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Voter roll back a lasting legacy of slave trade

Racial politics vs party politics

Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire Correspondent | 3/21/2019, midnight

New U.S. Census data projects that in 2045 the United States will be “minority White,” and with several factors considered, The Progressive succinctly noted the implications: In 30 years, more potential voters will be non white.

Donald Trump continues to prime audiences with his racial fear-mongering and rhetoric of White nationalism and, nationwide, Republicans have gone out of their way to prevent non-White people from voting, as also noted in The Progressive.

According to the Pew Research Center fewer than three percent of Black people are registered as Republican and fewer than 15 percent of Latinos register Republican. Voter suppression, it’s totally clear, is about racial politics more than party politics. It’s also clear that voter suppression is one of the many lingering and lasting effects of the 500-year-old Transatlantic Slave Trade.

“The whole idea of the slave trade was the disenfranchisement of our human rights,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in an interview with NNPA Newswire at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s recent Rainbow Push Coalition Wall Street Project.

“Voter suppression is the disenfranchisement of our human and civil rights and that’s why our struggle must have continuity because we’re still fighting for justice and equality,” Sharpton said.

Jackson agreed.

“Clearly, disenfranchisement has been the theme from the time they brought our people over here on slave ships from Africa,” Jackson said.

“What you see with voter suppression and disenfranchisement is a product of the slave trade for sure,” he said.

During the 2018 midterm elections, voter participation was more than 10 percentage points higher than it was in the 2014 midterm elections, demonstrating Americans’ demand for change and increased enthusiasm for exercising their civic duty to vote.

That said, nearly 120 million eligible Americans did not participate in the November elections, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.

The report noted that widespread voter suppression – particularly against historically marginalized groups – is a reoccurring problem in the United States.

Each election cycle, untold numbers of eligible Americans are prevented from voting due to barriers in the voter registration process, restrictions on casting ballots, and discriminatory and partisan-rigged district maps.

The report described some of the voter suppression measures and other Election Day problems that potentially kept millions of eligible Americans from participating in the 2018 midterm elections.

Those included:

Voter registration problems

Voter purges

Strict voter ID and ballot requirements

Voter confusion

Voter intimidation and harassment

Poll closures and long lines

Malfunctioning voting equipment

Disenfranchisement of justice-involved individuals

Gerrymandering

Many, like Sharpton and Jackson, said the actions of voter suppression and disenfranchisement are remnants of the transatlantic slave trade.

“Africans came here with nothing and with no rights to anything, not even their children. They had to learn an entirely new language,” said Janice Robinson-Celeste, a former nanny, early childhood specialist and one-time daycare owner who publishes SuccessfulBlackParenting.com.

“Today, too many red states have manipulated the system by redistricting voting areas, suppressing votes, using malfunctioning machines which create long lines and deter people, to requiring identification to vote,” Robinson-Celeste said.