Voter Suppression, Interstate CrossCheck and the Fall of American Democracy Part 2 of 4
It was November 8, 2016 - election day. I remember it very vividly, I checked, double-checked and triple-checked online to make sure I was good to go with regards to my voter registration. I had heard too many stories from just this election cycle during the DNC primary of ballots not being counted. I did everything I needed to do so that when I walked into that polling station (conveniently 2 minutes from my home) I could cast my vote without any problems. Thankfully the polling station wasn't crowded, there was no line and I got there very early in the morning.
Living in North Carolina, a swing state, I knew how important my vote was. Young black millennials such as myself helped put Barack Obama in the White House in 2008 and helped him get re-elected in 2012. I didn't really believe Donald Trump would win, but I voted against him anyway. Like many, I watched the results and couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like the world had turned upside down. I mean yea I knew America had a white supremacy problem, but were Americans really this...ignorant? I tuned out of politics for some days post-election. I wrote an article on November 14th titled, 5 Reasons Why Progressives Shouldn't Freak Out Over the Trump Victory. Just about everything in that article I still stand by and if you look at Trump's popular vote totals now that all of the numbers have come in, you'll see that he only marginally outperformed Mitt Romney's 2012 numbers.
However, I'd adjust one thing that I wrote in that article. I still stand by the above statement, but I now see that the huge drop-off in non-White voters, especially black voters, wasn't due as much to Hillary Clinton's plutocracy and neoliberalism. That may have definitely contributed, but we now know that it can be said that much of the drop-off was actually due to the implementation of the most democratically-offensive and anti-democratic voting schemes devised in my lifetime known as Interstate CrossCheck.
Me and my mother voted in the 2016 election against Donald Trump. I now wonder if our votes were counted. The new strategy is to be as covert as possible, to throw out votes while you make everyone believe their votes actually counted and the winner won fair and square. What is the Interstate CrossCheck program and how is it the real reason Donald Trump won in 2016 that very few are talking about? Well allow me to explain.
Interstate CrossCheck Program
Much of it involves the man pictured to the right standing with Donald Trump. Most have never heard of him, but his name is Kris Kobach - the former Secretary of State in Kansas. He is the man behind the discriminatory profiling bill known as SB 1070 in Arizona and an even worse bill known as HB 56 in Alabama. SB 1070 became known as the "papers please" law because, among other things, it requires illegal immigrants to have their papers on them at all times or they could face misdemeanor charges. Convenient for those looking for a way to help grow the private prison industry! HB 56 in Alabama, before being gutted by the Courts in 2011, originally prevented illegal immigrants from attending publicly-owned colleges and universities, it forces elementary, middle and high schools to ascertain the legality of immigrants in their schools. It prohibit landlords from renting property to illegal immigrants as well as allowing police officers to ask for the papers of any person they think might be illegal! This can be during a normal traffic stop, on the side of the road, wherever basically.
Fast forward to June of 2015 and Kris Kobach was given authority to prosecute cases of voter fraud in the state of Kansas and a few months later he was photographed giving a speech at a "writers workshop" organized by a group called The Social Contract Press (TSCP). Now what the TSCP? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), The Social Contract Press is basically a white supremacist front that is known to post articles written by white supremacists and the editor is a man by the name of Wayne Lutton. Lutton co-wrote a book with the founder of TSCP, John Tanton, in 1994. A book in line with another racist novel called The Camp of the Saints which TSCP also reprinted. Kris Kobach spoke at an event held and organized by this group! Don't say either that he didn't know. We're in the age of the internet. The days of politicians being able to play stupid are over.
Kobach doesn't just have a relationship with the founder of TSCP through speeches, you see John Tanton also founded an organization called F.A.I.R. - the Federation for American Immigration Reform. F.A.I.R. believes that America should remain a majority-white nation and Kris Kobach has been a lawyer for the legal arm of F.A.I.R. for years. As if it weren't obvious already, F.A.I.R. was actually labeled a hate group in 2007!
So Kris Kobach, the guy Donald Trump recently tapped to lead a "voter commission," is directly tied to white supremacists. He's also the architect of the Interstate CrossCheck program. A program (not law) that was initiated in 2005 and by 2016 existed in 29 states ahead of the election. How do I know this? It was exposed in the documentary called 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' by investigative reporter Greg Palast.
The Interstate CrossCheck system uses voter registrations in participating states to target a list of voters who share similar last names. Names that they combine with data from the U.S. Census that lets them determine, with a high probability, that the voter is non-White. How do they know this? Well the data from the Census can show one which last names have a disproportionate number of Black, Asian, Mexican, Caribbean, etc who have that last name. If your last name is Washington, there's an 89% chance you're Black, if your last name is Kim, there's a 94% chance you're Asian.
They targeted non-White last names and labeled, it's believed, millions of voters as being "double voters." They claimed that Michael Washington in North Carolina is the same Michael Washington in Ohio, so on and so forth. Palast says that up to 344,000 voters in PA, 589,000 voters in NC, 449,000 voters in Michigan and 497,000 voters in OH were erroneously labeled double voters. He says up to 7.2 million Americans who were on the Crosscheck list were identified as "double voters" and were highly likely to be disenfranchised.
This is important because Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 173,000+ votes in NC, 44,000+ votes in PA, and a measly 10,000+ votes in Michigan!
Over 1.6 million voters were removed from the voting rolls based on the voting list from VA and would be given provisional ballots that aren't counted right away. Now 3.75 million people voted in VA total and Clinton still won that state, but that's 43% of VA's voters that were impacted purely by Crosscheck!
The Interstate CrossCheck program is a massive attempt at organized, nationwide anti-democratic voter suppression. I believe it is important that we establish firmly that to suppress the vote is to be against democracy. The silence from the Democratic Party on this is defeaning. The Democrats scream about Russia on a daily basis, not to say there's nothing there because I believe there is, but Trump didn't win because of Russian influence. He won because the Republican party seized on the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013. This is truth when combined with CrossCheck, combined with the passing of Voter ID laws in over 33 states and unconstitutional gerrymandering in states like North Carolina and elsewhere.
Had these impediments not been in place, and had all votes truly been counted and not thrown out - Hillary Clinton would likely be President of the United States right now. She beat Trump in the popular vote and would've secured more swing states had CrossCheck not been in place. Everyone talks about how rare it is for the winner of the popular vote to lose the electoral vote and that historically that didn't happen very often. It's happened twice now over the past five elections since 2000. Both times benefiting the Republican running and both elections rife with voter suppression and votes not being counted. I'm just saying there's a trend, a trend that cannot be ignored or trivialized because some people don't want to question the legitimacy of American democracy.
The Black Vote Didn't Decline, It Was Deleted
Data was recently released by the U.S. Census about the so-called "decline" of the black vote in 2016. The data confirms the impact of CrossCheck, but notice how that never comes up because there is clearly a coverup of perhaps the greatest coordinated act of voter suppression in recent U.S. history. I encourage everyone to click the link above and read it. The data shows that non-White voter turnout decreased across the board, especially in key swing states.
To prove how easy it would've been to beat Donald Trump in 2016, you'll see that actually the overall turnout in 2016 vs 2012 for everyone (white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous Americans, etc) was down from 61.8% to 61.4% So as I stated in my post-election article linked at the beginning of this article, there was no overall surge in white voters. There was however a major decrease in non-White votes...that's the difference between 2012 and 2016. That's why Trump won.
Black turnout, on paper, was the lowest in 2016 it's been since 2000! That's not an accident people, all of those Black voters didn't just decide to up and not vote. I know many were disenchanted by Hillary Clinton (I definitely was), but she maintained the support of a majority of Black voters. Even Black voters who remained skeptical of her, were still going to go out and vote for her. This idea that Black people didn't vote because Obama wasn't on the ticket can only be believed if one believes the official explanation for the decline in the black vote to begin with. The steep drop-off in black turnout defies the trend it was on. Even if one thought a decline was likely...a decline to 2000 turnout rates though? That seems extreme.
Then there is this significant piece of information...
Turnout among white men without a college degree only increased by 1% in 2016 versus 2012. Conversely, black voter turnout plummeted in every major swing state for no apparent reason according to the media. We know the reason, the reason is Interstate CrossCheck and massive voter suppression of non-White voters, especially black voters.
We have identified one aspect of a very large, national problem. Non-White voters make up well over 40% of all Democratic Party voters. Do you think you're really going to get enough politicians into office who will get money out of politics or fight climate change if over two-fifths of your base can have their votes nullified apparently at a whim? Voting rights is a Top 2 domestic policy issue in my opinion. If you can't depend on the vote to get who you want into power, then you don't have a democracy. If you don't have a democracy, then you won't be able to do anything else.
We don't just want to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but we want a new Voting Rights Act! That is the more radical position, which isn't all that radical if you ask me...but it is in Washington. We want a VRA that doesn't expire and require constant reauthorization allowing for future problems like what we have today. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll save the rest of my thoughts for when we write about solutions in Part 4.