Black conservative commentary

 

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], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.

Do you ever get the feeling you're being used?

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 guy.

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 logic?

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.

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(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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