News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Media: Ad channels Atwater, Helms
Lee Atwater may be dead, but his spirit lingers on. The mastermind behind the television advertisement that used racism to garner votes for the Republicans in 1988 would be proud of an ad airing in Oklahoma. The infamous Willie Horton ad implied African-Americans were criminals threatening white Americans, who needed to vote Republican to be protected. The ad in Oklahoma suggests that people of color are the only recipients of welfare payments.
The Associated Press covered the controversy.
But Coburn is not the only Republican who has used an ad that encourages bigotry to his advantage. The Houston Chronicle recalls another successful use of the tactic.
The GOP has refused to repudiate the ad. Meanwhile, the contest between Carson and Coburn has tightened. It is now neck and neck. Former President George Bush will be among those campaigning for Coburn.
~ Tom Coburn's mouth may have written a check his arse can't pay, as they say down South. His remark that "You have a bunch of crapheads in Oklahoma City," appears to be backfiring. Democrats are using it on billboards in, you guessed it, Oklahoma City.
~ Learn more about the Willie Horton ad.posted by J. | 11:30 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Politics: Philly GOP fails to block the vote
Yesterday, we discussed procedural hurdles dogging new black voters in Florida. It appears many new registrants will be excluded from actually voting on the grounds they did not fill out forms completely. A reader brought my attention to claims of a more blatant form of discrimination in Philadelphia. It appears that there the GOP has attempted to move voting sites out of predominantly black neighborhoods. If voters go to their presumed polling place on Election Day, only to discover it is no longer there, they may not have time to look for the replacement location or may be unable to find it.
The Philadelphia Daily News has the story.
Making it difficult for nonwhites to vote has long been a key component of the Republicans' Southern Strategy. Such efforts to suppress the vote are the reason the Voting Rights Act is needed. If left to their own devices, GOP operatives would exclude African-Americans and Hispanics from participating in the electoral franchise as they did in the past. However, the plan is not confined to the South. Minority voters are perceived as 'the enemy' wherever they are because of their propensity to vote for Democrats. Philadelphia's GOP has been behaving like its Southern brethren despite being in the North.
Still, for some people, the Nile is more than a river in Africa. Despite the overwhelmingly disproportionate impact of GOP requests to relocate polling places on black voters in Philadelphia, they will claim it is incidental. Fortunately, there is a smoking gun that proves otherwise. A Republican official admitted race is the reason he wanted to relocate the voting sites.
Robb offered no evidence to support his claim that visiting a black neighborhood and being stabbed is a given.
Upcoming: An Oklahoma Republican borrows a page from Jesse Helms.
What's the art?
A logo for Rock the Vote, a campaign to urge young people to register and vote.posted by J. | 4:00 PM
Monday, October 18, 2004
News: Black voters in Florida, deja vu?
The Boston Globe reports problems that stymied efforts of black Americans to participate in a national election four years ago appear to be recurring this election season. As before, difficulty registering to vote is said to be particularly apparent in Florida, where the incumbent's brother, Jeb Bush, is the governor. Residents of a county with a large population of newly registered African-Americans have confronted election officials about the alleged disparate treatment.
The pre-election practices that have concerned person's riled include election authorities not siting early voting offices in predominantly African-American areas and refusals to allow black registrants to complete faulty initial registrations. During the last four years, registration of black voters has increased by 21 percent. White voter registration has risen by six percent. However, the successful voter registration drive by groups such as America Coming Together can be negated if many of the new registrants are not allowed to vote. Duval County elections workers have failed to process a third of the registrations. They have deemed more than a thousand of them incomplete so far. Since George W. Bush carried the county by only 537 votes in 2000, the outcome there might well be decided by the thousands of potential new voters. But, with a deadline of Oct. 4 to fix incomplete registrations, the impact of the new registrations may be undermined.
In addition to those issues, another has arisen. The state has implemented a new policy some see as a stumbling block for new registrants.
The deadline to fix registrations said to be incomplete has passed. It is unknown how many of the registrations not processed will be declared incomplete. Though Jacksonville has the largest land area of any American city, only one early voting site exists there. Minority leaders say the single site is miles away from the areas where they live. It will be closed on Sundays, when some ministers planned to provide transportation to voters.
The big picture does suggest a plan to discourage some voters. Particularly telling is Hood's innovation. It serves no purpose other than adding an additional requirement to the voter registration process. That requirement, checking a box declaring citizenship, is already subsumed in the oath of citizenship. However, it does provide another line for registrants to miss and void their registrations. The requirement is meant to make registering to vote more difficult. In Florida, the times may be deja vu all over again.posted by J. | 10:00 AM