"Democrats See Black Turnout As a Challenge," screamed the front-page New York Times article.
Twice as many blacks, according to a recent Pew Research Center report, now say they have little or no confidence in the voting system, compared to 2004. And 29 percent of blacks believe their vote will not be accurately tallied, compared to 8 percent of whites.
Donna Brazile, the black woman who ran Al Gore's campaign, says, "This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that we're having to go out of our way to counter them this year."
But who told blacks that devious Republicans steal their votes?
Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most widely quoted "black leader," accused election officials in 2000 of stealing the black vote. Jackson thundered, "Today we stand surrounded, Jeb Bush on one hand, Miss Harris on the other, George W. and Cheney comin' from behind, the Supreme Court of Florida. But we will not surrender. Our hopes are alive. Our dreams are alive. Our faith is alive. God will see us through. It's dark, but the morning comes. Don't let them break your spirit." Never mind that attorney Peter Kirsanow, current member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that investigated allegations of black voter disenfranchisement, says no such disenfranchisement occurred.
Florida blacks voted in greater numbers than ever before, as a result of a vigorous NAACP get-out-the-vote effort. But many of these first-time voters failed to vote properly. Therefore, a higher proportion of black votes were properly discounted -- not due to some sort of scheme by Republican operatives.
2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, D-Mass., who lost the state of Ohio, recently wrote an e-mail letter to Democratic supporters. He accused election officials in that state of stealing the election from him. Now, it just so happens that Ohio's secretary of state in 2004, Ken Blackwell, is currently the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio. Kerry writes, in effect, that Blackwell stole the election from him, making the secretary unfit to hold the office of governor. "He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote," wrote Kerry. Despite record black voter turnout, and a recount showing Bush won by 118,000 of the 5.5 million votes cast, Kerry accused Blackwell of using "his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights."
Hip-hop star and fashion mogul Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy" Combs, as part of his "Vote or Die" effort, appeared on CNN on election morning 2004. Incredibly, he pronounced himself a victim of voter "disenfranchisement":
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