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PHOTOPIN.COM
“Democrats will always fight to end discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

-Democratic Party Platform

Supposedly.

The hypocrisy of that statement is - at this moment - salting the wounds of the minority voters left unprotected and undefended by the Democratic party. The Democrats have refused to stand up for these disenfranchised voters after white supremacists gagged their voices during the 2016 Presidential Elections. This refusal stands to cost them not only the election, but the Democratic party as well.

While Clinton has agreed to participate in the audit of the election in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, she has completely failed to call for investigations into the wide spread voter suppression tactics that cost the Democrats millions of votes nationwide.

If the Democratic Party cannot protect minority voters from white supremacy now – if Democrats refuse to even take a stand and fight against it – there will be no reason for minority communities to trust in them, let alone vote for them, ever again.
There is no question that the GOP is the White Power Party and Donald Trump is their new spokesperson. The team of strategists and handlers that control Trump include white nationalists and alt-right conservatives such as Bert Rein, Roger Stone, Robert Mercer, Charles and David Koch, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon to name only a few.

They have the full support of the Klu Klux Klan, who celebrated the event as a personal victory. They built their platform on hate speech, threats of state violence, and declarations of war against target communities – including Black, Latino, Muslim, Indigenous, Disabled and LGBTQIA communities. Their goals include the dismantling of federal authority and the revocation of Civil Rights. And they proudly wear the labels alt-right, white nationalist and white supremacist while they once again fly their Confederate Flags.

Just as there is no question that the alt-right is a white nationalist network. There is also no question as to whether or not this network has engaged in strategic efforts to disenfranchise Democratic and minority voters in efforts to take control of the White House.

Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes would not have been secured by the Republican Party without the suppression of hundreds of thousands of minority voters. According to the Center for American Progress, “300,000 registered voters in the state lacked the strict forms of voter ID required. Wisconsin’s voter turnout was at its lowest level in two decades.” Approximately 27,000 votes separated Trump and Clinton.

While the race is still too close to call, Michigan’s 20 electoral votes would not have been even put into question without the voter suppression tactics applied by the alt-right, its leaders and the organizations they operate under. While less than 20,000votes still separate the two candidates, over half a million voters were prevented from voting through failures to comply with Americans with Disabilities Actrequirements, record purging, a lack of early voting, and voter ID requirements.

Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would also not have been secured by the Alt-right without the suppression and intimidation tactics applied by white supremacists. Trump himself called more than once for his supporters to monitor the voting behavior of Democrats. Politico reports that in an August rally in Altoona, PA Trump said, “I hope you people can … not just vote on the 8th, [but] go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100-percent fine. We’re going to watch Pennsylvania—go down to certain areas and watch and study….”

Donald Trump was also quoted as saying, “You’ve got to get everybody to go out and watch, and go out and vote. And when [I] say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about, right?” at a speech in Ohio 10 days later. These efforts were successful and Pennsylvania reported more incidences of voter intimidation than any other state. In addition to these applied voter intimidation tactics, the majority of polling places were inaccessible to voters with disabilities, no early voting or absentee ballots were allowed and there was misinformation being dispelled about voter ID requirements. The difference between candidates in Pennsylvania is approximately 62,000 votes.

The states being audited in the recount are not the only states that deserve another look. In light of the success of voter suppression tactics, additional states prove themselves worthy of review and federal relief. Florida, North Carolina and Arizona serve as strong examples.

The difference in Florida was just under 120,000 votes. This may seem like an insurmountable number – until the fact that long lines and failures to meet ADA standards required to ensure voters with disabilities can vote alone accounts for over 200,000 suppressed votes is accounted for. Cuts to early voting, funding for early registration drives, additional requirements for voter with prior felony convictions, eliminating polling places, and failing to make voting accessible to voters with disabilities all contributed to the deprivation of voting rights of hundred of thousands of minority and disabled voters in Florida alone. Trump could not have secured the state’s 29 electoral college votes if the minority and disable votes had not been so successfully suppressed.

In North Carolina, a collaboration of GOP lawmakers and organizations were successful in eliminating same-day registration and pre-registration for teen voters, shortening the early voting period, and passed voter id requirements. The Court of Appeals struck down the ID requirement in 2016, citing that the rule was passed with the intent to discriminate on the basis of race; however, North Carolina has also been accused of purging thousands of black voters from the system and failing to comply with ADA standards. While the difference between Clinton and Trump is around 180,000 votes, the Democratic candidate was potentially illegally stripped of hundreds of thousands of votes from black and disabled constituents alone.

And in Arizona, the alt-right\white nationalist Republican candidate would not have been able to secure the state’s 11 electoral votes without the suppression of hundreds of thousands of Latino and disabled voters. In efforts to suppress minority votes, and by refusing to comply with ADA requirements, a Republican coalition successfully passed legislation that limits mail in ballot collection and continues to require proof of citizenship to vote. The United States Supreme Court has already ruled against this practice, but Arizona continues to defy both the will of the court and the will of the people. Adding to the success of these suppression tactics, over 270,000 voters were allegedly purged from Arizona’s voting system. The difference between candidates in this state is approximately 85,000.

Voter suppression is how the election was stolen. Voter suppression is how white power Trumped minority voters in the election. And contesting voter suppression is where the Democratic party needs to focus their efforts if they care about minority voters, fair elections, the Democratic party or the nation at all.

The most powerful white supremacist network in the world will soon be taking control of all three branches of government, and he will be assuming the presidency with all the powers authorized when the National State of Emergency implemented after 9/11 was reauthorized in September of 2016.

Trump has already stated that he would exercise these powers in offices, and the only political organization that can possibly stop the Alt-right from successfully stealing the White House is currently asking its constituency to concede peacefully and wait and see what happens.

It’s unacceptable.

Somewhere along the line the Democrats forgot that they work for the people – not the other way around. The Democrats have made nothing but promises to protect minority and disabled communities from the threats of White Power, the Alt-right and the Republican Party. They have followed through on none of these promises. That posture needs to change immediately.

Democratic voters showed up when Hillary asked them to say, “I’m With Her.” Now it’s time for the communities targeted by white supremacists to be able to say without question, “She’s with Us.”

To that end, in addition to supporting the audits in contested states, the Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy (SIIP) is calling for the Democrats to immediately show a public and united front in order to demand, design and implement a Suppression Extension for the 2016 Presidential Election. This extension will use federal authority to change the voting deadline so that minority and disabled voters can safely cast their ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

The 2016 Suppression Extension will reinstate the votes of all those purged eligible voters from the system. It will design and implement a strategy that allows people with disabilities to cast their votes in the ways and location most accessible to them. The suppression extension will allow minority voters that were intimidated, misinformed or otherwise prevented from voting to also safely cast their ballots, and the Suppression Extension will ensure anyone denied their Constitutional right to vote because of voter ID issues is able to cast their ballots.

The people of the United States would not ask for the Democrats to contest a fair and Constitutional election. This election, though, was not fair, constitutional or representative of what Democracy is supposed to stand for in the United States.

SIIP is asking President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Congress and all local, state and federal democratic leaders and affiliates to do everything in their power to contest the election on the basis of voter suppression, demand a full investigation of the people, organizations and political leaders responsible for these suppression and intimidation efforts and most importantly support the Suppression Extension.

In this way, the integrity of the Constitution, the Democratic Party, the election process, and the nation itself can be preserved. In this way, minority voice can be un-gagged and the efforts of Donald Trump and his white supremacist network to willfully deprive the constitutional right to vote from voters of color and voters living with disabilities can be countered and shut down.

Published in The Huffington Post
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