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Est. April 5, 2002
November 11, 2016 - Issue 674

A Most Cheated Election

"The documented history of dastardly tactics
used to disenfranchise Black voters is nothing
to be proud of.  From literacy tests to voter
intimidation to outright violence against voters,
this Presidential election has out-dastardlied
(oblige me to coin a new word) anything
the US has witnessed in my lifetime."

You would think they’d be ashamed, but they’re not. If they aren’t ashamed of using drones to bomb civilians and governing and/or condoning occupied territories, then they wouldn’t be ashamed of something as insignificant as voting.

Oh wait! Voting is among the most cherish of rights a US citizen can possess …so, voting isn’t insignificant in the least! That means purging voter rolls in Florida and Ohio, closing voting precincts in Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin and not informing recently released persons with misdemeanor convictions (from prison) that they can vote, is absolutely monumental! I predict this 2016 Presidential, including down-ballot elections, will be remembered as the most cheated election since 2000.

I’m writing this commentary before the President-Elect has been called, but I’ll begin by saying this country has a long, dark history of voter suppression and voter intimidation. That history is well-documented too. The documented history of dastardly tactics used to disenfranchise Black voters is nothing to be proud of. From literacy tests to voter intimidation to outright violence against voters, this Presidential election has out-dastardlied (oblige me to coin a new word) anything the US has witnessed in my lifetime.

Some violence has been reported but only at Trump rallies. Republicans pretending to be deaf-dumb-and-blind to Donald Trump’s vicious dog whistles, coupled with a corporate media wink and nod—actually tacit blessings—has poised the media to tip-toe around the multiple ways that voters will be cheated out of their right to vote in this election.

I feel grandly cheated in this election, but I did cast my ballot. I felt that way in the 2000 election also. To begin, the two-party duopoly is a travesty; the icing out legitimate contenders reeks of conspiracy. The 15%

threshold required for third-party participation in the debates (that are really privatized shams) was not only unfair, but the Commission on Presidential Debates changed the criteria for each debate! The shenanigans should be enough to piss off every American with a modicum of common sense. The cheating is baked into the process.

Now, let’s get back to the Election Day shenanigans. I am encouraged that someone besides me sees what Trump is doing. In four states, the Democratic Party filed suits against the organizations behind the voter suppression and intimidation tactics. The Party alleged that Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party are, "conspiring to threaten, intimidate, and thereby prevent minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting."

The lawsuits in Ohio, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania cited the Voting Rights Act and the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. In its filing, the Ohio Democratic Party wrote, "Trump has sought to advance his campaign’s goal of 'voter suppression' by using the loudest microphone in the nation to implore his supporters to engage in unlawful intimidation." The suits also name Trump adviser Roger Stone and his super PAC, Stop the Steal. Trump has repeatedly urged his supporters to monitor polling booths in certain cities on Election Day.

Now, if I notice somebody watching me at the polls, I’m going to be disturbed, and yes, I will confront that somebody; and yes, an “escalated” situation will unfold. But, it’s good for me that I live in Washington, DC—a predominately Black city [barely]—so I don’t expect any voter intimidation despite rapid fire gentrification. (However, I perceive it’s just a matter of time before poll watching begins here).

Why would I even entertain the thought of a violent interaction at the polls? I think about it because of the poison sprinkled throughout this election, in particular this admonition by Trump to his base:

You’ve got to go out. You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to get your friends, and you’ve got to get everybody you know, and you’ve got to watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas. I hear too many bad stories. And we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about. So go and vote and then go check out areas, because a lot of bad things happen. And we don’t want to lose for that reason. We don’t want to lose, but we especially—we don’t want to lose for that reason. So go over and watch, and watch carefully.”

Trumps’ supporters heard him too, like Neo-Nazi Andrew Angler, who with followers of the alt-right website The Right Stuff, planned to “muster thousands to set up hidden cameras at polling places in Philadelphia and hand out liquor and marijuana in the city’s ‘ghetto’ on Election Day to induce residents to stay home.”

Trump’s directive is not only illegal but unconstitutional. It is also ‘trumpeting’ racist acts—dog whistles to return this country to yesteryear. Trump and the Party banner under which he ran are not neophytes at committing racist acts. Republicans’ repeated efforts to disenfranchise previously convicted Black men most recently occurred in Virginia. When Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an order to restore voting rights to 13,000 previously convicted Virginians, the Republican legislature overturned the Governor’s order. Governor McAuliffe vowed to sign each petition one-by-one, if necessary, to effect his gubernatorial order.

Now, I would be remiss if I failed to expound on the loudest dog whistle of this campaign—from Trump, no doubt. During these final three weeks, Trump amped up his assertion of a ‘rigged’ election, a poisonous, unfounded claim.

In Cincinnati, a Tweeter named Saahil Desai reported during early voting that the line at one polling precinct was more than half a mile long. Early voting was like that in Arizona. I can assure you that it’s not because people are excited about casting their ballots in this historic election.

No, it’s because Republican-led legislatures across the country have closed 868 polling precincts, and thereby, voters travel farther to wait both in longer lines and longer to cast their ballots. Who’s affected by these tactics? Poor people and people of color are the ones adversely affected—with the latter group historically and overwhelmingly voting Democratic—resulting in frustration or financial and family obligations that prevent them from waiting, so they leave. Republicans have historically been the victors under those conditions.

This race for US President has been wholly dispiriting, but it has revealed much. Trump exposed more of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s slippery characters, and for that I thank him. He also exposed many of our friends whose social media posts unseated the thin patina that separated the person from the apparent deep-seated racist core. This election exposed the Democratic wizard behind the curtain.

Surprise! Not really. The before now darlings of the Black community, such as Roland Martin and Donna Brazile, were outed as complicit in foisting upon us a dangerously flawed candidate who can only be described as the lesser of two evils. Moreover, leaked emails showed DNC directives ‘to listen to Black Lives Matter but promise/agree to nothing;’ emails showing collusion with CNN to craft questions for Trump and emails exposing a press corp that gave its drafts to the DNC for editing prior to publication.

Any hope of a just nation was smashed into a million fragments with this Election 2016. No one can put this puzzle together (I didn’t say “back together” because this country was never together).

As much as I despise Trump, I’ll say: HE RAN ONE HELLUVA RACE! He cheated; he lied and he stole. He threw morals to the dogs and ethics to the winds. He ran as if he wanted to win—during the last seven days (when he crisscrossed the country, visited 8 cities in one day and handed over his infamous Twitter account to his aides). Up until now, he performed like an idiot, though he beat a band of idiots during the primary. In the end, Trump couldn’t stay out of his own way.

Well, as votes are cast and tallied, I’m finishing this commentary, and will say—for the record—Hillary Clinton will win. For America, it’s a lame win, only because Trump is simply a train, fully loaded with jet fuel as the accelerant, barreling downhill on greased tracks headed straight for a gaggle of distracted worker bees—us! We’re on a collision course, one that demands Progressives coalesce to move our agenda forward toward a more Egalitarian nation. Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ His latest book,
Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.




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