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Posted June 20, 2014

Travelers, to this Black Paper in PDF format.

A BLACK PAPER: A Look at Voter Suppression and Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy

By Dr. Eugene Stovall

 

The black community has but two types of capital: intellectual and political … and very little of either. Black intelligence is so limited that a 2011 report said that less than 3% of black Junior High School graduates nationwide can read at the proficient level and less than 1% can read at the advanced level. In higher education, black professorships and research fellowships are held almost exclusively by assimilationists and accomodatio- nists who are too busy pleasing their white mentors to produce anything of value. As will be discussed, black political capital is squandered by the feckless greed of a black leadership that is tied to the interests of a Democratic party little concerned with the woes of the black community. Today black people have neither the intellectual ability nor the political will to prevent the neo-cons’ long-term plans to suppress the black vote. In which case, the neo-cons, who Hillary Clinton only half-heartedly opposes, could prevent her from becoming the first woman ever to enter the White House.

Hillary Clinton seems almost a shoo-in to become the Democratic Party standard bearer in 2016. In the opinion polls, Clinton holds lopsided leads over all of her potential rivals. This lead is greatly enhanced by Clinton’s near unanimous black support, undiminished neither by Clinton’s neo-con sympathies nor her Republican past.

 

It is a tremendous advantage for any politician seeking national office to have a solid block of votes. And Clinton’s black support is rock solid and immune from the type of erosion that invariably plagues long term, two-year presidential campaigns. Hillary won’t have to worry about losing black support because of changing international conditions nor will she worry about losing their support because of a downturn in the job market or because blacks are losing their homes in record numbers. Not even the blatant murders of black children or the mass incarceration of black men need trouble the Clinton band wagon.

 

Hillary Clinton won’t worry about losing her black support for failing to deliver on campaign promises. She doesn’t have to promise black people anything. Bill Clinton didn’t promise or give them anything, unless you count his Welfare Reform Act, limiting black women’s access to financial support for their children. Hillary Clinton needn’t fear that black politicians will chide her for suggesting that the United States pour billions into the Ukraine but nor a cent into Oakland. Black people won’t expect that if and when Hillary becomes president she will put money into any black community … or reduce the monumental black unemployment rate. That is how black politics work. Black politicians promise nothing to their constituents and always deliver on their promises. In fact, by not providing any relief for the inner cities, Clinton will give black leaders a reason to call for another  “march on Washington”. On the other hand, she will insure that black preachers receive their “faith-based payoffs.” However, one issue that Hillary Clinton will avoid like the plague is the epidemic drug problem infesting America’s black communities.

There is no single issue more important for improving the lives of black Americans or the inner city poor than the drug issue. With the number of US citizens in prison approaching 3 million, the majority of which are black, the drug problem is the single-most cause of the devastation devouring our communities. But no one in the United States is more responsible for this scourge than Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill.

 

When George “Daddy” Bush and Oliver North began importing cocaine into the United States and using the drug money to supply weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras, they turned to Governor Bill Clinton for a place to bring the cocaine. Clinton allowed them to land tons of cocaine at a private airport in the Arkansas town of Mena. Not all the drug money went to the Contras. Some drug money was funneled into national political campaigns. And the politicians who were put in power by the Bush-North drug cartel changed the social, economic and political fabric of the United States and reframed international relations around the world. So Hillary Clinton will ignore even mentioning the word “drugs” in her upcoming campaign -- not that it would matter to her black supporters. However, Hillary Clinton does have one worry. One initiative supported by neo-cons in both the democratic and republican parties could severely damage her solid support among blacks. Not because blacks would desert her, but because ongoing neo-con voter suppression schemes could well cost Clinton and help her rivals. Black people will stick with Hillary Clinton, no matter what she says, no matter what she does, however, if the republicans are successful in their voter suppression efforts, she could possibly lose the electoral votes that she needs to become the first woman to enter the White House. But Clinton dare not oppose the bipartisan voter suppression initiative too strenuously. Not only would she risk the airing of her husband’s role in the government’s dumping and selling tons of cocaine into the inner cities, but she could also risk offending a significant number of powerful neo-cons democrats. Recent events demonstrate that voter suppression is as important to some democrats as it is to some republicans.

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, a handful of senate Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to block Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The bipartisan coalition blocking Obama’s Civil Rights nominee announced that they were motivated by Debo Adegbile’s defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the newspaper reporter and Black Panther who was convicted of the 1981 shooting of a white Philadelphia police officer. However, the real reason for the bipartisan veto of Obama’s Civil Rights nominee was Adegbile’s support for Voting Rights. Adegbile had argued Voting Rights cases before the United States Supreme Court on two separate occasions -- winning one and losing one. Moreover, Adegbile successfully convinced the conservative high court that the voter suppression laws passed by a number of states -- including those states in the Deep South -- indicated a strong and undeniable pattern of racial bias. More importantly, Adegbile persuaded the Supreme Court that the Attorney General’s office should be involved in protecting voting rights.

Shortly before the confirmation vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed that the vote against Adegbile was about voter suppression. “They’ve distorted this man’s good name in an attempt to score points politically and block confirmation of a faithful defender of voting rights, which the Republicans do everything they can, not to protect.”

 

Twenty years earlier, another bipartisan coalition of democrats and republicans urged Bill Clinton to withdraw the nomination of Lani Guinier to the same position. The Wall Street Journal began its opposition to Guinier as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights by calling her one of Clinton's "Quota Queens". Democrats, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and David Pryor of Arkansas both urged Clinton to withdraw her nomination because, as the senators told Clinton, Guinier did poorly in her senate interviews. Even Democratic senator, Carole Moseley-Braun of Illinois, the only black in the United States Senate, urged Clinton to withdraw Guinier's nomination. Clinton gave into the pressure, claiming that he was unfamiliar with Guinier’s writings and that he didn't realize that his nominee advocated racial quotas. The charge that she favored racial quotas was false. In several law review articles, Guinier explicitly rejected the use of racial quotas. But, like Adegbile, Guinier's nomination was opposed by Democrats and Republicans for another reason.

 

Lani Guinier believed that the voting system throughout the United States was unfair not only to racial minorities, but also to numerical minority groups, such as fundamentalist Christians and the Amish. Guinier had become a leading advocate for voting rights and suggested that there were a variety of ways to strengthen minority voting power. In her Senate interviews, Guinier stated that, rather than advocating any single procedure for democratizing the vote, as Civil Rights Enforcement Chief, she would consider all alternatives after the court found a legal violation. This meant that not only would Guinier have the authority of the Attorney General’s office, but also the sanction of the federal court to insure that the vote of every American citizen counted. Just like, Debo Adegbile, Lani Guinier represented an unacceptable obstacle to neo-con efforts to suppress the vote. And since black people have no political clout, both Voting Rights supporters were easily swept aside by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats committed to suppressing the black vote. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton recent remarks, “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s.”

 

***

About the Author: Eugene Stovall was born and raised in Oakland, California. At age eighteen, he was invested into the Knights of Peter Claver, after having attended St. Joseph’s College Seminary where he studied for the Catholic priesthood. Stovall graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School and attended St. Mary’s College, but left college to join the U.S. Air Force. In 1966, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of California. In 1969, using research obtained at the University of Lund in Sweden, he obtained his master’s from the University of California at Davis. Becoming a National Foundation Fellow in 1973, Stovall received his Ph.D. in political theory from the Political Science Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Stovall has been an adjunct faculty member at USF, St. Mary’s College, San Francisco State University and at Merritt College. His previous novels include the 2007 IPPY Bronze Medal winner, Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt.  The Hayward South County NAACP honored Stovall for memorializing the great black novelist. His latest novel is “Consort of the Female Pharaoh.”

 

 

 

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