Even With Trump Republicans' Voter Suppression Democrats Scored Major Victories

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Brian Kemp. Photo--Flickr
 
Last week, Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives—even as Trump Republicans engaged in voter suppression efforts against Blacks, and other minorities, across America.
 
Fearful of the tightening outcomes in the Florida and Georgia gubernatorial races, Republicans like Florida Governor Rick Scott, are making unsubstantiated accusations about “unethical liberals” trying to “steal” elections.
 
This from Trump Republicans, who said nothing about the conflict of interest of having Governor Scott, and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp using their official powers, over their state’s governmental apparatus, to benefit their political campaign.
 
Why didn’t Governor Scott and Secretary Kemp resign their positions as a requirement to run for these political positions?
 
What is frustrating Republicans is: even with their voter suppression stealing strategies the volume of Tuesday’s turnout led to Republicans being blown out in the races for the U.S. House. When all is completely tallied Democrats might have a decisive 40-seat advantage.
 
Because some of the bigger races, in Georgia; and in Florida, were not won outright, it is being postulated, by some press pundits, that the Democratic “blue wave” was weak. Some media analysis has focused on the fact that Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams; and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum haven’t won those races. Some—ignoring the depth of voter stealing, by Republicans—suggest this proves progressive politics were rebuffed.
 
Have they forgotten these Republican “red states” are still in the “too close, too call” column?
 
One NBC news piece, claimed the “progressive plan for victory just took a gut-punch.” The election loss of former NAACP head Ben Jealous, in Maryland was used as an example. However, the idea that progressivism isn’t on an upward political track in America because some progressives lost Tuesday ignores important factors.
 
Besides major gains in the U.S. House, Democrats gained seven governorships from Republicans including in: Kentucky where State Sen. Laura Kelly beat Kentucky Secretary of State Kris Kobach; and in Wisconsin where Democrat Tony Evers ousted Gov. Scott Walker. Tuesday’s results have much to do with the political push by progressives that we’ve seen over the last year—where many non-traditional political candidates have won important elections.
 
In Missouri, Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell just became the first African-American Prosecuting Attorney-Elect of St Louis County, after pulling off a major upset in July, against corrupt prosecutor Bob McCulloch. In Minnesota, Rep. Keith Ellison won his race to become Minnesota’s attorney general. In New York, Letitia James will be New York’s next attorney general. Haitian-American Kwame Raoul will be the attorney general of Illinois; and Dr. Aaron Ford, a former school-teacher, will be Nevada’s next attorney general.
 
Having real progressives in power, especially as attorney generals, is vitally important in holding police accountable for the criminal brutality they perpetrate against Black America.
 
Last week, a number of women were elected to Congress, including Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley, who beat long-time Democrat Michael Capuano. Minnesota House Rep. Iihan Omar, a Muslim, just became the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Michigan House Rep. Rashida Tlaib just became the first Palestinian-American to be elected to Congress. Tlaib and Omar are also the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress.
 
The “too close to call” gubernatorial races, in the red states of Georgia and Florida also debunks this notion that Tuesday was a disappointment for progressives. They also speak to the need for media to engage in more serious investigations into something they don’t focus on nearly enough: voter suppression, by Republicans, against Blacks and other minorities.
 
In the Georgia gubernatorial race, as votes continue to be counted, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is said to be leading Abrams by two percentage points. Brian Kemp, and Republicans are crying for the counting of the votes to be stopped.
 
The Georgia race is a screaming case for this need to seriously investigative voter suppression.
 
First of all, Brian Kemp remained as Georgia’s Secretary of State, only resigning one day after the election. Kemp should’ve been forced to step down when he announced he was running, because of his clear conflict of interest. Having Kemp oversee a gubernatorial election—where he is one of the candidates—is like expecting the proverbial fox to faithfully guard the hen-house.
 
Let’s remember this: Kemp has been credibly accused of using his political position to suppress votes. For years, Black Georgians have aired their concerns that Brian Kemp has been rigging elections. The evidence exists says their fears are well placed.
 
A few days before Tuesday’s election, District Court Judge Eleanor Ross ruled the “exact match” voting criteria, instituted by Kemp, “a very substantial risk of disenfranchisement” to minorities. Judge Ross’ ruling found over 3,000 voters were wrongly flagged as “non-citizens.”
 
Between 2012 and 2018, Kemp cancelled the registrations of over one million voters. Just before last week’s election Kemp had some 53, 000 registrations on hold. Some 70 percent of these registrations belong to Black Georgians. In August 2018, Emory University Professor Carol Anderson called Kemp “an expert in voter suppression,” for removing 35,000 voters, most African-Americans and minorities. Under the “exact match,” Kemp removed voters for minor typographical errors—purging mostly African-Americans.
 
Last Wednesday, Kemp resigned as Georgia’s Secretary of State, although he announced his plan to run for governor back in March 2017. As journalist Greg Palast noted “Brian Kemp should have resigned as Secretary of State before he purged half a million Georgians, before he told the counties not to even hand out provisional ballots to people he had wrongly purged."
 
Palast, who came to notoriety during the 2000 Elections, for his reporting of how the votes of Black Floridians were stolen, believes Abrams would now be Georgia’s governor if not for Kemp’s voter stealing tricks.
 
“340,134 people were absolutely, positively wrongly removed,” Palast said. "If you do look at the numbers, it's impossible to imagine that Abrams wouldn't have won outright if everyone who is entitled to vote could vote. If all the provisional ballots are counted, if all the absentee ballots are counted, I don't have any doubt about what the outcome would be or would have been."
 
Given Kemp’s apparent propensity for the voter disenfranchisement, Abrams call to count every vote is more than reasonable. In fact, Brian Kemp should be the target of a federal ethics violation probe.
 
Right next door, we see Florida Governor Rick Scott making ridiculously slanderous statements that are being echoed by Trump, about liberals trying to steal votes. Isn’t it interesting to hear Republicans complain about the stealing of elections?
 
In his race for a U.S. Senate seat, against Sen Bill Nelson, Governor Scott sued to stop the remaining ballots from being counted, since he saw the race narrowing toward a recount. Here again, a conflict of interest is clearly present. Shouldn’t Governor Scott have resigned as governor when he decided to run?
 
Besides suing to stop the vote-counting, Governor Scott likes to complain on Fox News.
 
Scott railed recently "I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try and steal this election from the great people of Florida.” Of course, Governor Scott doesn’t have to “sit idly by.” As governor he can use his office to try and facilitate the outcome he wants—just like his Republican cohort, Brian Kemp, seems to be doing in Georgia.
 
Florida’s gubernatorial race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis may also head to a recount. Given what happened in Florida in 2000, we should all ask ourselves this question: can we trust that Republicans didn’t suppress the Black vote for Gillum?
 
We’ve all heard the stories about the closing of polling places in Black, and Democratic areas, before this election. Since Tuesday, we’ve heard stories that speak of the successful voter suppression efforts of Republicans. Now that this election is over, its time for progressives to focus even more on Republican voter stealing schemes.
 
Wouldn’t it be nice if these large corporate media houses suddenly decide to deploy significant resources into investigating vote-stealing?
 
 

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