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Est. April 5, 2002
November 17, 2016 - Issue 675

To Protest Now

"Let’s step back, exhale, and first, organize
ourselves into a sustainable movement for
Black self-determination that comprises
a bloc of one million voters."

Don’t get upset now that Trump has won. You wanted to “sit it out” because Bernie was your man.

It’s appropriate that some in America are dissatisfied with the election results that brought Donald Trump to the presidency. It’s also appropriate but unfortunate that a vehemently disenchanted faction of America has been openly demonstrating against Trump’s victory since the day after. Of course, they’re tolerated now and criticized, but in about a month, that will change. They’ll be subjected to much harsher treated - even physically attacked. I hope I’m wrong.

I am of the mind that the disenchanted, dispirited masses must demonstrate in the streets because, if they don’t, the Right will interpret the absence of public protests as “they’re cool with it.” Half of America is not cool with this President-Elect. However, protesting now leads me to ask where these mass protests were when Trump lied and whined his way through the Republican primaries and onward to the coveted White House. More salient, though, is the question of whether or not the demonstrators voted. I do not know, but I do know that Clinton won at least 2 million more votes than Trump. Despite that fact, the Electoral College will cast votes that declare Trump the 45th President of the United States of America - an arcane system that goes against the will of the majority of voters.

The Electoral College is a problem, but not the only problem. Don’t get amnesia: All the distractions of voter fraud claims and “rigged” elections do have merit. Trump’s strategy of non-stop bellyaching that “I am being cheated on; the system’s rigged” - coupled with the Republicans’ long-term strategy of voter suppression - was executed with precision. Besides the Electoral College, the Republican’s 10+/-year strategy to roll back the Voting Rights Act worked. In 2013, the US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, gutted a provision that required states - mostly in the South - to obtain federal approval prior to changes in any election laws. The Court’s decision castrated rational, thinking Americans, reducing them to muted bystanders.

Third, voter fraud is not and has never been a problem. According to Bradford Friedman, an election fraud researcher whose work spans more than a decade, reported that of 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, only 31 incidents of voter impersonation were found - 31 out of 1 billion. Yet, 37 states have enacted the likes of a poll tax and literacy tests as exemplified in burdensome, expensive voter ID laws that Friedman reports collectively kept as many as 22 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote. Who are those disenfranchised voters? They are the elderly, minorities, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters).

In Friedman’s reporting, he wrote, "27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID." The state experienced the lowest turnout in 20 years to which I’ll add: “You do the math.” How much stronger would candidate Clinton and the Democrats have been had they had the guts to campaign on righting the wrongs of voter suppression, including the restoration of voting rights for previously incarcerated individuals? It’s time for Blacks to jettison Democrats who obviously use our alliance for political expediency only.

A fourth example involves the insidious practices of Secretaries of State. For example, in June 2016, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office flagged 7,000 names for removal from the voting roll due to felony convictions. The list contained scores, if not hundreds, of names of people whose voting rights had been restored and another 4,000 voters who had never been convicted of a felony.

In some states, the offices of Secretaries of State routinely purge voter rolls if a voter has not voted in a specified number, for example three, prior elections - and voters learn about the purge the next time they show up to cast their ballots.

But wait there’s more.

Number five: The US Constitution mandates that states conduct a federal census every ten years for the purpose of US Congressional representation. The practice results in redistricting, better known as gerrymandering. Gerrymandering can and, often does, dilute the electoral force of a demographic - usually of Blacks and Latinos. Georgia lawmakers have further eroded the intent of the law by conducting a second census between the 10-year federal benchmarks. Such shenanigans ensure Georgian Republicans stay in power and minorities remain an insignificant bloc in their districts. In fairness, gerrymandering is a legal maneuver used by the currently seated duopoly party (either Democrat or Republican) to hold on to power.

In this “great democracy” of America, we contend with literally 50 different election systems masquerading as a “national” election. Each state, with its own election laws and contracted equipment, creates a hodgepodge rife with disenfranchisement and proprietary software that corporate owners are under no legal obligation –and thus do not - share with state officials. “Fraction magic” is real. Strike six.

And one more: Citizens United, the US Supreme Court ruling that unleashes the influence of corporate money - domestic and foreign - into our elections, which dooms everyday people-power. ‘Nuf said. Strike seven.

The next time someone cites the “investigative” and authoritative journalism of Project Veritas, bite back with facts: 31 incidents of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast over 14 years does not voter fraud make; instead, inform them about Republican-led voter suppression through Voting Rights Act, Voter ID laws, gerrymandering, “Fraction Magic” and other poli-tricks that sideline the Black voice in making America great again.

It makes sense to protest the detestable and bigoted gaffes and actions of Trump, but the normalizing of a ‘rigged system’ looms large. Let’s step back, exhale, and first, organize ourselves into a sustainable movement for Black self-determination that comprises a bloc of one million voters. Then, augment that force to galvanize an all hands-on-deck coalition that includes Millennials and others to straighten out our electoral process to ensure fair and transparent elections. The Electoral College skewered us before (remember bush-Gore 2000?). We Baby-Boomers failed to act en masse, so here we are again. We owe it to our Black progeny not to capitulate but to press on for justice toward achieving a more perfect union. 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.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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