GOP Attack on “Election Fraud” Is Really an Attack on Black Voters

Many events marking the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at U.S. Capitol have focused on voting rights. Republican attempts to restrict voting access for Black voters have been fuelled by false allegations about voter fraud. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority leader, promised Tuesday that he would vote to amend the filibuster rule to stop Republicans blocking new voting rights legislation. Professor Carol Anderson is the author of White RageAnd One Person, No Vote, says former President Trump’s false claims about voter fraud prompted a wave in 2021 of some of the most aggressive and racist assaults on voting rights in recent U.S. history. “It is Jim Crow 2.0,” Anderson says of Republican voter suppression waged through state legislation. “It is designed to make sure we have minority rule in the United States, that we don’t have a democracy.”


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AMY GOODMAN:This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Today marks the first anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at Capitol. This was when a mob of mostly white Trump supporters attempted to stop the certification for the 2020 presidential election. Many of today’s events will focus on voting rights, as former President Trump’s false claims about voter fraud have fueled Republican efforts to restrict voting access. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority leader, vowed Tuesday that he would vote for a change to the filibuster rule to stop Republicans blocking new voting rights legislation.

MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER:There is no better way than to repair the damage done by January 6th. It is to ensure that our constitutional order will be preserved for the future. If we fail to act to protect our electoral systems, the horrors that occurred on January 6th risk becoming the norm. The stakes could not have been higher so we will continue to move forward.

AMY GOODMAN:However, Democratic leadership may not have the votes necessary. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin expressed doubts Tuesday regarding the changes to filibuster rules.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Let me just say, to being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. That’s a heavy lift.

AMY GOODMAN:We go to Atlanta, Georgia to talk with Carol Anderson, Emory University professor and author of One Person, no Vote: How Voter Repression Is Defeating Our DemocracyAnd White Rage: The Unspoken Truth About Our Racial Divide.

Welcome back Democracy Now!Professor Anderson, thank you. Can you talk about what you think is at the root of Trump’s big lie about the election? It was a year ago today, January 6, not only the deadly insurrection — and maybe these are linked — but that a Black man, Reverend Raphael Warnock, and a Jewish man, Jon Ossoff, had just won the two Senate seats in Georgia.

CAROL ANDERSON: Yes. This is why I believe that the root cause of the problem is the delegitimization and delegitimization Black voters. In November and December, we heard about the big lie. And you heard Newt Gingrich talking about: “They stole the election in Philadelphia. They stole the election from Milwaukee. They stole the election in Atlanta.” Notice that he identified cities that have sizable Black populations, and linking those cities with the theft, with the theft of democracy, with the theft of this election, stealing it from good, honest, hard-working white folk. This was the subtext that led the insurrection. It was the delegitimization, or delegitimization, of African Americans as citizens or voters.

AMY GOODMAN:If you want to talk about the root cause of what was going on a year ago, how about the certifying national election? But it wasn’t only about Biden. It was clear that the Senate would be Democrat at this point a year back. You had this group, which included white supremacists and right-wing extremists, who were marching through the Capitol, one with a Confederate flag. Talk about the relationship between these two groups, and what you think must happen now.

CAROL ANDERSON:So, the connection is really the assault on American democracy via what i call the bureaucratic violence against voter suppression. What we saw in the 2020 election, and in the 2021 Senate runoff here in Georgia was that there was a huge voter turnout by Democrats. This included African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Indigenous voters who voted for the Democrats. And that flipped the — that flipped the White House, and it flipped the Senate. The flipping of the Senate from red to blue was what made this election, in white supremacist’s eyes, illegal.

So, when you have Mo Brooks, out of Alabama, talking about, “If you only count the legal votes, then Trump is the winner,” so that means that the illegal votes are those for African Americans — are those coming from African Americans, are those votes coming from Latinos, are those votes coming from Native Americans, are those votes coming from Asian Americans. It’s saying that the only real Americans are white Americans, white conservative Americans. Those are the only real Americans. This is the basis of this attack. That is why you saw the Confederate flag being hauled up in the Capitol, something that Robert E. Lee wasn’t even able to do.

AMY GOODMAN:Professor Anderson, a Georgian fellow, wrote an article about Jimmy Carter, the oldest-ever president. op-edIn The New York Times today, saying, “Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy.”

So, as we look back, let’s also look forward to the 2024 election. There are 200 vigils being held across the country today to discuss voting rights. You have this, well, some call him senator, some call him “the other President Joe” — that’s Joe Manchin — questioning whether he would change the filibuster rules. Talk about how filibuster links to voting and what the wave of voting suppression laws has — what has to be done about them.

CAROL ANDERSON:What really needs to be done is that we saw that there were many states, including Georgia that passed voter suppression laws. They figured out how African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans accessed the ballot box. And then they figured out how to close that access or make it more difficult. You also had laws that lowered the guardrails to protect this democracy from Trump’s ability to overturn the will the voters. This two-pronged attack is exactly what is happening in our state laws right now.

We need federal legislation to protect the rights of American citizens who wish to vote. This is the Freedom to Vote Act. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is it. Both of these are needed. But we’ve got this filibuster thing that says that you need to have 60 votes in order to even discuss this thing, to discuss protecting American democracy, to protect voting rights for American citizens. We must pass these laws so that we can have free and fair elections in 2024. The election is being rigged in front our very eyes. Jim Crow 2.0 is the way to prevent American citizens from voting. It is designed to ensure that we have minority rule in the United States, that we don’t have a democracy. It is a way to subvert a fully vibrant, multiracial and multireligious democracy. That is what’s on the table. That’s why the filibuster that is blocking federal voting rights legislation has to be stopped. Joe Manchin is wrong.

AMY GOODMAN:I wanted to visit Peter Navarro, a former Trump trade advisor, who was speaking on behalf of Ari Melber. MSNBCHe also outlined his support of the Green Bay sweep, which he called a plan to reverse the election results in six states including yours.

PETER NAVARRO:The plan was this: We had more then 100 senators and representatives on Capitol Hill ready to carry out the sweep. The sweep was as simple as that. We were going to challenge results in six battleground states. They were Michigan (Pennsylvania), Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Georgia.

ARI MELBER:Do you realize that you are describing a coup

PETER NAVARRO: No. Many of your premises are completely wrong.

AMY GOODMAN:So that was Professor Anderson, Peter Navarro. He also included Georgia. Your Republican secretary of state was under immense pressure from President Trump to find the 11,000 votes. The Republicans resisted. Today there’s no Republican leadership at the ceremonies at the Capitol. What are your thoughts?

CAROL ANDERSON:And it starts to tell you. Right after the insurrection and the invasion of Capitol, there were many Republicans who came out appalled and aghast. This quickly changed and you realized that Trump loyalty was the defining characteristic for a Republican. You are loyal not to the voters, but to Trump.

And you saw here in Georgia, when Brad Raffensperger and Brian Kemp basically refused to bend to Trump’s will, how they have become anathema, so that Raffensperger lost the — the new law, legislation, here has removed his power on the state election board. And you saw there were billboards up defining Kemp and Raffensperger as enemies, as enemies of democracy, because they did not abide by Trump’s will. We are currently in a situation where a party is loyal to a person and not to the country, is not loyal American democracy, is not loyal American citizens.

AMY GOODMAN:Would you consider President Trump racist? Would you consider the voter suppression laws being enacted across the country to be straightforwardly racist?

CAROL ANDERSON:Trump is a racist. Trump is a racist.

The laws being passed are just as subtle and vicious as the Jim Crow laws of the 1890s and early 20th centuries. They don’t say, “We don’t want Black folks to vote,” but the laws are written in ways that use the characteristics, the socioeconomic characteristics, of African Americans to stop and block African Americans from being able to vote. If you thought Jim Crow laws had been racist, then the laws that we are currently dealing are just as racist.

AMY GOODMAN:Carol Anderson, Emory University professor and author of the book The Second: Guns and Race in a Fatally Inequal America, also author One Person, no Vote: How Voter Repression Is Defeating Our DemocracyAnd White Rage: The Unspoken Truth About Our Racial Divide.

Next, we’ll look at the circumstances leading to the rebellion and what happened next. Newsweek’s William Arkin. Stay with Us.