This Election Proves the Need for a Full Constitutional Right to Vote
Thom Hartmann / Buzzflash
(November 2, 2020) — America needs an absolute right to vote, like most other major democracies.
One legacy of slavery is that our Constitution does not contain an absolute right to vote for all citizens who have achieved the age of majority.
Our property rights are totally intact. If the government wants to take away your house or your car because, for example, you didn’t pay your taxes, they have to go to court to do it.
Our gun rights are strong. If the government wants to take away your guns, they have to go to court and prove their case in front of a judge.
Our marriage rights are solid, at least until Amy Coney Barrett weighs in on the Supreme Court. If a government official tries to deny you a marriage license, that person can be sued or, in some states, even go to jail.
Our free speech rights have been so expanded that the Supreme Court has ruled that if billionaires want to buy politicians, that is totally legal and considered “free speech.“
Our right to due process is still respected in America. If the government wants to put you in jail, they have to go before a jury of your peers and prove their case.
Voting, however, is not and never has been a right in America. Which is why the largest part of the Republican election strategy this year has been to prevent people from voting, and to try to block their vote from being counted after it’s been cast.
Because we do not have a right to vote, the Postmaster General can delay your ballot without worrying about going to jail, and Republican politicians across the country can pass laws making it harder and harder for you to vote or have your vote counted.
Taking away our votes should be as tough a job for Republicans as taking away our homes or our guns.
America needs a 28th Amendment that establishes an absolute right to vote for all citizens who’ve achieved the age of majority. While we’re working on that, we need laws that assert the right to vote in such emphatic language that courts can enforce it and reverse decades of Republican voter suppression.
Only then can America call itself a functioning democratic republic.
Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of the War on Voting and more than 30 other books in print. His most recent project is a science podcast called The Science Revolution. He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute.
Looking Forward: “The Civil War Began on November 4.” And Looking Backward From the Nightmare of the Possible Trump Coup to Come
[January 20, 2021] — While President Donald Trump takes his oath of office today in the White House bunker, the capital remains subdued, quiet except for the shriek of sirens and the black unmarked SUVs rushing to pick up the bodies of the “Antifa rioters,” as Trump called them, shortly before Attorney General Bill Barr’s December invocation of the Insurrection Act.
National Guard troops are refusing the President’s shoot-to-kill order but the deputized Customs and Border Protection officers show no hesitation.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden issued this statement from the basement of his Delaware home:
“While we find the results terribly disappointing, I will not obstruct the workings of America’s democracy. I have asked the state parties to halt any attempt to count the unopened mail-in ballots. I cannot guarantee the safety of those working at the count.
“I am asking all Americans, whether you voted for me or not, to come together and end the violence. Today, I do my part. I have called President Trump to congratulate him on his victory in accordance with our constitutional process. And may God bless America.“
But by that time, no one gave a good goddamn what Joe Biden had to say, not the AtomWaffen nor the Three-Percenters setting fuses around his compound, nor his supporters watching Chief Justice Barrett administering the oath, “To protect and defend the Constitution” broadcast on flickering web channels.
[November 7] From this distance, I can see the black smoke rising from the Miami-Dade County Building. The last of the line of ambulances has just pulled away.
One by-stander, name withheld, told me it reminded him of the “Brooks Brothers Riot” organized by Roger Stone during then Bush-Gore election count. This time, Stone’s troops, the Proud Boys, didn’t wear Brooks Brothers suits.
Unconfirmed reports are that all poll workers survived, though none of the ballots.
The word from Jacksonville is less hopeful. On Thursday, the President re-tweeted a rumor that several pallets of absentee ballots had been sent from Venezuela. Within the hour, the main post office was in flames.
Laurel Lee, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State, ordered a halt to the ballot count, much as her predecessor Katherine Harris did in 2000.
The GOP-controlled Legislature declared, as they did in 2000, an early end to the ballot count. They cited the impossibility of locating the missing mail-in ballots, the nearly 700,000 absentee ballots challenged for wrong signature, 200,000 “spoiled” and 150,000 with postage due which, they claimed, could not be tallied in time for the November 17 Florida Presidential Elector “certification” deadline.
Citing Article II of the Constitution, which gives absolute authority to state legislatures to choose the winning slate of Electors, the Florida Senate and House have passed a law, as they did in 2000, stating that no ballots counted after November 6 would be accepted in the tally. The law guaranteed a victory for Trump’s slate of Electors.
And in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Biden’s early poll leads have come to naught. The count is hopelessly delayed due to the riots in Philadelphia and the sabotage of the count in Detroit by Trump’s Oath Keeper “poll watchers” challenging every ballot, as the GOP had practiced in 2016.
Republican legislators in control of legislatures in those states, citing Article II, declared that their states would not certify any slate of Electors. A spokesman for Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said, “There are thousands, millions, of fraudulent mail-in ballots out there. We just can’t certify this as an honest election. And with all the violence and looting, we cannot continue the count — and therefore, will certify no Electors at all.”
The move was a brilliant gambit on behalf of the President. With states refusing to certify Electors, neither Biden nor Trump could gather 270 votes in the Electoral College, handing the choice of President to Congress. Under the Constitution’s XIIth Amendment, each state received one vote. Wyoming, the Dakotas and, in all, 26 Republican-majority delegations easily outvoted California, New York and the 23 Democratic-controlled delegations.
Biden’s lawyers, via Zoom, refusing to reveal their location, submitted the Democratic Secretary of State’s slate of Electors to the Supreme Court, citing the Electoral Count Act of 1887. John Roberts showed no rancor toward Trump for replacing him as Chief Justice. Indeed, sources say, Roberts wrote the unsigned opinion of the Court, “The Electoral Count Act is not the law. We are the law.”
[January 22. Oakland.] We can confirm that over 150,000 Americans, an extraordinary mix of young and old, have responded to the call to gather at Fort Bragg, which the New Resistance Army renamed Fort Freedom, where quiet, determined soldiers handed out spare uniforms and weapons.
And on the wooden boards of 10,000 burnt-out storefronts, from Houston to Minneapolis, a simple spray-painted message, “LET FREEDOM RING.”
Dear readers, I wrote these “news reports from the future” three months ago, but I did not think America was ready to hear it. And I hope this remains nothing more than my dark nightmare and will disappear with the morning light.
Will voters, or violence and sabotage, re-elect the President? I don’t know. But I can say I never imagined that, in my lifetime, Americans would have to ask that question.