It's Only Disfranchisement
When Liberals Lose
by Kevin Martin
A New Visions Commentary
paper published October 2003 by The National Center for Public
Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct., N.E., Washington, DC 20002,
202/543-4110, Fax 202-543-5975, E-Mail [email protected],
Reprints permitted provided source is credited.
Do you ever get the feeling you're being
The black voter has become a virtual
pawn in the liberal political strategy. Our "disfranchisement"
was an issue in the elections of 2000, 2002 and in the recent
California recall. While voting problems may, in fact, exist,
it's the pattern of selective outrage that tips the liberals'
hand. Disfranchised voters who don't help their cause apparently
aren't really disfranchised.
In California, the ACLU wanted to put
off the gubernatorial recall for months (the day of the Democratic
presidential primary, most likely) based on fears that voting
plans were unfair to minorities. On election day, the polls weren't
even closed before cries of voter disenfranchisement were heard.
With voting still going on, Jesse Jackson claimed on the Fox
News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" that the anti-recall
campaign of Governor Gray Davis already received over 30,000
calls from people who claimed they couldn't vote or find a polling
place or that there weren't enough polling places.
Co-host Sean Hannity asked Jackson if
he would file the lawsuits he was threatening at the time if
Davis was not recalled. Jackson stopped, thought about it a second
and answered "no."
So much for voting rights and the little
It only seems to be disfranchisement
when liberal candidates lose. Those of us who have truly been
disfranchised know this all too well. I was one of the many who
couldn't vote in Maryland in 2000 due to a computer error related
to my having registered through my state's "motor voter"
program. But, since Maryland went for Gore, there were no protests
- not even from the Maryland-based NAACP.
A few months later, I had the chance
to run my plight past Congressman James Clyburn, a member of
the Congressional Black Caucus. I also asked him if he would
have been so vocal about lost votes in Florida if Al Gore carried
his home state of Tennessee or Bill Clinton's Arkansas, making
Florida's electoral votes irrelevant. Like Jackson's in California,
Clyburn's answer was a startling "no."
Disfranchisement is new. Fear used to
be the liberal tactic for securing the black vote.
In 1998, Jackson helped drum up support
for liberal candidates through a poisonous radio ad warning that
not dutifully voting for liberal candidates would lead to black
church burnings and more "brothers" being lynched and
shot. There was no proof given for the claim. In 2000, the NAACP
ran ads essentially blaming then-Governor Bush for hate crimes
in Texas, specifically the dragging death of James Byrd. Again,
the inferred misdeed had no factual backing.
Now, we have "disfranchisement."
It's a cover for liberals seeking to obtain through the courts
what voters have denied them over and over again at the ballot
box. The black vote is apparently not enough. Now they want the
full potential of the black vote rather than the actual numbers.
Want more? Texas is an increasingly Republican-leaning
state, but redistricting done at the hands of Democrats in the
past made the state's congressional delegation solidly Democrat.
When Republicans got control, they crafted a plan giving their
party a slight advantage. Guess what? Now the liberals are claiming
the plan will put minorities at a disadvantage. This, of course,
is based on the premise that all minorities are Democrats and
Republicans cannot adequately represent minorities. Can someone
look up the term "prejudice" and see if it fits this
The U.S. Department of Justice should
investigate whether there was a coordinated effort by Jackson,
Davis and others to intimidate the legal voters of California
with the threat of a lawsuit if the results that weren't favorable.
The recall ended up too lopsided for their complaints to have
merit, but I'm certain a closer race would have resulted in a
repeat of Florida in 2000.
Voters should not be made to believe that their legal vote will
be overturned by a band of extremists seeking to steal their
most basic right. The "disfranchisement" ploy is helping
groups like the ACLU, NAACP and Rainbow/PUSH to do just that.
(Kevin Martin is a member of
the African-American leadership network Project 21 and a political
activist in Maryland. Comments may be sent to [email protected].)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author,
and not necessarily those of Project 21.
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