Monday, November 7, 2016


By Cash Michaels

            SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW? – To be transparent, this is being written the day before the election, so I have no knowledge who won, who lost and why. Thus, I can’t jump up and down and go “Yippee,” or if the results are what I didn’t expect (or want) go, “Oh hell!” So without any knowledge of what happened on Election Day, or after Election Day, here goes my concern.
            This presidential election is being seen as perhaps one of the most divisive in US history, and there is a huge question about what kind of country we will be afterwards, given how many of us have behaved before it was over. There is no question that this nation is split right down the middle, divided politically, socially and racially. When we heard candidates literally urging thousands of their supporters to express their profound hatred for the other candidate (“Lock her up, lock her up”), or encourage followers to beat people up, or call a particular ethnic group “rapists and murderers,” then there is no question that our future together is going to be tense.
            One side, if it loses, is going to angry and frustrated, but they’ll lick their wounds and gear up for the next election. The other side, if it loses, has already signaled that they will be the sorest of losers. They’re already chanting that “the system is rigged” if their candidate comes up short. Some of them believe that the system is so corrupt, they may have to take up arms at some point.
            And they don’t mind aligning themselves with avowed racists, while avowed racists are move than happy to align themselves with their movement. Why? Because thanks to the nonsense from their candidate, this country was great only before “other folks” got their rights.
            So the divisions are deep, very deep. Bridging that divide will take leadership, not necessarily from the next president, but on the ground and in the neighborhoods. Supporters from both sides will have to learn to stand the sight of one another, and be able to have civil conversations.
            But wait a minute – one of the reasons why there are people who feel that their government has left them and done nothing for them is because they are suffering economically. Either they’ve lost their jobs, or their wages and benefits have not improved in many, many years. Add to that the fact that the country is slowly but surely losing its white majority, and that foreign countries have become more competitive with us in almost every area we used to pride ourselves as dominating.
            And, of course, as we all know, blaming people of color for alleged “advantages” they supposedly receive from the government during hard economic times is a classic excuse for other folks to manufacture anger. It come as no surprise when we turn on Fox News and see conservative negroes (yes, some prefer to still be called that, raging against the term “African-American” because they don’t agree with hyphenated Americanisms.
            So yes, we have an awful lot of work to do as a nation to unify this nation in the aftermath of one of the worst presidential campaigns ever. Let’s just hope that things don’t get too far out of hand before we get it together.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A fluke on North Carolina ballots may have contributed to Wake Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan’s triumphant victory election night, when he won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court in stunning fashion. 
            Justice-elect Morgan defeated incumbent Republican Robert Edmunds decisively, 54 to 46 percent, thus shifting the power on the state’s seven-member High Court to its Democratic members 4-3.
            Among the many reasons why Justice-elect Morgan won his race Tuesday is because his name was printed first on the ballot over Justice Edmunds. Because Republicans are currently in control of the Governor’s Office , they control the state and local boards of elections. Thus, they determined that in every partisan race between Democrats and Republicans, Republican candidates would be listed first.
            However, because of an appellate court ruling, the race between Morgan and Edmunds was officially designated to be non-partisan, and yet, because Morgan, a Democrat, appeared first, many election night observers believe those voting Republican in judicial races assumed that they were voting for one of their own.
            Add to that the fact that Democratic state appellate court candidates all lost their bids for office. Incumbent Judge Linda Stephens, Judge Margaret Eagles, former Judge Abraham Penn Jones, Wake District Court Vince Rozier, Mecklenburg District Court Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell all came up short, each losing to Republicans, and gaining the GOP five seats on the fifteen-member NC Court of Appeals.
            In Wake County races, voters elected a new school board and board of commissioners.
            Democrats won all three seats on the county commission board, with Chairman James West winning unopposed in District 5, Erv Portman won in District 4, and in District 6, Greg Ford was victorious over Republican John Odom.
            In the Wake School Board race, four members of the board – Christine Kushner, Jim Martin, Roxie Cash and Zora Felton, all ran unopposed. District 4 school board member Keith Sutton, who represents southeast Raleigh, wn re-election easily with over 70 percent of the vote. Board Chairman Tom Benton won re-election in a close race in District 1, Lindsay Mahaffey was the winner in District 8, and in District 9, moderate Republican school board member Bill Fletcher also won re-election.

                                         Voters at Chavis Community Center during early voting period.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            On Election Day, thousands of North Carolina voters who had been illegally removed from the voting rolls of Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties because their voter registrations were cancelled, were able to cast their ballots, thanks to a federal judge’s ruling which called their removal “insane.”
            The NCNAACP charged that the black voter removal by the three county boards of elections was another attempt by Republicans to suppress the black vote right before the crucial 2016 general election, and filed suit Oct. 31st in federal court in Winston-Salem against the State Board of Elections and three county BOE’s cited.
            US District Court Judge Loretta Biggs, in her Nov. 4th ruling, agreed.
            “[T]here is little question that the County Boards’ process of allowing third parties to challenge hundreds and, in Cumberland County, thousands of voters within 90 days before the 2016 General Election constitutes the type of “systematic” removal prohibited by the [National Voter Registration Act],” Judge Biggs wrote.
            As outlined in the NCNAACP lawsuit and petition for an emergency injunction, members of a right-wing organization called “The Voter Integrity Project (TVIP) purportedly sent out thousands of pieces of mail addressed to mostly black voters in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties just a few weeks before the Nov. 8th general election. Any single mailing that came back marked “undeliverable” by the post office was then taken to the local county board of elections as “proof” that the voter no longer lived at that address, and therefore should be removed from the voting rolls. “…without written confirmation from the affected voters or compliance with federal voter registration laws.”
            According to the suit 3,951voter registrations were challenged in Cumberland County, 400 in Moore County and 138 in Beaufort County.
But as the lawsuit maintained, the “undeliverable” scheme was in violation of the federal National Voter Registration Act, which clearly states that voters cannot be removed from the county rolls inside of 90 days before an election. That clearly wasn’t done, and the removals were deemed “systematic” because the challenges came from members of TVIP were “coordinated.”
Because of North Carolina’s notorious recent history of legislatively attempting to suppress the black vote through the 2013 voter ID law, the US Department of Justice [DOJ] filed a “statement of interest” supporting the NCNAACP complaint.
“[T]he purge program at issue here rested on a mass mailing and the silence of voters largely unaware of the potential injury to their voting rights,” the DOJ stated. In fact in many cases, the black voters targeted still lived at the addresses the alleged undeliverable mail came back from, or at the very least, were still living in the very county they were registered and eligible to vote in.
“The voter purges have a long history of being racially-motivated and terribly inaccurate, said Penda Hair, an attorney for the NAACP. “It’s a timeworn GOP strategy to suppress the black vote that is being recycled in the run-up to Election Day.”
The case was so outrageous, even President Barack Obama talked about it on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton as he urged crowds to vote.
On its website, the Voter Integrity Project blasted the NCNAACP for its action, maintaining that the civil rights group, was “…indirectly "attacking the race-blind research techniques of election integrity watchdogs in North Carolina."
“We will not take these false accusations lying down,” TVIP stated on its website. “Our supporters work for the integrity of US elections by exposing vulnerabilities and recommending corrective action. We question the motives of the NAACP and other groups who respond to our research by calling us names and entangling us in legal maneuvering.”
TVIP added that as a result of NCNAACP suit and media attention it garnered, the organization has been receiving numerous threats.
“The NAACP is defending rights of all North Carolinians to participate in this election and we will not back down and allow this suppression to continue. said Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Meanwhile the NC Republican Party touted in a pre-election press release that African-American early voting was down 8.5 percent from 2012, adding that  the “North Carolina Obama Coalition [is ] crumbling.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            In one of the most stunning electoral victories of any time in American history, controversial billionaire Donald J. Trump literally shocked the world, and proved every poll wrong, when he defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
            The Washington Post called it, “The revenge of the working class whites.”
            Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said Trump’s victory was “ one of the most exciting nights of my life.”
            The race was called by the Associated Press at 2:32 a.m. Nov. 9th after an evening that saw the Republican candidate conquer both red and Democratic blue states like Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina.
            The race in the Tar Heel state had been virtually neck-and-neck between Clinton and trump going into Election night, and initial umbers had Clinton in the lead for a good portion of the evening. But in the end, Trump pulled ahead winning over 50 percent of North Carolina voters to Clinton’s 45 percent.
            According to pre-election analysis, Republicans got more people out to the polls for early voting than Democrats, thus giving them at least 120,000 vote edge when Election Day began. Plus, there was much concern that North Carolina’s African-American vote was down by at least eight percent in early voting from what it was in 2012 when President Obama was running for reelection. Those two factors, observers believe, contributing to Trump’s runaway victory in the state.
            After Trump was declared the winner, Mrs. Clinton called him to personally concede the race. In his remarks at his victory party in New York City, Trump, with his new Vice President-elect Mike Pence at his side, commended Clinton for her years of “…service to our country.”
            But the immediate reaction from Clinton supporters, bitter because they had hoped to welcome the first female president of the United States, was negative.
            African-American commentators seemed to voice the anger and outrage of many on Twitter. CNN analyst Marc Lamont Hill wrote, “This is not about third parties. This is not about minority voters. This is about White Supremacy. Anything else is just a distraction,”
            MSNBC’s Joy Reid wrote, “I’ve never been so wrong about an election. Old America and New America went into battle, and New America was utterly vanquished.”
            Many could not escape the irony that the man who for five years proclaimed that President Barack Obama was “born in Kenyan, not in the United States,” will now succeed the nation’s first black president as the 45th Commander-in-chief when Trump is inaugurated on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.
            Once he takes office, Pres.-elect Trump will be able to stack the US Supreme Court with conservative justices, appoint right-wing ideologues like former NY Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as US Attorney General, and roll back much of Pres. Obama legacy triumphs, like the Affordable Care Act.
            Democrats also failed to take back the US Senate, where four seats were up for grabs.
            Just after 10 pm Tuesday night, the Associated Press called the US Senate race in North Carolina for Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, who held off a strong challenge from Democrat Deborah Ross, 52 to 46 percent. 
            For the US Congress, Democratic incumbents did well, with Congressman G. K. Butterfield [D-NC-1], Rep. Alma Adams [D-NC-13] and Rep. David Price [D-NC-4] all won their respective races handily.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer
            By the slimmest of electoral margins, Democrat Roy Cooper outpointed incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory election night by approximately 4,500 votes. Governor McCrory told a cheering crowd that possibly “thousands” of provisional ballots across the state, which had not been counted yet, could still determine the outcome.
            “There has to be a process, and we have to respect the process,” the governor maintained, noting that Nov. 18th is the canvass date that the final totals in all election night races will be determined in North Carolina.
            A happy Roy Cooper, however, declared victory election night, apparently confident that outstanding provisional ballots will lean his way. Over 4.7 million ballots were cast.
            The race between state Atty. Gen. Cooper and Gov. McCrory was hotly contested for months, with the lead in the polls shifting between the two up until the very end.
            If Cooper ultimately wins the governorship, he will have to contend with a Nc General Assembly where Republicans have maintained super-majorities in both the state House and Senate.
            Meanwhile Democrat Linda Coleman, a former state lawmaker, once again fell short in her rematch with Republican Dan Forest in the contest for lieutenant governor, losing again to Forest, 52 to 45 percent. In 2012, Coleman came within a whisker of beating Forest.
Democrat Dan Blue III, the son of state Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dan Blue [D-Wake], also lost in his bid for state treasurer, losing to Republican Dale Folwell, 53 – 47 percent. That seat was open when incumbent Janet Cowell decided not to run for another term.
            Democrat June Atkinson, longtime state superintendent of Public Instruction, lost her seat to Republican challenger Mark Johnson, 51 to 49 percent. Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, a Democrat, was unsuccessful in his attempt to defeat incumbent Republican NC Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, 56 to 44 percent.
While Democratic incumbent state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin lost reelection to Republican challenger Mike Causey, Democrat state Auditor Beth Wood won another four-year term, 51 to 49 percent.
Former state Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat, won his close contest over Republican Buck Newton for state attorney general, 50 to 49 percent.


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