Posted 7 months ago on Oct. 7, 2012, 11:02 p.m. EST by ZenDog
from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
"Block the Vote" is the title of chapter five of the 2004 book by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America Into a One-Party State (ISBN 1585423424).
In the face of overwhelming rejection from African-American and other minority voters, Republicans have adopted a two-tiered strategy:
- token efforts at symbolic inclusion, aimed primarily at soothing the conscience of white voters, many of whom want to see themselves as supporters of a racially inclusive party; and
- efforts to minimize the number and influence of black votes.
One strategy to suppress black votes has been to run negative campaign ads that accuse Democrats of racism. If blacks cannot be persuaded to vote Republican, the goal is to make them cynical enough that they won't bother to vote at all. A similar effort to suppress the black vote has been linked to black preacher Al Sharpton's campaign in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Sharpton postured as a radical firebrand, accusing other Democratic candidates such as Howard Dean of racial bias. Roger J. Stone, a longtime Republican operative, told the New York Times that he had been behind several of Sharpton's most visible campaign tactics, including scrutiny of Dean's record of minority appointees when he was governor of Vermont.
Perhaps the most striking recent example of voter suppression came in the 2000 presidential election, where a slim margin of 537 votes in Florida gave George W. Bush the votes in the electoral college that he needed to claim victory over Al Gore. (Nationwide, Gore won the popular vote by 543,614 votes.)
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), produced a report in June 2001 titled "Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election." The report concluded, "Despite the closeness of the election, it was widespread voter disenfranchisement, not the dead-heat contest, that was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election. The disenfranchisement was not isolated or episodic." The USCCR found that African-American voters were at least ten times more likely to have their ballots rejected than other voters and that 83 of the 100 precincts with the most disqualified ballots had black majorities.