[Dateline: Chicago] “Why would somebody say a crazy statement like that?” Bernie had his arms spread like gull wings, fingers scribbling facts in the air.
“Why” was not really a question.
Watch this five-minute video of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rev. Jesse Jackson and their alliance to take on Kris Kobach, the Dr. Moriarty of vote suppression.
In Jesse Jackson’s private ministry office, the Reverend and I had just laid out President Trump’s claim that 3 million Americans were voting twice—a massive crime wave of Black, Brown and Asian-Americans stealing the vote.
To Sanders, ‘crazy’ is Trump’s cover. Bernie was worked up. He was talking about Trump’s claims of millions of people illegally voting twice. “To my mind it was fairly obvious. What he was doing was sending a signal to every Republican governor in the country: you go do voter suppression. So that is the signal. So then he follows up with this so-called ‘Commission.’”
Jackson has declared war—and drafted Bernie Sanders for the front-line assault. Their target: Donald Trump’s so-called “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”—and its chief, Kris Kobach, Sec. of State of Kansas.
It was Sunday. The choir was rocking the sanctuary upstairs. This was the annual convention of Operation Rainbow/PUSH.
Rev. Jackson had just announced that he’d asked the nation’s premier voting rights attorney, Barbara Arnwine, to chair a commission of real experts to counter Trump’s and Kobach’s commission of zealots and whack-jobs Trump assigned to rewrite the nation’s laws to make voting an effectively whites-only affair. (Trump appointees include “Prof.” Hans von Spakovsky who peddles the completely Loony-Tunes claim that over one million aliens voted in the last election.)
Jackson had called me down to his sanctum to explain Kobach’s secretive “Crosscheck” vote purging program and enlist Sanders’ help in stopping Kobach from forcing this ethnic voter cleansing system on all fifty states.
Today, Wednesday, Kobach (and the nominal Commission Chairman, Vice-President Mike Pence), will hold the first meeting of what Trump calls his “Vote Fraud Commission.”
Weirdly, Kobach will have a formal swearing-in ceremony—for a commission without any congressional authority. Authorized or not, this commission can create big trouble for the remnants of our democracy.
They Gave Kobach their Files – then Lied About It.
Last week, there was a big brouhaha over Kobach asking every state to turn over their voter files, including the last four digits of citizens’ social security numbers.
In response to a public outcry, one GOP Secretary of State after another loudly proclaimed they would not turn over their voter rolls to Kobach and his Commission.
It’s absolutely true that the GOP officials of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi did not hand over their files to Kobach in Washington. However, they failed to mention that they’d already turned over their files, including those social security numbers, to Kobach’s office in Kansas.
In all, 28 states, almost all GOP-controlled, turned over a total of 98,263,382 voter files to Kobach.
And that’s far more dangerous than sending voter files to DC. The files sent to Kansas churned through Kobach’s “Crosscheck” computer program—which spit out the names of 7.2 million “potential double-registered” voters who, Kobach claims, could vote in two states in a single election. And for this “potential” crime, hundreds of thousands will lose their right to vote.
While the Palast team, working for Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone, obtained the confidential lists of millions of names on the Crosscheck suspect list, this document was hidden in plain sight… right there on the website of the Kansas Secretary of State!
No wonder the US media missed it.
But, as the journalist Yogi Berra once said, “It’s amazing what you can see if you look.”
So, enjoy the 5-minute flick, then watch the movie of the full investigation of Kobach and billionaires behind him: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy—A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.
And something new: to make a special, updated “activist” version of our film requested by Reverend Jackson to show in churches nationwide. It’s a request we are honored to fulfill… if we can get the resources. We’re passing the plate.
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as major non-fiction movie.
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