Republican Voting Suppression Efforts Further Alienate the Black Vote!

Internal polling conducted by the Romney camp indicated that the patrician multi-millionaire would win the 2012 election over the incumbent Barack Obama.  In fact, Karl Rove had a famous meltdown on Fox News insisting Romney would carry Ohio and thus win the election, although Fox pollsters correctly projected President Obama as the winner.  After the ignominious defeat,the Republican party released a prescient, aptly-named “autopsy report” which stated the party must evolve to be more inclusive and welcoming of minorities or die.  Ironically,the co-author of the autopsy report has now left the Republican party because of Trump’s bellicosity.   

Donald Trump before entering the Republican primary gained widespread notoriety by claiming that President Barack Obamawas an illegitimate president born outside the United States. He catapulted to Republican primary victory after primary victory by claiming that Mexicans entering this country illegallywere “criminals” and “rapists.”  His idea of appealing to black voters is to describe their communities as some sort of violent, dystopian hellscapes.  In Trump’s own words: "You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed—what the hell do you have to lose?" In actuality, unemployment among black youth is about a third of the figure Trump cites. 

“Unsurprisingly, Trump’s outreach has not moved the needle among black voters. But neither is Trump’s outreach mere reassurance to white voters that he is not prejudiced against people of color. It is something far more insidious, an incessant reiteration of the worst stereotypes about black people. Trump has taken racist beliefs about black Americans––the idea that blacks are violent, uneducated, unemployed criminals––and repackaged them as expressions of concern about the problems of crime, poverty, and education.”

Trump has undoubtedly buried the Republican Party’s autopsy report, excuse the pun!  He has set the Republican party’s outreach efforts back light years. Trump now has  four percent support among likely voters who are African-American.According to the New York Times, “Exit polls for the previous four elections showed Republican candidates receiving 4 to 11 percent support from black voters.”  As long as the Republican party continues its voting suppression efforts, distrust will be the norm among blacks.  

For example, after passing a strict voter ID law in Texas in 2011,  the Department of Justice took the state to court and won.  After several rounds of the state defying court orders and the judge threatening contempt charges,  Texas agreed that citizens who do “not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot obtain one due to a reasonable impediment” may vote after signing a document called the Reasonable Impediment Declaration.  

Texas officials are defiant still!  There are still complaints that poll workers are reluctant to tell voters they can cast a ballot without photo identification. Posters hang which inaccurately describe the rules. All of this misinformation confuses voters and suppresses turnout, which is very likely the intention. 

According to the New York Times”  “In Kansas, the chief elections official, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, agreed last month to add nearly 20,000 properly registered voters to the state’s rolls only after being threatened with contempt of court.”

In North Carolina, the federal appellate court invalidated much of a law that the court said was designed with “almost surgical precision” to limit the African-American vote. Still this month in North Carolina, “plaintiffs complained to a judge that early-voting plans in five populous counties, including Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, embraced some of the discriminatory practices that federal courts had outlawed this summer,”according to the New York Times.

In Indiana, state police raided the offices of a voter registration group and the “roughly 45,000 newly registered voters in Indiana — almost all of whom are black — may not be allowed to vote next month,” according to Think Progress. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott refused to extend the deadlinefor voter registration in the state despite  ordering millions to leave their homes because of Hurricane Matthew.  It is like a perfect storm for Republicans to first evacuate a state and then to make sure people can not register to vote when they return. A federal judge called his decision “wholly irrational” and extended the deadline. The list just goes on and on.   Republicans know that their policies work against the best interests of a majority of Americans and thus try to limit the vote to an angry, aggrieved white voting base as much as they possibly can.  Fortunately, they are facing a demographic tsunami which then forces their voting suppression efforts to be more and more blatantly discriminatory.  The idea of widespread voting fraud is a joke.  According to the Washington Post: “But there is overwhelming scholarly and legal consensus that voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and in fact non-existent at the levels imagined by voter ID proponents.”

According to the New York Times: “To Barry Burden, who directs the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, such episodes mirror a growing, worrisome use of election rules as tools to win elections, not run them fairly.”

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