How The ACORN Scandal Seeded Today’s Nightmare Politics

Breitbart led the charge, but Democrats delivered the killing blow. Has anyone really learned?

By Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney | The Huffington Post | May 5, 2018


It did not occur to Bertha Lewis to be afraid.

She was watching the final presidential debate of 2008, and John McCain had just said something insane. “We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy,” the Arizona Republican proclaimed.

Lewis had been leading ACORN ― the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now ― for about five months. ACORN advocated for the poor. In addition to helping families navigate federal aid programs, the group ran campaigns to improve city sanitation, protested against predatory lenders and registered people to vote. The nation’s top Republican politician had just declared this body of work tantamount to stealing an election.

“It was absurd,” Lewis said in a recent interview. “Those words had no meaning.”

If anything, Lewis reasoned, the attack was probably good news. Republicans had always loathed ACORN, in no small part because poor voters tend to vote Democrat, but open, inflammatory denunciations of the group we