07 November 2006

Guardian Leader writer Richard Adams and "the Republican party's awesome vote-winning machine"

Richard Adams, a Guardian leader writer, has unwittingly slipped up big time.

His Freudian slip in the subtitle almost gave the game away, but it's in this paragraph that the real damage was done:

"The Republicans achievement in this election will be to blunt the progress of the Democratic party, just as it was beginning to gain momentum. And if they do it won't be because of Saddam Hussein's death sentence or electronic voting devices. It will be because the Republicans have built an awesome and well-oiled machine (oiled by money and people)."

Note his turn of phrase "to blunt the progress of the Democratic party".

This "well-oiled machine" and how it blunts the progress of the Democratic party is what Greg Palast has been investigating for some time, and put in an article written for the Guardian's Comment is Free. Here's just one example:

"A legion of pimple-faced Republicans with Blackberries loaded with lists of new voters is assigned to challenge citizens in heavily Black and Hispanic (i.e. Democratic) precincts to demand photo ID that perfectly matches registration data.

Sounds benign, but it's not. The federal HAVA law and complex new ID requirements in states like New Mexico will easily allow the GOP squads to triple the number of voters turned away. Rather than deny using these voter suppression tactics, Republican spokesmen are claiming they are 'protecting the integrity of the vote.'

I've heard that before. In 2004, we got our hands on fifty confidential internal memos from the files of the Republican National Committee. Attached to these were some pretty strange spreadsheets. They called them "caging lists" - and it wasn't about zoo feeding times. They were lists (70,000 for Florida alone) of new Black and Jewish voters - a very Democratic demographic - to challenge on Election Day. The GOP did so with a vengeance: In 2004, for the first time in half a century, more than 3.5 million voters were challenged on Election Day. Worse, nearly half lost their vote: 300,000 were turned away for wrong ID; 1.1 million were allowed a "provisional" ballot - which was then simply tossed out.

Tomorrow, new federal ID requirements and a dozen new state show-me-your-ID laws will permit the GOP challenge campaign to triple their 300,000 record to nearly one million voters blocked

Adams ignores all the facts about the systematic disenfranchisement of black voters in today's US., and disguises what is really happening by the use of unexplained phrases such as highlighted above: "awesome and well-oiled machine (oiled by money and people)". Why didn't you explain what you meant Mr Adams?

I suggest Adams, and anyone else for that matter, watches the award-winning documentary 'American Blackout' to get a real understanding on how the dienfranchisement works. It was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

American Blackout chronicles the recurring patterns of disenfranchisement witnessed from 2000 to 2004 while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who took an active role in investigating these election debacles.


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