Last week in Georgia, some whites solved a wrong problem, and coloreds will pay the price Orlando
At the end of the 19th century, Wilmington was owned by North Carolina most populated cityand as a shipping center also among the wealthiest. It was an unusual place: the majority of blacks with a thriving black middle class and, most importantly, a multiracial government.
“This was an initial threat to white supremacy,” journalist David Zucchino told me last year.
As Zucchino extensively describes in his book Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy, two days after the November 1898 elections that defeated State Democrats through fraud, violence and fear of the rape of white women by “black beasts” won – a mob of more than 2,000 white men came to Wilmington and carried out the only successful coup in American history.
They murdered at least 60 African Americans, forced 2,100 black residents to flee and ordered local officials to resign. Nobody tried to stop them and nobody was punished.
After the white supremacists reclaimed the legislature from the moderate fusionists, they took action against black voting rights. In 1896, North Carolina had 126,000 black-registered voters; six years later 6,000.
Other southern states copied North Carolina. For the next seven decades – until the 1965 Suffrage Act – southern blacks were excluded from political power.
Fifty-eight years later, when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for a 5-4 Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder in 2013, he stated, “Things have changed dramatically and there are record numbers of African Americans attaining political office. “As a result, the VRA section calling on the southern states to seek approval from the Department of Justice before changing electoral laws was unconstitutional.
Roberts rejected the Obama administration’s argument that states would revert to their old tricks without the clarification requirement. Which is exactly what happened.
And so, last Thursday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, surrounded by white men in suits and sitting under a painting of a slave plantation, signed the most blatant attack on black voting rights of a generation while a black legislature was arrested for committing to the Government had knocked on the door to the room where Kemp was signing the bill.
This is a look the Republican Party will regret.
Kemp narrowly won his 2018 election against Stacey Abrams, a black woman, after engaging in tremendous voter suppression as Secretary of State. The law he signed, which reversed the rules previously enacted by the Republican legislature, exists because blacks used those rules to defeat his political allies.
Georgia Republicans said they wanted to ensure “electoral integrity,” despite no evidence of fraud. Sure, Kraken attorney Sidney Powell filed fanciful lawsuits alleging all sorts of wild conspiracies, but faced with a $ 1.3 billion defamation lawsuit, she said “no sane person” should have believed her . (At least that’s true.) Former President Trump similarly made all sorts of claims – when he did not threaten and persuade state election officials – but these, too, were obvious fictions.
A bunch of whites have solved the wrong problem, and people of color are paying the price. Funny how that happens.
The law adds pointless but onerous identification requirements for postal voting and restricts the use of drop boxes to collect ballot papers. It prohibits the use of mobile voting carts such as those used in Fulton County. It allows election observers to question the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires the county electoral bodies to hold a hearing on these challenges within 10 days. (Not a path that is abused.) It makes it a crime to give food or water to voters who wait in the long lines that always seem to wrap around black districts.
It is coolest when the legislature overrides the local election committees. In other words, the next time there is a close race, Republican state officials want to rush to the black subway districts, hallucinating about fraud and refusing to confirm the election.
Without Shelby, this law would never have seen the light of day.
This, of course, is part of a pattern – not just of the hundreds of electoral restrictions that have pervaded Republican legislatures across the country, but also a pattern of Republican government over the past two decades. As political scientist Jacob Grumbach shows in a new working paper, “Republican control of state government … dramatically diminished the democratic performance of states during this period.”
In 2000, North Carolina and Wisconsin were among the most democratic states in the country. After both states were overtaken by Republicans in 2010, their democracy ratings plummeted as Republicans put in place tough voter identification laws and aggressive gerrymanders to consolidate their power. Today, like GOP-controlled Alabama, Ohio and Tennessee, they fell to the bottom of the barrel.
“The contemporary Republican Party is a coalition of the very rich, some big industries and an electoral base that is motivated not least by the politics of white identity,” writes Grumbach, “each with incentives to limit the expansion of the electorate to new voters . ” with very different racist attitudes and class interests. ”
If Georgia’s attack on the right to vote has an advantage, then that is a direct challenge for Senate Democrats. The For the People Act would be a much-needed revision of anti-democratic electoral law. But to get it passed, Democrats will have to both drop the filibuster and find 50 votes for the legislation.
That means someone has to explain reality to Joe Manchin. “We have to deal holistically with a voting law because we had a riot,” he told CNN. “The vote was over. And now you are ready to do a split calculation that would go down by party lines and you already want to scrap the filibuster completely? ”
Actually yes. You see, Joe, if a party is ready to destroy democracy for its own benefit, you cannot rely on them to be part of a democratic solution. See, for example, Wilmington, 1898.
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