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Sidney Blumenthal

America's Hidden Vote

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Passing almost without notice earlier this month, the public release of The Civil Rights Record of the George W Bush Administration - the official staff report prepared by the US Civil Rights Commission - whose submission is required by federal law, was blocked by the Republican commissioners. None the less, it was posted on the commission's website: "This report finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words."

Bush has held the Civil Rights Commission in contempt since its June 2001 report on Election Practices in Florida During the 2000 Campaign. Then it concluded: "The commission's findings make one thing clear: widespread voter disenfranchisement - not the dead-heat contest - was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election ... The disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters."

Vast efforts to mobilise or suppress African-American, Hispanic and Democratic voters have already reached a greater level of intensity than in any modern campaign. The Republicans in Ohio, for example, have attempted to toss out new Democratregistrations because it was claimed they were written on the wrong weight of paper, a gambit overruled by a federal court. From Pennsylvania to Arizona, a Republican consulting firm is discouraging new Democratic voters from getting on the rolls.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party has more than 10,000 lawyers deployed to defend against voter suppression, 2,000 stationed in Florida; civil rights groups are sending out more than 6,000 lawyers. Bush v Gore remains an open wound; and now the battle over voting rights, over democracy itself, is being fought again.

Since 2002, when Republicans exploited terrorism to besmirch the patriotism of Democrats in the midterm elections, what can only be called a new Democratic party has been summoned into existence by extra-party groups. More than 100,000 activists are tramping through the precincts. In Ohio alone, more than 300,000 new Democratic voters have been added, Cecile Richards, director of America Votes, told me. These registrations of literally millions of new voters did not just happen; they were organised.

The polls, nearly all showing a dead-even race, fail to account for the new voters, who have no past records. They do not measure those for whom a mobile is their main phone - 6% of the population - who will vote Democrat by a margin of two-and-a-half to one.

The Democracy Corps poll, however, filters in newly registered voters. Four months ago, the newly registered made up only 1% of the sample. One month ago, they comprised 4%. Now they are at 7% and rising. And they will vote for Kerry over Bush by 61% to 37%.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/...1332231,00.html

Edited by Sidney Blumenthal

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I am of the opinion that President Bush's failure to address the NAACP

was a signal sent to his white constituency that he was aligned with

them along racial lines.

Bush signalled his new intolerant, angry white christian right vote....they are out there, and the overall profile includes guns (yes) abortion (no) and private schools (federally funded)...the signal issues of gay church marriages, civil gay unions and civil gay marriages, in all its complexity, emerged as on of the

Cardinal Bellwether issues of the 2004 campaign,

dumbed down and conflated, with intolerance driving the debate.

Dan Carter says the Democrats need to compete strongly in the South, because

when pressed in the South, the intolerant crypto/neo GOP tend to play

the race card---and it backfires in the other electoral regions.

The loss of Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, this is a real realignment.

The New Deal, New Frontier, Great Society coalition is gone.

Albert Gore couldn't win Tennessee and John Kerry couldn't take West Virginia, Ohio or Indiana...Rural and suburban sprawl folks are conservative behind a

wartime president, and the above issues (and taxes).

The democrats are strong in the cities and Liberal northeast and west coast.

It strongly resembles 1860.

Shanet Clark Atlanta

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