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Est. April 5, 2002
May 30, 2019 - Issue 791

Other Barriers to Democrats
Securing 2020 Voters of Color

"Republicans are pulling out all stops in their
efforts to reelect President Trump, retain control
of the U.S. Senate, and to regain control of the
U.S. House of Representatives.  And like their
rogue President, Donald J. Trump, they are attempting
to achieve these outcomes (and are doing so)
by unethical and illegal means."

Splinters from the 2020 Democratic Presidential Campaign Trail

  • After stating that he would be the “…most pro-public education President ever,” 2020 presidential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), bent the knee for his corporate Cartel of school choice backers by issuing a resolution to celebrate National Charter Schools week, May 12-18. He had taken too much of their money to remain silent on a week they established to honor their accomplishments. Booker was joined by his fellow Democratic contender, Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO), also in the Cartel’s pocket, the only two of the 24 Democratic presidential aspirants to do so.

  • Beto O’Rourke is trying to resuscitate his flagging 2020 presidential campaign, and his wife, Amy, persists in promoting corporate charter schools in the El Paso, Texas region while she stumps with him before public school teacher groups in Iowa and elsewhere who oppose charter schools.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) continues to upstage her African American male opponents, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam (D) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), in the fight for the black vote in the February 29, 2020 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary.

  • The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), led by Trump’s two recent appointees, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, has given Republicans a leg up in 2020 by placing a decision on electoral redistricting in Ohio and Michigan on hold until after the 2020 elections.

Republicans are pulling out all stops in their efforts to reelect President Trump, retain control of the U.S. Senate, and to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. And like their rogue President, Donald J. Trump, they are attempting to achieve these outcomes (and are doing so) by unethical and illegal means. Democrats, in contrast, seem to be oblivious to the venality of Republicans in maintaining their power. And they are being outflanked on numerous fronts.

A 2018 Congressional election in North Carolina revealed that black absentee ballots, in a heavily black rural county, were misappropriated by a white field consultant for a Republican candidate who won the race by less than a 1,500 vote margin. After an investigation by the North Carolina State Elections Board, the race was nullified, and a new election is being held.

Attacks on minority voter registration and actual theft of votes are focal points of Republicans. Brian Kemp, while serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State and running for governor in 2018, essentially stole the election from his African American opponent, Stacey Abrams by rejecting tens of thousands of black voters’ registration forms, and intimidating black voters at polling stations.

Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill on May 2nd that imposes penalties of $2,000 for each county for 100 deficient forms (and up to $10,000 per county where the number exceeds 500) when a voter registration association with paid workers submits them. This law was hastily put together and passed after the state’s top election official, a former Republican lawmaker, said the crush of applications after the Tennessee Black Voter Project turned in 90,000 voter registration applications and the errors they contained created a dangerous situation.

The emphasis of the bill is on the Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga and other Tennessee communities with high black population concentrations. The objective is to depress black voter turnout in these areas which would affect local, statewide, and presidential elections. As the demographics of southern states increasingly trend minority and Democratic, these actions will bear fruit for a Republican Party that is becoming mostly white with a decreasing population.

In Texas, Acting Secretary of State, David Whitley, led a botched voter purge of almost 100,000 naturalized U.S. citizens (nearly all of whom were Hispanic) in a quest to ensure the integrity of elections. He alleged that of these individuals, 58,000 had voted illegally in at least one Texas election, and he sent out letters threatening to disenfranchise them unless they proved their citizenship within 30 days. After a cursory review of already available documents, and numerous lawsuits, a federal judge blocked the purge, stating that Whitley’s “ham-handed” and “threatening” voter purge endeavor “exemplifies the power of government to strike fear and anxiety and to intimidate the least powerful among us.” Whitley resigned after the judge’s ruling.

But the slickest and most effective approaches are the utilization of black and other minority local and state political and grassroots leaders who are able to entice a slice of black voters to cast ballots for Republicans or to not vote. The corporate Cartel of school choice advocates is distributing significant money to local African American leaders via grants for their voucher and charter schools and nonprofits and to black politicians for their elections.

For example, in North Carolina, the Cartel has carved out a third of the legislature’s Black Caucus to carry its water on school choice and other private-sector issues. They have also allied with black school choice leaders from the national black school choice network. In 2014, Dr. Howard Fuller, the Cartel’s foremost African American school choice promoter, came to North Carolina to appear with and campaign for school choice with the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Thom Tillis, under the guise of a book tour for his autobiography, No Struggle, No Progress: a Warrior's Life from Black Power to Education Reform (2014). He helped Tillis narrowly defeat a Democratic incumbent, Sen. Kay Hagan, who ran with the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

Milwaukee has long been a hub for Cartel-funded African American school choice advocates whom it has deployed, along with Fuller, all over the country during election cycles since the 1990s. Included in this group are the late Annette Polly Williams (D), a former Wisconsin State Representative; former Milwaukee County Supervisor and State Representative Beth Coggs-Jones (D); Mikel Holt, Associate Publisher of the Milwaukee Community Journal, Wisconsin’s largest black newspaper; State Senator Lena Taylor (D), who supported Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, when she headed the American Federation of Children; and current State Representative Jason Fields (D).

They have been effective in helping the Cartel win numerous political races for white Republican candidates and for black and white Democrats who carry the Cartel agenda. With their fellow African American and other Cartel minority cohorts, they have become faces of color on right-wing Republican plans and also help to undermine candidates of color as they did in the 2018 Georgia and Florida gubernatorial elections. The Koch Bros. and the Cartel are also behind State Sen. Lena Taylor floating a trial balloon for a 2020 run for Mayor of Milwaukee. She has supported previous legislation on their behalf, and they stand ready to back her mayoral campaign should she run.

The hope is to cause enough political consternation in the African American community so as to use the April 2020 mayoral race to disrupt black politics heading to the November 2020 presidential election, enough to enable Trump to squeeze out another Wisconsin victory. Trump and the Republicans use of other black elected officials, clergy, and community leaders to transform American politics will be examined in further detail in the coming weeks.

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell. 




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