the coming months, Democrats will face numerous challenges as they
assume majority leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. As
noted in my most recent column, they must avoid a contentious
leadership fight and prepare to take to take immediate actions
against the continuing assaults on their ability to govern and the
stability of the nation’s democracy. In the coming weeks, we
will examine the major tests they must tackle.
up is ‘Electoral Apartheid’ which is the major threat to
their rule of the House after the 2020 elections. Rapidly changing
American demographics have caused Republicans to aggressively pursue
this South African political strategy. ‘Electoral Apartheid’
legally enforced racial segregation by the nation’s white
minority over the more than 4:1 black majority from 1948, under the
country’s National Party, until blacks ascended to political
power with the election of the nation’s first African
President, Nelson Mandela, in 1994. He was released from prison in
1990 after serving twenty-seven years for allegedly conspiring to
overthrow South Africa’s Apartheid government.
Republican Party is concerned about the rising numbers of ethnic
minorities - Hispanics, African Americans, Asian and Pacific
Islanders, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives - who are
projected, collectively, to become the nation’s majority
population by 2040 or earlier. Several states have already reached
this threshold, including California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, and
the District of Columbia. These groups currently tend to vote for
Democrats as their interests and aspirations are more aligned with
that Party’s platform and initiatives. This is the reason Beto
O’Rourke (D) nearly upset Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in last week’s
are numerous other states on the cusp of this demographic reality.
At present, they include several states that lean Republican,
Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Nevada, Alaska,
Colorado, Mississippi, and others on a fast track to
majority-minority status. While ethnic minorities may have greater
influence in elections over the long term, they still face major
impediments to voting: access to quality education, jobs, economic
clout, political interest, and being engulfed in the criminal justice
system by what law professor, writer, and civil rights advocate,
Michelle Alexander, has termed The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness in her 2010
a recent New York Times essay, The Newest Jim Crow, she
updated her analysis to include e-incarceration. Both forms of
imprisonment substantially erode the voting rights of ethnic minority
males who make up the majority of America’s prison population
and nearly half of the nation’s ethnic minority citizens.
Thus, even as ethnic minorities are growing at a fast pace, their
political impact is seriously hampered by the aforementioned factors.
Anyone who believes that this emerging majority will somehow corrode
the power that white Americans enjoy, through Republican majorities,
need only to look at the history of minority nations around the world
that have been taken over by Europeans including the United States.
are a variety of methods utilized to achieve ‘Electoral
Apartheid.’ The most well-known is the passage of Voter ID
legislation in 34 states, overwhelmingly Republican, along with a few
that are Democratically-inclined. And it has been proposed at the
committee level in the 16 other states and some U.S. territories.
These laws are being and have been confronted via lawsuits that have
reached the Appellate and Supreme Court of the United States
(SCOTUS). The success of Voter ID has passed SCOTUS muster with
victories in Indiana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin so far. Additional
Voter ID cases are now winding their way to SCOTUS.
will likely receive a favorable decision in the aftermath of
President Trump’s appointment of conservative jurists, Neil
Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, to SCOTUS. Their judicial decisions at
the Appellate level seem to cosign Voter ID.
approach to voter suppression is rampant political gerrymandering.
Republicans donors wisely funded the election of Republican
politicians and funded freestanding think tanks and university
research centers for more than three decades to increase their
control of state legislatures and governorships. This has been
explained in detail by Duke University Professor Nancy MacLean in her
2017 National Book Award hardcover, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America. As
Republicans acquired more power, they were poised to redraw state and
federal political districts to give themselves a majority of voters.
This led to Republicans’ 2010 capture of the U.S. House and
their 2014 reclaiming of the U.S. Senate.
that time, Republicans have stacked state, District, Appellate, and
U.S. Supreme Courts with judges who are hostile to ethnic minority
participation in the voting process and who have ruled accordingly at
every level. In addition, these courts have attacked public-sector
unions (collective bargaining), teachers (pay, benefits, and school
funding), ethnic minorities (police mistreatment, mass incarceration,
etc.), immigrants (the so-called Caravan, asylum, and a path to
citizenship), women (reproductive rights), LGBTQ citizens (equality
of treatment), and millennials (access to voting on college campuses)
who just happen to makeup the Democratic base.
Apartheid’ is real. And Democrats must address this issue if
they are to hold their constituents together and turn them out in
2020. Their giddiness about their recent triumphs and Democratic
leaders’ jockeying for the 2020 presidential nomination is
resulting in a lack of focus on what is important to their
maintaining their majority and gaining the presidency.
what may be the Democrat’s most troubling problem is the
upcoming Hillary and Bill Show which will tour the country with
pricey tickets to test the waters for Hillary’s return to
presidential politics to claim the office she believes she rightfully
deserves, like an earlier Democrat, Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956
and Republican Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012, who also failed. This
is unlikely to end well.
sad foray into elective politics again will provide President Trump
with several tons of red meat to continually rev up his base and a
convenient foil to keep them rabid and engaged until the November 3,
2020 presidential, state, House, and Senate elections. Trump is
salivating at the prospect, and it will provide him with an ongoing
distraction as he reinforces the belief that the Democrats are tied
to the past and not the future.