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Blog: Why ‘Plantation Politics’ Can’t Prop Up White Supremacy

‘Plantation Politics’ Have Been ‘Trumped’

Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California

December, 2018

Under normal circumstances, a major media outlet, like the Washington Post, would give voter suppression in North Carolina little mention. Since the suppression and theft of black votes is a permanent feature of southern politics, it is not news. Attention brought to the theft of black votes is normally accompanied by the Masonic ‘wink and nod.’ The ‘ballot harvesting’ that took place in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional was just one more method used by whites to maintain their absolute power in the ‘ole confederacy.’ So the attention that the Washington Post paid to the 9th Congressional race came as something of a surprise.

The Republican party has used ‘planation politics’ to win elections in North Carolina and throughout the ‘deep South’ since the days of Richard Nixon. Furthermore, during the days of Jim Crow, the ruling Democratic party employed the same tactics. Even when the Supreme Court, in its 2013 Shelby v Holder decision, gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, it did so with the full knowledge that suppression of the black vote not only continued unabated in the ‘deep’ South’, but was spreading into Northern and mid-Western states, as well. This was how things were. However, Trumpism seems to have ended the white supremacy’s unchallenged ability to disenfranchise black people. The deceptions that maintain the myth of the ‘American Creed’ and mask the political realities became apparent when an illiterate gangster entered the White House and gained the power of the government. Trumpism replaced America’s traditional ole boy’s club with a gangster’s turf war. The war between Donald Trump and the ‘deep state’ has shattered the fabric of American democracy and revealed how politicians, the press and the government all conspire to deceive the public to achieve their objectives. Like Humpty Dumpty, the American political system has suffered a great fall under Donald Trump’s authoritarianism.

‘Plantation Politics’ In North Carolina

In the November 2018 election, Leslie McCrae Dowless worked on the campaign of Baptist Pastor, Mark Harris, the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Pastor Harris narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent congressman, Robert Pittenger in May and in November, by about 900 votes, Harris defeated the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready.

But black voters in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District charged, in a number of affidavits, that their absentee ballots were either stolen or taken away under threats and intimidation. Using fraudulent means, campaign workers hired by Leslie McCrae Dowless and the Republican Party had absconded with a significant number of black absentee ballots and cast them for Republican candidates including Pastor Mark Harris, a right wing, evangelical, Tea Party candidate. Leslie McCrae Dowless stole the votes using the well-known practice of “ballot harvesting” ___ just one of the many ways whites control North Carolina’s black majority counties. In Bladen County___ a majority black North Carolina county inside the 9th Congrssional District ____ 62 percent of the absentee ballots of black voters went to Republican candidates.

In the past, no black person would have objected to Dowliss harvesting votes from the black community. They feared finding themselves unemployed or subjected to physical abuse ___or worse. Thousands of black voters ___ especially elderly black voters ___ were powerless to protest the Republican party’s control of the elections. Who could they turn to? The white sheriff, himself, got elected using ‘ballot harvesting.’

“She said she was there to get older people to vote,” Emma Shipman, 87, said in an affidavit about a white woman who took her absentee ballot. “She was kind of pushing me to do it.”

Further investigation into the North Carolina 9th District congressional race revealed that a significant number of black voters were turned away from their polling places because officials told them that they had already voted their absentee ballots. These black voters filed affidavits declaring that they had neither requested nor utilized their absentee ballot to vote in the 2018 election.

Leslie McCrae Dowless was known to have run numerous “ballot harvesting” operations in Bladen County for many elections. the Republican congressional candidate, Pastor Harris and the local Republican Party paid Dowless and his assistants. This was the way things were done down South.

Two years earlier, the North Carolina Elections Commission learned about the Dowless “ballot harvesting” operation. In 2016, Ira Glass, the talk show host of The American Life radio talk show, sent his producer, Zoe Chace, to a public hearing before the North Carolina Elections Commission. She recorded Dowless testimony openly admitting to operating the Bladen County voter fraud operation in plain sight. Dowless even used the same two women in 2018 who ran his 2016 ‘ballot harvesting’ operation. In both instances, these women obtained the absentee ballots of black voters by theft, fraud and intimidation. The Dowless operation was so blatant that the bipartisan North Carolina election board agreed to send all evidence of Dowless’ “ballot harvesting” activities to the US attorney of the Eastern District for North Carolina. Yet, two years later, the North Carolina Republican Party rehired Leslie McCrae Dowless and his confederates to operate the identical criminal enterprise for the 2018 campaign. Either, the US Attorney for the Eastern District for North Carolina took no action in 2016 or the election board did not forward their evidence. But in 2016, Trumpism had not seized society in its grip.

A Political Enigma

Trump is a political enigma. He is undoubtedly the most racist president since Woodrow Wilson, yet under his leadership, white supremacy is suffering increased scrutiny and continual reverses. Under Trumpism, plantation politics is becoming ineffective. This does not mean that white supremacy is no longer relying on deception, manipulation and violence. It means that Trump does not honor the closed door ‘gentleman’s agreements’ that, for so long enforced white supremacy’s rule. And so, the ‘deep state’ charged with guiding the destiny of white supremacy is scrambling to bring Trumpism to heel. The Washington Post’s handling of voter fraud in North Carolina illustrates the point.

In its article, “SSShoe-leather reporting boosting North Carolina’s explosive election fraud investigation,” the Washington Post, tries to convince its readers that the ‘shoe-leather’ of its reporter and the diligence of an ‘alert and brilliant’ North Carolina political scientist uncovered Dowless’ criminal ‘ballot harvesting’ activities ___ praising the Catawba University professor from Salisbury, North Carolina for his electoral expertise. The political science expert claims to have uncovered the ‘ballot harvesting’ scheme by studying the 2018 election returns and discovering that in Bladen County only 19 percent of mail-in absentee voters were registered Republicans, but 62 percent of the absentee ballots voted for Republican candidates.

“Where did that 40-plus percent come from?” the ‘brilliant’ political scientist asked himself as repored in the Washington Post. “Even if every single unaffiliated voter, about 39 percent, he said, had gone Republican, it would have not made up the difference.”

The Washington Post’s claim that the discovery of the Republican Party’s criminal enterprise by the shoe-leather of its reporters and brilliance of a North Carolina political science professor is a lie. All the white folks in North Carolina ___ including Catawba’s political science faculty members ____ knew exactly what was going on. Public testimony before the North Carolina Elections Board put the scheme into the public record two years earlier. Black voters testified that ‘ballot harvesting’ had been a common practice for decades. Even as the Supreme Court issued its 2013 Shelby v Holder decision, gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act in, the justices knew that the disenfranchisement of black voters in the ‘ole South’ was an ongoing process. So the lies the Washington Post tells its readers about the shoe leather discovery is just one more clumsy attempt by the ‘deep state’ to put “Humpty Dumpty’ back together again.

Trumpism Has Turned The Information Age Into The ‘Buck Rogers’ Age

Despite the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts and the plasmasphere, which encapsulates the earth, millions believe that the ultimate salvation of the human race lies in space exploration and the defeat of real or imagined aliens. This belief has transformed the twenty-first century from the Information Age into the ‘Buck Rogers’ Age ___ from an age of scientific discovery to an age of science fiction. But lies about space travel and climate change are necessary to maintain the myth of white supremacy. Yet, no amount of violence, no increase in public and private prisons, no canon of lies can prevent the ultimate collapse. Prior to Trumpism, the government was absolutely preoccupied with intelligence gathering as the singlemost important method of maintaining its power and authority. But under Trumpism, all the lies are exposed ___ not only the president’s lies but those of government as well. Under Trumpism, the press, the politicians as well as government’s bureaucrats are seen as feckless and greedy money grubbers, engaged in an all consuming effort to grab power. In the age of Trump, the press, the Congress, the Supreme Court and especially the White House are domiciles of ‘swamp’ creatures, without morals, values or basic human decency. America is no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, it has become the land where infants are put in cages, ICE agents rape and murder immigrant women and the courts try children as adults without the protection of habeas corpus.