Twelve Ways Jim Crow is Winning in 2014

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Twelve Ways Jim Crow is Winning in 2014

Social justice activists mobilized by the Moral Monday Movement rallied in downtown Raleigh earlier this year as they championed the importance of voting rights. (Photo:  Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Jim Crow is already the big winner in this year’s election.

The corporate elite needs him to gouge the planet, wage perpetual imperial war and rule the rest of us.

So the voting rights of millions of student, elderly, black, Hispanic and other citizens are being lynched.

Which may now decide control of the US Senate, many state legislatures...and the White House in 2016.

The corporate-Christian right has long used the drug war to disenfranchise millions of citizens of youth and color. Gay and reproductive rights, feminism and the politics of hate have mobilized Christian crusaders to flood the polls for the GOP.

But we have turned the corner on the culture war.  With the winding down of marijuana prohibition, widespread gay rights victories and more, Republicans now need the outright destruction of democracy itself to win an election:   

1. The Corporate Cash Tsunami: The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allows gargantuan sums of corporate money to shape this election. It’s now the norm for unlimited cash to buy air time, fake “news” reports, billboards, phony astro-turf campaigns, and key election officials in charge of counting the ballots.

2.  Killing Voter Registration: With a wide range of tactics, corporate/GOP functionaries are restricting access to the polls. In Ohio and elsewhere millions of citizens have been stripped of their voter registration rights, almost all in dense-packed urban areas that lean heavily Democratic. “Golden Days” when voters can both register and vote have been eliminated. Voter registration organizations like ACORN have been destroyed and strict restraints have been placed on others, all with the focused agenda of making it increasingly difficult for grassroots, non-millionaire citizens to vote.

3. Denying and Destroying Voter Registration Forms: More than 40,000 completed voter registration forms are now “missing” in Georgia, as they were in Ohio 2004. Georgia’s critical US Senate race may well be decided by fewer votes than were “lost” in the mail, and we expect parallel outcomes elsewhere.

4. New Poll Taxes: Despite the 24th Amendment abolishing the poll tax, voter ID and other requirements put targeted restrictions on who can vote. Citizens registered at the same address for decades are being turned away at the polls. At least 500,000 Texas voters may be disenfranchised by ID laws aimed at students, the elderly and people of color, more than enough to turn most key elections in the state, including the widely watched governor’s race.

5. Discriminatory ID Demands: Student IDs are being rejected in Texas and elsewhere, with the obvious impact of denying young people the vote. Gun owners’ permits are being accepted as valid voter ID.

6. Electronic Vote Theft: Easily manipulated electronic voting machines were key to Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 victories for George W. Bush. They have spread far and wide.  The easy electronic flipping of entire elections has obvious appeal to hugely funded corporate players throughout the US.

7.  Suppressing Electronic Dialog: But the Democratic Party generally refuses to even discuss electronic vote theft, apparently fearful the mere dialog will scare away voters. The Daily Kos website has banned numerous election protection bloggers (us included), apparently for just that reason. But without hand-counted paper ballots, anti-corporate campaigns are mere exercises in futility.  

8. Bought Democrats: Democrats also depend on corporate money and regularly vote pro-corporate. As with Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, they walk away from elections they legitimately won, and refuse to fight for the basic rights of their core supporters to safely vote and have those votes counted, even if it means their own defeat

9. Buying Rigged Legislatures: Numerous key states have been gerrymandered to guarantee GOP majorities no matter what the states’ citizens want.  Ohio’s strong popular Democratic majority is “represented” by an overwhelmingly GOP state legislature. And 12 out of Ohio’s 16 US representatives are Republican. Throughout the US, corporate money is buying parallel GOP control of legislatures and Congressional delegations in states with Democratic majorities.

10. Buying the US Senate: With unlimited cash, Jim Crow attacks on registration and voting, electronic vote theft and much more, the corporate GOP is on the brink of taking over the US Senate. Even if they only come close, corporate billionaires can count on Democratic timidity and easily purchased swing votes.

11. Assaulting Local Activists: In Ohio, the conservative governor John Kasich has a “hit list” of anti-fracking activists.   Pennsylvania state police and the FBI have put environmental activists in terrorism pamphlets. Wherever a governor or mayor or town council or grassroots activist group has risen to block corporate theft, a heavily funded coup d’etat ensues. In Richmond, California, Chevron is spending millions to remove a mayor and town council that have been trying to bring a local refinery to heel. Wherever corporate interests are threatened, huge sums of cash now pour in to rid local governments of grassroots citizens and legitimate regulators.  On the local, state and federal levels, public servants are everywhere being replaced by corporate flunkies.  

12. Killing Hope: The corporate media regularly denies, ignores and marginalizes election integrity activists and campaign finance reformers. The for-profit punditocracy continually declares the “popular support” for their bought politicians, as they will again should the GOP sweep on Tuesday. (Think 1980, when network bloviator George Will declared a “sea change” for Ronald Reagan while hiding his role as a paid Reagan operative).  Now and forever, expect the usual corporate wind bags to proclaim great “grassroots victories” for corporate flunkies as they buy, steal and lynch their way into the new Gilded Age.

Through it all, the activist community must maintain our balance---and our levity. The new Dark Age of Robber Baron excess will only last forever if we fold our tents, ignore the problem and fail to fight for our core beliefs.

Despite the temporary triumphs of corporate personhood, it’s the human survival instinct that must bat last. 

Harvey Wasserman

Harvey Wasserman
Harvey Wasserman's latest book, America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History, will be published in 2016.  His Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org.

Bob Fitrakis

Bob Fitrakis

Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College. He and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection, including Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?, As Goes Ohio: Election Theft Since 2004 , How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, and What Happened in Ohio

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