This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 18, 2020:
During a White House ceremony on Tuesday morning celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” — President Trump announced he would be pardoning perhaps its most ardent supporter, Susan B. Anthony.
For her efforts, Anthony was tried and convicted of voting for president in 1872, a time when it was illegal for women to do so.
Said the president:
Later today I will be signing a full and complete pardon for Susan B. Anthony. She was never pardoned. What took so long?
It was a monumental victory for equality, for justice, and a monumental victory for America.
Women dominate the United States. I think we can say that very strongly.
It was also a stroke of political genius by the president. The timing was exquisite. It defanged the virulently anti-Trump media. It quieted feminists for whom Anthony has been an icon for decades. And it honored the Constitution of the United States and its Founders, who crafted into that document the ability to amend it from time to time when and as necessary.
Anthony played a critical role in the women’s suffrage movement, founding first the New York Women’s State Temperance Society in 1852 and then the American Equal Rights Association in 1866. Three years later, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association, later to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
In 1872 she voted for president, knowing that it would lead to a charge of violating federal law. It worked better than she hoped, with the judge directing the jury to convict her, thus turning her into a national hero.
The trial made the national news, and by 1878, she and Stanton successfully offered a constitutional amendment through Senator Aaron Sargent to the U. S. Congress. It was eventually ratified as the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920. Indeed, in the years following ratification, the 19th Amendment was often referred to as “The Anthony Amendment.”
Carl Cannon, the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics, called the President’s announcement “a deft political move … this is genius.” Maggie Haberman of the New York Times called it a blatant “appeal to female voters” coupled with “an effort to distract from the Democratic National Convention.” She claimed that it was a deliberate attempt to “create a news story” during the convention, knowing that “it will be harder to criticize an action benefitting a woman whose actions helped lead to women’s right to vote.”
The president’s announcement was all of that, and more. It not only honored the Constitution and the Founders who built in the amendment mechanism, but it all but silenced the anti-Trump media. How could the Left possibly criticize him for this?
It also defanged the feminists, and disrupted the narrative that Trump is a sexist and a misogynist. Best of all, it distracted attention away from the increasingly irrelevant and boring four-day Zoom conference where Democrats are doing their best to gain traction in their war against the president.