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‘Pitchfork Ben’ and the Jim Crow South Got Away with the Disenfranchisement of Voters. Will Trump?

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tags: Jim Crow, voting rights, Donald Trump, 2020 Election, disenfranchisement



On March 23, 1900, Sen. Benjamin R. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina, a former S.C. governor as well, took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to defend his state, which had taken the ballot away from Black voters in 1895. He reduced the issue to its simplest terms: “In my State there were 135,000 negro voters, or negroes of voting age, and some 90,000 or 95,000 white voters. Now, I want to ask you, with a free vote and a fair count, how are you going to beat 135,000 by 95,000? How are you going to do it?”

He commenced to tell his Senate colleagues how.

“We had a constitutional convention convened which took the matter up calmly, deliberated, and avowedly with the purpose of disenfranchising as many of them as we could under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments.”

President Trump is faced with the same arithmetical challenge that confronted Pitchfork Ben and South Carolina back in the day.

If a “free vote and fair count” are allowed to take place in the 2020 presidential election, opinion polls indicate that the votes opposed to Trump’s reelection are likely to significantly outnumber votes for keeping him in office.

Trump has had a taste of that. In the 2016 presidential race, the popular-vote winner was Hillary Clinton, who whipped him by nearly 3 million votes. The electoral college, not a majority of American voters, put Trump in the White House. He knows that, too.

Trump, who, like Pitchfork Ben, has little use for Blacks and other people of color, must find a way to reduce the number of anti-Trump voters who can actually cast a ballot.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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