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The Unnoticed Ways the Midterms Are Challenging Racism in the US
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In 1898 the state of Louisiana held a constitutional convention with the declared aim of disenfranchising black people and perpetuating white rule. “Our mission was, in the first place, to establish the supremacy of the white race in this state to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” reads the official journal of the convention. Legal means were found to scrub 130,000 registered black voters from the rolls and allow juries to come to non-unanimous verdicts in felony trials, including those involving the death penalty.

This measure might sound technical, or even be presented as a bid to make the court system more efficient, but its real purpose was thoroughly racist. It effectively side-stepped the constitutional requirement that black people should serve on juries, which gave them some leverage in resisting legal discrimination against the black population.

Since there were usually only one or two black jurors on a jury, they only had influence so long as verdicts were unanimous. Once a split verdict was allowed, then all-white juries could effectively decide the fate of defendants by a 10 to 2 verdict. This entrenched the legal bias against black people for over a century.

It was only last Tuesday that voters in Louisiana approved an amendment that abolished this toxic Jim Crow law that had survived the civil rights movement because it was not demonstrably racist written down, despite its obvious racist intent. Oregon is now the only state that does not require juries to reach unanimous verdicts.

Votes like the one in Louisiana – though little reported by the media – are often more important in their effect on people’s lives than the choice of elected representative in Congress.

Some of these votes have vast political consequences: great attention is given to the races for the governorship and senate in Florida and too little to the decision by voters to restore the voting rights of ex-felons though this will re-enfranchise nearly 1.5 million people in Florida or 9.2 per cent of the voting-age population. These are people who have completed felony sentences, but until now had lost the right to vote in a state that is often described as evenly divided between Republican and Democrat.

The purpose of denying ex-felons the right to vote was much the same as that expressed openly by those attending the Louisiana constitutional convention 120 years ago. Depriving felons of the vote was purportedly non-racist since it applied to every ex-convict, but in practice it targeted the black population. Some 418,000 out of a black working age population of 2.3 million in Florida have felony convictions. This is just under 18 per cent of the potential black voting population who, if they could have cast a ballot, would have ensured that the Democratic candidates for governor and the Senate were elected.

Only two other states – Iowa and Kentucky – bar former felons from voting, so the situation in Florida was always out of the ordinary. This should be very obvious but pundits mulling over the political divisions in Florida last Tuesday night seldom mentioned this crucial act of voter suppression.

The midterm elections confirmed the extent to which the US is racially divided, though this was scarcely a mystery to anybody who has spent any time in the country. It was easy enough for President Trump to whip up racial fears and animosities by demonising the so-called caravan of Central American migrants in Mexico.

Trump is always skilful in dominating the news agenda and he did so again in the final weeks of the campaign. His success was hugely aided by the lack of any Democratic leader able to rebut him in equally attention-grabbing terms. The media dances too easily to Trump’s tunes, but, since the Democrat leaders don’t play any memorable tunes of their own, it is difficult to know what else the journalists can do.

The absence of an effective Democrat leadership also opened the door to Trump’s partial success in claiming a great victory in the elections, though, in losing the House of Representatives, he has overall suffered a defeat. Many of these ploys are scarcely new: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invariably claims an electoral triumph before all the votes are counted and a winner declared. Populist nationalist leaders with cult-like attributes the world over all show the same need to project an aura of inevitable success.

This unrelenting focus on Trump and the struggles at the apex of American politics is often irrelevant to what is happening, both good and bad, on the ground. It does not bring anybody very close to understanding what makes America tick and how far and in what direction this is changing.

A better guide to this is often local or state-wide initiatives or the election of new district attorneys or sheriffs who actually implement the law. In Alabama, for instance, two counties have voted to ban their sheriffs from being allowed to take for themselves any money left over from that allocated to pay for food for prisoners after they have been fed. This is a significant amount of money, with one sheriff keeping $750,000 which he invested in the purchase of a beach house. Since it is in the financial interest of sheriffs to spend as little as possible on feeding their prisoners, it is not surprising that they go hungry. In one case, where the sheriff had legally pocketed $200,000, a judge found “undisputed evidence that most of the inmates had lost significant weight”.

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I found when I was a correspondent in the US that visiting foreigners, who came from centralised states, usually exaggerated the role and power of the federal government and underestimated that of local officials in the states. An example of this on Tuesday was the election of progressive DAs in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio in Texas, a state that holds 218,500 people in jail or prison. Many are there because the state authorities have criminalised poverty. The choice of DA will decide to what extent people who cannot pay minor fines end up spending years in incarceration.

Resistance to such injustices is strong and growing with the return of over one million people to the electoral roll in Florida being the most important sign of this.

The shock effect of the rise of Trump is great but is exacerbated in the minds of many Americans and most foreigners because they underestimate the extent to which the US is a racially and socially divided country. Slavery left a mark on black and white people that has never been eradicated. Trump is a symptom of this rather than an aberration. That is why his type of politics will persist, but so too will the opposition.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2018 Election, Donald Trump, Racism 
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  1. Perish the thought that denying felons the right to vote precludes lots of mean, greedy and/or retarded people from voting. I don’t want Bernie Madoff to vote again, nor Shitavious, but if Shitavious can get a bus ride, a bucket and a forty out of the deal, he gonna vote just like Washerwoman tells him to vote. The only winners in that deal will be the deep fryers and the brewers.

  2. Sean says:

    Whites on juries vote racially but if blacks do it doesn’t matter is what you seem to be implying. But where there is a unanimous verdict required for a guilty verdict, people can go free because they are black. Given that lots of felons are Republicans, it does not make any any difference if felons can vote. Pieces like this just racialise political parties, but as political systems tend to evolve toward groupings of people with similar interests, that is probably inevitable anyway.

  3. Wait a minute. You can write this and accuse Republicans of being racist?

    “Some 418,000 out of a black working age population of 2.3 million in Florida have felony convictions. This is just under 18 per cent of the potential black voting population who, if they could have cast a ballot, would have ensured that the Democratic candidates for governor and the Senate were elected.”

    What you’re admitting is that blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic irrespective of the virtues of either candidate. And that’s not racism on the part of blacks??? Where’s your self awareness, man?

    “Slavery left a mark on black and white people that has never been eradicated.”

    Not slavery per se. There were no slaves north of the Mason Dixon line* yet blacks living there are as dysfunctional today (if not more so) as those living south of the line.

    The problems plaguing blacks stem from their evolutionarily, relatively primitive natures. They occupy an intermediate niche between modern Homo sapiens and homo Erectus. While technically, inasmuch as they can interbreed somewhat successfully with Euros and Orientals, blacks are of the same species as them, nevertheless, the gulf that separates them from these related sub species is not bridgeable by manipulating cultural variables.

    Only interbreeding will blend the atavistic traits of blacks out of existence (or at least obscure them through smearing). And our leading thinkers and planners know this, which is why miscegenation is pushed so hard on the elite owned media. You may not be aware of this, but you don’t count. Or rather, you can be counted upon to push an useful agenda by virtue of your enthusiasm coupled with your dim -bulb brain.

    The final goal of your strategy is single party rule, a good example of which is in Mexico, with their so-called “permanent revolutionary” government. This means a Mexican-type inefficiency as well. In just two generations, California went from America’s wealthiest state to the one with the second highest poverty rate, ranking right behind Mississippi, home to the blacks you lionize.

    Good going, clod.

    *And yes, I know there were a few prior to the outlawing of slavery in the 18th century but in such numbers as to be insignificant in the big picture.

    • Replies: @Saxon
  4. schrub says:

    Yawn. I almost fell asleep reading this article.

    I think Patrick Cockburn should package up his all past articles and sell them as a very effective cure for insomnia.

    Or maybe he should dig up his late brother Alex, who was a much better writer, in order to try and get advice from him on how to write less stupifying crap.

    But then again, Alex might still be pissed off because his untimely death might have occurred just after reading one of Patrick’s articles. He was literally bored to death.

    • Replies: @Zach
  5. The passage of the 1965 Nonwhite Legal Immigrant Increase Act was an open declaration of a Demographic Race War against the Working Class Native Born White Majority Working Class.

    The Historic Native Born White American Working Class Majority is under no obligation to go along with this because Hindu “Americans” such as Preet Bharara demand that they do.

  6. Dan Hayes says:

    Patrick,

    Yours are the delusional yappings of a foreigner who pronounces-on-high about race relations from afar. At least your late brother was on his way to solving the reality reentry problem.

  7. anon[272] • Disclaimer says:

    Patrick,

    Yours are the delusional yappings of a foreigner who pronounces-on-high about race relations from afar.

    that’s what i was gonna ask – another prick from the UK, presuming to judge others?

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  8. @anon

    Some type of Mick, I believe.

  9. Zach says:
    @schrub

    Speaking of the Cockburn family, Patrick’s sister-in-law just lost a congressional contest in Virginia to a man accused of writing Big Foot erotica. (Leslie Cockburn is mother of actress Olivia Wilde.)
    https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/11/216295/leslie-cockburn-loses-race-to-denver-riggleman

    • Replies: @El Dato
  10. Saxon says:
    @ThreeCranes

    The term racism just means white people acting in their own interest, if you haven’t got the memo yet. It’s now about equivalent to shouting the word “nigger.”

    It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just “whitey bad.” If we were really so bad though all of these people still have home countries they can return to and you’d think they’d be beating feet to get there, but they’re not. Curious.

    It’s almost as if this is just about parasitism.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  11. El Dato says:
    @Zach

    accused of writing Big Foot erotica.

    Are Big Foot erotica on the Index?

  12. El Dato says:
    @Saxon

    You either shout N*gger or you Vote D*mocrat!

    Choose one!

  13. bro3886 says:

    It will all just lead to more crime and anarchy. “Slavery left a mark on black and white people that has never been eradicated.” The problem isn’t a mythical mark of slavery, it’s that blacks are less intelligent than whites and are incapable of building or maintaining an advanced civilization. The same goes to a lesser degree for Central Americans. (It doesn’t necessarily make them bad human beings but it does guarantee more of them will be, thus the problems in their communities.) So they must take it from those who can, either directly or by getting a government goon to take it with a gun. Bullshit about the marks of slavery is just a fig leaf to cover the real biological issues, and to cover the reality that “anti-racism” is just racist robbery by another name. As Steve Sailer points out, the white South went Republican because they understand that they are separated from the very real possibility of a third-world, Congo-style government by only a few thin votes. Imagine the government of Detroit at a state or regional level. The sort of hellish society that leftists promote either from hare-brained Utopian religious convictions that can’t be bothered with actual reality or, more often, from a malignant, irrational, genocidal hatred of white people.

    Bottom line: Non-whites will vote in a far left, even more anti-white than it already is, government and they will gut the First and Second Amendments. You can have freedom or the privilege of living under white-hating, racist minorities, you can’t have both.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @MarkinLA
  14. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @bro3886

    It will all just lead to more crime and anarchy. “Slavery left a mark on black and white people that has never been eradicated.” The problem isn’t a mythical mark of slavery, it’s that blacks are less intelligent than whites and are incapable of building or maintaining an advanced civilization. The same goes to a lesser degree for Central Americans. (It doesn’t necessarily make them bad human beings but it does guarantee more of them will be, thus the problems in their communities.) So they must take it from those who can, either directly or by getting a government goon to take it with a gun. Bullshit about the marks of slavery is just a fig leaf to cover the real biological issues, and to cover the reality that “anti-racism” is just racist robbery by another name.

    also “slavery has left a mark that has never been eradicted” seems to mean that whites can never be forgiven while OTOH the mooslim and jewish participation are never brought up and those groups aren’t contiuously beaten over the head with it.

  15. Christo says:

    And this Patrick Colburn would not walk down any MLK Blvd. at 2am in America.
    But it would be nice, if he did , since we would have one less white -hating race baiter
    working for the MSM x 3(,).

  16. MarkinLA says:
    @bro3886

    they will gut the First and Second Amendments.

    Yes, this will be interesting how it plays out because they can never be repealed due to the 3/4 of states rule for ratification. You only need 13 states to defeat a ratification drive so it will all have to go through “reinterpretation” of the Constitution.

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