Why Were Most of Joe Biden’s Victories in States With Widespread Voter Suppression Problems

Biden won 10 states on Tuesday:

  1. Alabama  *
  2. Arkansas  *
  3. Maine
  4. Massachussetts
  5. Minnesota
  6. North Carolina *
  7. Oklahoma *
  8. Tennesse *
  9. Texas *
  10. Virginia *

A simple google search for “voter suppression” in many of these states turns up a lot of results. Given that Biden attracts a more conservative voter base than Sanders and voter suppression is universally aimed at the left and disenfranchised, it’s not irrational to think that Biden received a bump in the primary from the results of GOP voter suppression efforts. Of the 10 states, 7 have experienced severe voter suppression issues in the recent past or present and of those 7, the only one where these seemingly have been fixed was North Carolina, where the racist ID requirement was struck down in court. I’ve marked these 7 with *.

Examples by state, link to source then relevant passages:

https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/block-the-vote-voter-suppression-in-2020/

“In 2016, Arkansas purged thousands of voters for so-called felony convictions, even though some of the voters had never been convicted of a felony at all. And in 2013, Virginia purged 39,000 voters based on data that was later found to have an error rate of up to 17 percent.”

Texas Closed Hundreds of Polling Sites in Black and Latino Communities

“The 50 (Texas) counties that saw the highest growth in black and Latino population had 542 polling sites close between 2012 and 2018, while the 50 counties with the lowest black and Latino population growth saw just 34 closures. The closures came despite the population in the top 50 counties rising by 2.5 million while the 50 counties that had just 34 closures saw their population fall by 13,000.”

https://www.splcenter.org/20200210/alive-and-well-voter-suppression-and-election-mismanagement-alabama

“There are numerous problems with Alabama’s voter roll maintenance protocols. Mailings, for example, are not the most effective way to communicate with a 21st century citizenry. According to the U.S. Election Administration Commission, Alabama sent 416,632 confirmation notices to voters between 2016 and 2018. Fifty-five percent of those notices (229,407) were returned as undeliverable.100 Another 138,830 notices were reported as “status unknown.”…Many of these confirmation cards were returned as undeliverable or were “status unknown” because a non-forwardable card is unlikely to reach voters who move often. Low-income people, apartment dwellers, renters and college students are less likely to have a current address on their voter registration record.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/04/tennessee-law-aims-to-suppress-african-american-votes-lawsuit

“Last month Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, signed a law imposing restrictions on those groups holding voter registration drives, citing the high number of registrations collected by voting rights groups which are incorrect and become ineligible once filed to the state.

The law, once enforced, would fine those turning in incomplete or incorrect registration forms. In some cases, it could mean criminal charges. For example, a group that returns more than a hundred “deficient” forms could face a fine of up to $2,000 in each county “incorrect forms” were filled out. If more than 500 forms are found to be filled out incorrectly, that fine could be up to $10,000. It’s unclear what “deficient” and “incorrect” mean, both Johnson and Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the organization which filed a lawsuit on behalf of six organizations in Tennessee, told the Guardian.”

Oklahoma Prepares to Purge Thousands of Inactive Voters

“A review of Oklahoma’s purge of inactive voters in 2017 shows that Democrats were disproportionally affected.

Of the 167,011 who were deleted due to inactivity, about 46 percent were Democrats. Voter registration statistics before the purge, on Jan. 1, 2017, show that Democrats made up about 39 percent of all registered voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, made up about 33 percent of the purged inactive voters while making up nearly 46 percent of the pre-purge voter registration totals.”

Biden’s Magical “Electability” is Magical Thinking

Why don’t the kids like Biden?

Here’s why:

Imagine you were on a boat that was rapidly capsizing.

Now imagine the captain of the boat said the only reasonable course of action was to find out what the rapidly rising sea water wanted and compromise between the needs of it and the drowning crew.

And furthermore, the captain has said that anyone who disagreed “needs to grow the f— up”.

You’d be ready to throw him overboard, no?

 

This primary season and the animosity directed toward Bernie Sanders has revealed, yet again, that the true struggle within our society is as Marx described it-not between the DNC and the RNC, but between the 1%, their enablers, and the rest of us. That the 1% has somewhat factionalized between the very rich with savior complexes and the very rich with victim complexes isn’t that relevant because both are acting as anti-democratic forces and can’t be trusted to do anything about the coming climate devastation outside of looting the remains.

Michael Bloomberg’s proposed path to the nomination was predicated on either a) a Super Tuesday triumph created by vastly outspending all other candidates in the relevant states, b) a brokered convention where it turns out the DNC and 50+% of the country would subvert the vote because they loved Michael Bloomberg as much as Michael Bloomberg loves Michael Bloomberg. Was it really surprising he crashed and burned as quick as he did? But more importantly, both paths just presume that somehow the popular vote, the basic idea on which democracy is founded, would be subverted. Elizabeth Warren is now floating the same idea. Messaging from the DNC suggests Biden would take similar action if Sanders doesn’t get a plurality. A large proportion of the candidates running basically presume that the voting process will be rendered irrelevant in the final rounds.

It’s been said that the primary rule of institutions is that people within them will by and large jockey for power within the institution over power in the larger sphere. Generally speaking this isn’t the worst thing since when the opposite happens you tend to see the rich come to an agreement to act as a coordinated criminal enterprise and loot the middle class and poor. That’s what’s happening now.  The bi-annual Republican “tax cuts” (re: massive handouts to the 1%) aren’t because the 1% need more money to live, but because they need to proportionately dominate a large percentage of liquid capital and infrastructure in order to permanently cement their authority.

What authority? The authority over democratic mechanisms, norms, and restrictions against poisoning (the Sacklers, Flynt), robbing (2008), and the use of the state’s monopoly on violence to beat down any attempts by the population at large to stop these exploitative and criminal practices (violent destruction of the OWS encampments).

But to go back again to the rule of institutions, this rule in action is causing the current crisis within the Democratic party. They are vociferously acting to protect their donors from their voters so they can maintain their positions on the sinking ship vs. righting the ship. As I illustrated with the sinking boat metaphor, the stakes of the current international crises (climate change, collapse of capitalism into surveillance feudalism, etc. etc.) make a moderate/centrist stance ironically but profoundly radical-if we value ourselves and our neighbors, the bare minimum we need from any candidate is a plan that will prevent us all from roasting to death in our own carbon emissions. You can call that “The Levine Test”.

Biden doesn’t pass that.

Sanders does.

The Biden campaign so far has entirely hinged on the big bluff of “electability”. There is no rational argument for this. It is a lie that has been repeated by scared rich people until enough scared people below them decided that was the truth.

If Joe Biden were a used DVD, the case would say “FROM THE PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT YOU 4 YEARS OF DONALD TRUMP: THE ONLY GUY WHO CAN BEAT DONALD TRUMP!! (TM) (we swear this time guys, super serial!!!)”

Outside of the sexism boost, Biden has a much weaker track record than Clinton and is a weaker candidate overall. If Clinton couldn’t beat Trump, why would we think this guy could?

If Trump decides not to relinquish power, what in Biden’s history suggests he wouldn’t just roll over and blame the Senate?

The argument that Biden will win conservative voters over from the Republican party ignores the radicalization of the GOP and their base-this is like expecting the Heaven’s Gate cult members to commandeer the spaceship and then mug Marshall Applewhite for his Nikes and applesauce.

We’ve already seen the Russian playbook against Biden in action: use the Hunter Biden Burisma stuff like Clinton’s e-mails in 2016. And we’ve seen no moves by the DNC or Biden suggesting they have any effective means of tackling it.

We haven’t seen anything similar for Sanders. This is probably because Putin, Trump et. al think a brokered convention is an inevitability if Sanders gets far enough and the damage done would be worth it whatever the outcome. Putin, Trump, et. al probably aren’t wrong to think this-they know the habits of the 1% firsthand.

Biden and the DNC’s greed and hubris are existential threats to the US and human society. The time for fucking around has long since passed.