American hypocrisy.”

    In an interview on Friday, Kavanagh said his words were taken out of context and defended the measure to stop sending some voters mail-in ballots as a matter of election security. He told The Post that his sentiment about “everybody shouldn’t be voting” was referencing “those fraudulent voters, not less-informed people who have every right to vote.”

    Note: WHAT fraudulent voters? Where’s your evidence for your fantasies?

    “I would never support a voter information test to vote,” he said to The Post. “If you can legally vote, you vote. But I don’t think people who are disinterested should be forced to the polls in the interest of turnout.”

    Note: Sen. David Gowan’s bill to limit early mail-in voting WILL force people who vote late to the polls who otherwise could vote by mail. So he does support forcing people to the polls.

    Kavanagh [admits] the concerns surrounding fraudulent voters have been anecdotal. A Post analysis last year of votes cast in three states with all-mail elections found the rate of suspicious ballots cast in 2016 and 2018 to be 0.0025 percent of the total.

    Browne-Marshall said that elected officials alleging or suggesting that dead people voted is “a racial tactic to suppress voters of color.”

    “The slew of proposed voting laws in Arizona and across the country isn’t about voter fraud, because it simply doesn’t exist,” wrote Arizona Republic columnist Elvia Díaz. “It’s about keeping certain people from voting.”

    Critics this week latched onto the term “quality” vote. Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center, said the “not very subtle subtext” of a quality vote means White voters.

    “These remarks have a long, very ugly history in America,” Waldman said. “When you say something like this, it’s about race or class — not quality or election integrity.”

    [W]hile some of these bills in Arizona and nationally have gained momentum and could pass, the imposition of new restrictions might actually end up inspiring more people to turn out to vote, said Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University.

    “Who is to say what is a quality vote?” said Lichtman, author of “The Embattled Vote in America.” “There is no vote god to define who is casting a quality vote.”

  5. This is another one of JK’s racist little outings that going to end up costing Arizona taxpayers a few million US dollars while it gets beat down in court.

  6. My comment on March 12, 2021 at 7:59 pm was meant for Rep. John Kavanagh, who seems intent on digging his hole deeper and incapable of coherent thought.

  7. Dude, how do you not see this is making it worse.

    Deciding to vote at the last minute on election day is the choice of the person voting, not you.

    You do not get to decide this for other Americans.

    Next, show us this voter fraud, please, since you’re actually in government you should have first hand knowledge, but it sounds like you’re just throwing up Fox News talking points and not doing any actual thinking for yourself.

    You’re either lying or lazy or both.

    Corrupt, unAmerican, and embarrassing for Arizona.

    Do the honorable thing and resign.

  8. Hopefully, the BfA editors have not ceded to AZBlueMeanies call to censor me from blogs and my reply to CNN’s attack will be printed. Here it is:

    My critics are cleverly merging two of my comments on different voting topics to create a false narrative that they can use to attack me personally and Republican concerns about voter fraud facilitated by too many early ballots being mailed to addresses where the voter died or has moved, thus creating the opportunity for a fraudulent voter vote using the moved or deceased person’s ballot to illegally vote. My quote “…”but everybody shouldn’t be voting” referenced those fraudulent voters not less informed people who have every righty to vote.

    The second quote about uninterested and uninformed voters concerned the wisdom of automatically registering everyone and mailing ballots to everyone, which creates more fraud possibilities. I think all legally eligible voters should vote but I do not want to register people who are disinterested and do not want to be registered to vote. We should respect their wishes but hope that they someday enter the community of voters.

    Especially unfair and deceitful were some critics twisting my words to imply that I supported poll taxes or tests to qualify to vote. I guess for some zealots, the end justifies the means.

    • Rep Kavanagh,

      Trumpites such as yourself are wailing about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election (where there is no evidence of voter fraud), but I never once heard a complaint from a Republican about voter fraud in Florida in 2000.

      When I think about what a Gore presidency might have been. Instead, we got neo-cons and endless war and a stock market crash that damn near started a
      worldwide depression.


    • 20 states and the District of Columbia have enacted automatic voter registration. https://ballotpedia.org/Automatic_voter_registration

      You have failed to present any credible evidence of voter fraud occurring in any of these states. And there is an opt-out provision for automatic voter registration in all of these jurisdictions, so people who do not want to be registered to vote have that option. Of course, you know this and you are being disingenuous.

      You have also failed to present any credible evidence of voter fraud occurring with early mail-in ballots in Arizona. I provided you the only known example, a Republican operative in North Carolina, who I believe was convicted. The only cases of voter fraud in Arizona have been “snowbirds” from other states dual voting in both states. As I recall, almost all of these dual voting cases were Republican voters.

      I said nothing about a poll tax, and my reference to literacy tests was in an another post about Sen. Mesnard’s voter suppression bill in the Senate. If you vote for this bill, you are indeed voting for a literacy test.

      And what’s this nonsense about “censoring” you? “Dragging” means to criticize you mercilessly for your blatant lies and ignorance. Spare me that “cancel culture” Fox News crybaby bullshit.

  9. Congrat’s John Kavanagh!

    Politics is show biz for ugly people and you’re crushing it, everyone nationwide is talking about you! You’re a ratings success!

    You’ve distracted people from Potato Heads and Whos in WhoVille and redirected national attention to where it belongs, on just how hateful and sad your party is.

    Take the rest of the day off, you’ve earned it!

    Better yet, do the right thing for once in your life and resign.

  10. CNN noticed John Kavanagh and his comments were talked about on Don Lemon’s show last night.

    Way to go, John. You’ve now succeeded in getting national recognition for your bigotry and racism.

  11. The Republican push to enact hundreds of new voting restrictions could potentially amount to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access since the end of Reconstruction, a Washington Post analysis has found. “GOP-backed measures could create hurdles for millions of voters”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/voting-restrictions-republicans-states/

    Paul Waldman adds, “Republicans have stopped pretending they aren’t trying to suppress Democratic votes”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/03/11/republicans-have-stopped-pretending-they-arent-trying-suppress-democratic-votes/

  12. Phillip Bump of the Washington Post writes, “How to tell if you are casting a ‘quality’ vote”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/03/11/how-tell-if-you-are-casting-quality-vote/

    The idea that some people are simply too ignorant to vote has a long and obviously toxic history. Intelligence and literacy tests were a central part of the effort to limit Black voting in the Jim Crow South, though those tests were predicated on excluding Black votes — not on any actual question of intelligence.

    This is the fundamental measure being applied: those voters who disagree with me are necessarily too ignorant to vote.

    Last year, researchers from MIT and Columbia University published a study considering how aware voters were of political news.

    Their findings: “[T]he average individual in the best-informed group (wealthy white men aged 47 and more) is about 47% more likely to know the typical news story compared to the average individual in the least-informed group (low-income minority young women).” That former group, of course, is much more likely to be Republican than the latter.

    Much of that difference in awareness of news stories, though, derives from the racial difference. Whites are far more likely to be familiar with news stories than are non-Whites[.]

    [An inherent racial bias.]

    If the measure of being informed on the issues is awareness of political news, older White men tend to score significantly higher.

    But “familiarity with news stories” isn’t necessarily the proper measure for evaluating “being informed on issues” — or even a very good one.

    [W]hich brings us to the question at the heart of Kavanagh’s discussion with CNN: voter fraud. Pew asked respondents if fraud committed with mail ballots had been a major problem, minor problem or not a problem in presidential elections. Objectively speaking, voter fraud using mail ballots has on rare occasion been an issue in local or regional races. There’s no evidence that it has been a significant problem in presidential contests.

    Yet about 4 in 5 conservative Republicans think that it is at least a minor problem, with half saying it’s a major problem.

    Kavanagh himself reveals his position here, stating that Democrats are “willing to risk fraud” if it means more people vote. This implies a false choice between expanded access to voting and increased fraud.

    A Washington Post analysis of votes cast in three states that have all-mail elections found that the rate of suspicious ballots cast in 2016 and 2018 was 0.0025 percent of the total. That’s not 0.0025 percent of the votes cast were fraudulent; it’s that a tiny fraction of ballots cast might have involved double-voting or votes cast by dead people.

    But, of course, only a quarter of Americans were even aware last year that some [five] states conducted their elections entirely through the mail.

    Perhaps Kavanagh didn’t know that. Awareness of the fact was higher among Democrats.

  13. I was in a socially distancing line, with mask, at an early voting Senior citizen site, October 2020. There were four other seniors in there voting at the same time. All old white males. One was so deaf he couldn’t here the instructions from the poll worker, “huh? What’s ya say?” One insisted he received six mailed ballots already in the mail (the special interest mailings to order an early ballot). The poll worker calmly told him those weren’t ballots, just requests for ballots. He insisted there were six ballots. He got to vote. One other was in a wheelchair and needed assistance in the booth. I guess these would be voters John K would insist should not vote, although in the demographic likely for his tribe. He doesn’t even bother to hide his ODIOUS nonsense now that’s its on National News. I guess John would be helpful to the Burmese, China and Russian regimes to make sure the “right” people vote. It’s a national conspiracy to surpress votes.

  14. Representative John Kavanagh has declared that “everybody shouldn’t be voting”, and I think that he is right about that. All of the state and federal right-wing fascist wannabe Representatives and Senators who have taken us down this un-American primrose path, should lose the right to run for public office, and like every person coming out of prison should have to apply to get their voting rights restored. Why are these people being elected and re-elected? They show us every day who they are.

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