Republican nominee Donald Trump called for his supporters to intimidate minority voters away from the polls for the second time in Pennsylvania during his latest off-script rally meltdown.
It looks like Trump panicked after the New York Times revealed his nearly billion dollar business loss in 1995 and confirmed that he’s skipped paying taxes for the past eighteen years.
That’s when he spoke wildly off-script at last night’s rally in a rant that featured a childish imitation of Hillary Clinton’s fainting spell at the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony.
The Washington Post reported that the Republican repeated his call for a program of voter suppression, which violates a binding 1981 Consent Decree that the Republican National Committee in which the party and agents agreed to cease racially driven, unconstitutional voter intimidation tactics, and Think Progress noted that the Republican nominee said word for word on Saturday:
You’ve got to go out. You’ve got to go out. And you’ve got to get your friends. And you’ve got to get everyone you know. And you got to watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania. Certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about. So go and vote, and then go check out areas. Because a lot of bad things happen. And we don’t want to lose for that reason. We don’t want to lose, but we especially we don’t want to lose for that reason. So go over and — watch. And watch carefully.
Donald Trump’s repeated calls to action fall under the prohibited conduct by the RNC’s agreement, and stand a strong chance to lead to federal litigation.
The Republican National Committee agreed to submit all “ballot security programs” – code for voter suppression to the Democratic National Committee for preclearance with a 10-day notice, because in 1987 they had been caught violating the Constitution and federal election laws again, and the agreement has stood for a generation since they were first caught in 1981 for that reason under an agreed indefinite court supervision.
In all of these years, Republicans have never submitted one of their voter suppression programs to Democrats, preferring to be dragged into court by litigants every 3-7 years, and it’s looking like 2016 is no different. Except, that after the 2009 court ruling only the DNC, or an original party to the decree has standing to bring action in court and the judge added a sunset date of December 1st, 2017 to the decree, unless Republicans violate it once again – which looks to be the case here.
It appears that Republicans are violating voting rights again in new and technologically unprecedented ways, both with Trump’s broadcast calls at Pennsylvania rallies to intimidate minorities at the polls, and also with CrossCheck. The use of voter lists in a multi-state voter registration attack documented recently by Rolling Stone Magazine is probably prohibited behavior under the ore clearance rules, and it’s been documented having wiped out over 40,000 Virginia voter registrations in 2014 in that state alone:
Like all weapons of vote suppression, Crosscheck is a response to the imaginary menace of mass voter fraud. The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races.
When Donald Trump claimed, “the election’s going to be rigged,” he wasn’t entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of “voting many, many times.” What’s far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.
The sad irony of the modern GOP’s shameless voter suppression plans, is that these tactics were originally developed by the KKK for use against the Republican Party after the civil war. Of course, the modern KKK is solidly in support of this year’s Republican campaign, and ready to turn out in force to intimidate voters at the beck and call of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s instructions to Pennsylvania supporters and law enforcement are just the latest unsubtle reminder that the Republican party’s history of racial discrimination is nothing new.
The big question: Will the Democratic National Party file suit to end these discriminatory and unconstitutional practices immediately, before Republicans use their “ballot security programs” to cheat Americans of the right to vote in November?
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) October 3, 2016
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition