As America’s presidential election nears, it becomes increasingly obvious that this is a racial conflict. Nothing the candidates say or do now seems to matter. The remnants of racist white America have dug in their heels to support John McCain (see McCain supporters below, left); and African-Americans have united solidly behind Barack Obama (see photo below, right).
– White Americans make up 66 percent of the population. McCain has 53 per cent of their votes; Obama has 40 per cent.
– African-Americans make up 12 percent of the population. Obama has 97 percent of their votes; McCain has 2 per cent.
– Hispanics make up 15 per cent of the population. Obama has 49 per cent; McCain has 34 per cent.
– Asians and “other” total only 7 per cent of the vote, and the support figures for Asians are not available. “Other” races support McCain by 51 per cent and Obama by 45 per cent.
These figures might not include a surge in the registration of new voters who are expected to support Obama by a margin of about two to one. The civil rights movement brought integrated schools and housing, greater opportunities for minorities and a more enlightened media. It also brought a new generation of post-racial Americans who overwhelmingly support Obama. If these young Americans show up at the polls as expected, Obama should win handily. However, there is a froghtening shadow looming over the prospect of an Obama victory. Because the racial divide is so stark, it is easy to identify his supporters, and the Republicans are taking advantage of this fact to suppress their votes. Across America, Republican strategists are taking steps to disqualify minority voters by using various legal technicalities.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo at right) charges that there are about 30 “scams” that Republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states, to get Democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the “Help America Vote Act,” passed by a Republican Congress with a Republican senate and a Republican president. One of these requirements under the act is called “the perfect match.” Kennedy said a quarter of the voters in Colorado have been removed from the rolls “because of this one scam.” Authorities use a computer to compare registration applications to other government records in the state. And if there is any information on the voter registration that is different from the information on another government record the name is removed from the voting rolls.
“For example, if I registered as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and yet my motor vehicle license said Robert Frances Kennedy Jr., I’d be removed from the rolls,” Kennedy said. “If your initial is different, if you leave an initial out, if you leave a “Jr.” out, if you leave a hyphen out in your name. And …. a study in New York that said 80 per cent of the errors are made by state clerks taking down this information. And particularly in immigrant communities, where people tend to vote Democratic, names like Muhammad are spelled with an ‘o’ instead of a ‘u’.”
With all this going on, you can see that every vote is more vital in this crucial election than it has ever been. And you should make sure- now – that you are properly registered to vote. Once removed from the voter’s list, you will have to take legal steps to correct the “mistake,” and by that time the election could be over.
Above all, you cannot stay home this time, and you should make sure that your friends and acquaintances know how much their vote will mean in this racist and oppressive environment.