Elections? What are those?
Our previous president was almost unimaginably deep into voter suppression. After all, a Georgia grand jury has, among other things, been investigating his direct involvement in a wild scheme to create his very own slate of bogus “electors” in that state who would — giant surprise! — vote for The Donald for president, even after he’d been declared the loser of the 2020 election. And that was but one of the states where he and his crew tried to create slates of fake electors who would be (or so they came to believe) recognized as the real thing by Vice President Pence on January 6th.
That, in turn, was but one way in which a Republican Party with an urge for ultimate domination at both the state and federal levels, not to say outright autocracy, has been trying to stack the deck in its favor for years. That was particularly true in states across the country where they held power and focused on suppressing the right of Black voters to go to the polls. As newly elected Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock put it in his first Senate speech two months after the attempted insurrection of January 6, 2021, “We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve ever seen since the Jim Crow era. This is Jim Crow in new clothes.”
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that most Republican laws to suppress votes were passed, according to the Guardian‘s Ed Pilkington, “in precisely those states that became the focus of Trump’s Stop the Steal campaign to block the peaceful transfer of power after he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.” And as a Brennan Center report found in 2022, “Representatives from the whitest districts in the most racially diverse states were the most likely to sponsor anti-voter bills.”
Today, Clarence Lusane, author of the recently published book Twenty Dollars and Change: Harriet Tubman and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice and Democracy, a penetrating look at the legacies of slavery and white supremacy in this country, considers what that ongoing record of suppressing the Black vote means as 2023 begins. Tom
Racial Justice, Voting Rights, and Authoritarianism
The fundamental right to vote has been a core value of Black politics since the colonial era -- and so has the effort to suppress that vote right up to the present moment. In fact, the history of the suppression of Black voters is a first-rate horror story that as yet shows no sign of ending.
While Democrats and progressives justifiably celebrated the humbling defeat of some of the most notorious election-denying Republican candidates in the 2022 midterms, the GOP campaign to quell and marginalize Black voters has only continued with an all-too-striking vigor. In 2023, attacks on voting rights are melding with the increasingly authoritarian thrust of a Republican Party ever more aligned with far-right extremists and outright white supremacists.Read More