Rev. Jesse Jackson: Defend the Constitutional Right to Vote & Expand Automatic Voter Registration
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Rev. Jesse Jackson: Defend the Constitutional Right to Vote & Expand Automatic Voter Registration

September 14, 2019


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I wanted to switch the
topic to another issue that you’ve been raising a lot of concerns about and that we
also discussed with Reverend Barber last week, was the issue of voter suppression across
the country and the impact that that is having on the ability of the people to express their
democratic will. REV. JESSE JACKSON: One understanding, Hillary—Hillary
won the election by 3 million votes. Gore was winning, and they cut—they stopped
the count, on the state’s rights, and didn’t count the votes in Duval County. He did not fight back. I don’t understand that yet. I thought Hillary threw in the towel much
too quickly. The Electoral College is as outdated as a
Confederate statue. She won the election. Now, we’ve heard the narrative about the
Confederate—about the Russian hacking. That’s a factor, no doubt. And Comey and the FBI, that’s a factor,
no doubt. And Electoral College. But voter suppression is not dealt with. And in North Carolina on the November 9th,
the Republican chairman celebrated, “We suppressed the black vote!” He declared it, a celebration. I spoke at a school with 7,000 Democratic
voters. They moved the precinct from the campus to
three miles down the road. They moved 168 precincts in North Carolina. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh,
in Detroit and in Wisconsin, voter suppression was the difference in those four critical
states. And so, I think that it is—we have formed
a voter commission, Dr. Barber and others of us, to offset the idea of the voter fraud,
because there is no evidence of voter fraud, but much evidence of voter suppression. When we got the right to vote in 1965, blacks
couldn’t vote. White women couldn’t serve on juries in
the South. Eighteen-year-olds couldn’t vote. You couldn’t vote bilingually. You could not vote bilingually. But we were able to challenge that and get
proportional representation and democratize democracy. And so, what they tried—when we do registration,
they do nullification. I think that we may have underestimated the
impact of voter nullification schemes. The more we put in the bucket, the bigger
the hole gets. We must now stop and fight the fights of state’s
rights and fight for—in Illinois, we now have automatic voter registration—automatic
voter registration, and must fight for the constitutional right to vote. We do not have the constitutional right to
vote, only the state’s right to vote. And we must have the constitutional right
to vote, so states cannot upend the national election. And we must also fight right now for automatic
registration at age 18. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But what could be done, especially
in light of the fact that President Trump is creating—has created a commission to
investigate voter fraud? REV. JESSE JACKSON: And that’s why we put—the
alternative commission is a commission on voter justice. And we’re going around the country doing
workshops. AMY GOODMAN: Has this been constituted, this
alternative commission? REV. JESSE JACKSON: It has been constituted, and
it is now rolling out. Attorney Barbara Arnwine and others of us,
Vince Hughes, chairman of the Finance Committee, and president— AMY GOODMAN: Barbara Arnwine is the—her
title is—she is with—the civil rights attorney in Washington, D.C.? REV. JESSE JACKSON: Indeed. And so, that commission, Bernie Sanders is
identifying with it, and Elizabeth Warren is identifying with it. We’re going to have an alternative to the
voter fraud commission. But last week, I went to Virginia, went to
21 stops in five days, doing voter registration, and in New Jersey. And I found many students who are protesting
have not yet faced the fact if you live in—you’re from New York, you’re in school in Charlottesville,
you have the right to do onsite voting where you live actually. So students who are living in one place and
voting in another make an unnecessary burden upon themselves. So we’re fighting for residency rights in
voting. And if students in Virginia turn the [inaudible]
higher crime and terror act into mass registration, they can win the election in Virginia. But they cannot very well be in Virginia and
Charlottesville or Richmond and not be able to vote where they live. AMY GOODMAN: Finally, you know, President
Trump tweeted against the black athletes but did not tweet about the second Charlottesville
rally that was held this past weekend. He attacked the black athletes, but not the
white supremacists, led by Richard Spencer, in Charlottesville. This is Charlottesville two, with their torches,
once again? REV. JESSE JACKSON: Well, if they love the American
flag so much, why do they not challenge the Confederate flag, which is antithetical to
the American flag? They rally around the Robert E. Lee—Robert
E. Lee said, “Don’t bury me in a Confederate uniform. Don’t have any paraphernalia around me,
because we lost that war, and it would be an insult to the North. In the name of healing, don’t put any Confederate
paraphernalia around me.” Lincoln forgave and pardoned many of them
in the name of healing. So this idea of reopening the— AMY GOODMAN: And didn’t Robert E. Lee say,
“Don’t make statues of me”? REV. JESSE JACKSON: Of course he said that. And so, this insistence of making of him an
idol, itself, among other things, is bad religion. But what we must do in the meantime is register,
with passion, campus by campus, and register to vote where you actually get your mail every
day, register and vote in the school that you attend. Right—residency is your right to vote in
that area. And if students across that state, and labor
and churches, vote their hopes and not their fears, they can win the election in November
and set the pace for 2018. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Finally, I wanted to ask you—you’ve
been around a long time. You’ve seen a lot of presidents come and
go. Your reaction to the continued war that President
Trump is waging against huge sections of the American population? REV. JESSE JACKSON: It’s hard to fathom, the
idea that you would start a campaign off challenging the birthright, the birthplace of President
Barack Obama, which was incentivized to feed him as red meat to the South, the fact that
you would make a case calling affordable healthcare “Obamacare.” It’s a name Democrats should have rejected
at the very beginning. Calling Affordable Care “Obamacare,” that’s
like just putting the black hand on top of the white hand to win the race against Harvey
Gantt. There’s no such law as Obamacare. And I saw many people who were really rooting
for Affordable Care, but not for Obamacare. They want omelette, don’t want the eggs. Like toothache chewing ice, it’s irrational. It doesn’t make sense. And so, the race baiting, the equivalent of
those who are marching against the Nazis marching and the white supremacists in Charlottesville
with those who were marching and were killed, is—we deserve better. But I would argue that we—in the struggle
for the soul of America, don’t surrender. Don’t spend all your time reacting to his
tweets. There’s some things we can do, like in your
state, fight for. New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan have only
one day to vote: on Tuesday. These states should lead the way in getting
automatic registration. They should lead the way in multi-day voter
registration. So, in the meantime, don’t spend all your
time reacting to his tweets, because he sets the agenda. As long as you’re reacting to him, you’re
not, in fact, focusing on jobs, justice, health and education. AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Jackson, one last thing:
happy 76th birthday. REV. JESSE JACKSON: Well, thank you very much. And God has blessed me in a big way to be
a long-distance running, keeping—I’m excited about going to Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands. I’m excited about it. AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Jackson, civil rights
leader, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, ran for president in 1984
and 1988, now on a multi-leg tour promoting voter registration on college campuses, headed
to Puerto Rico with a planeload of aid this weekend. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, President Trump pledges
to end DACA. We’ll speak with one of the first undocumented
lawyers. REV. JESSE JACKSON: Shame, shame, shame, shame. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute. [break] AMY GOODMAN: Today’s visitors from the Abrons
Book Club, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. The song you’ve been listening to, “Almost
Like Praying,” by acclaimed playwright, musician Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton,
that song featuring Rubén Blades, Gilberto Santa Rosa and pop star Jennifer Lopez and
many more. Miranda recorded the song less than a week
after he tweeted that President Trump is going straight to hell for his administration’s
slow response to the crisis in Puerto Rico. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

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  1. So sad to hear Jesse Jackson suggesting Hillary was cheated and that "Russian Influence" was a factor in the election. Sounds like he's drinking the media endorsed kool-aid, rather than holding the Democrats themselves responsible for their losses.

  2. What is the war against the population? Are you speaking of denying the right to kill babies? Are you talking about going against communistic healthcare? But then again you could be talking about stopping the terrorists from getting into the United States.
    Why condemnation without clarity? Is this a propagandist channel against the United States of America to destroy the USA and Israel for the united-nations that wants Jerusalem divided?

  3. Good Lord, I had no idea that as American citizens we do not have the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE. This is ridiculous.

  4. Almost every subsaharan post colonial country turned into a marxist, pseudo democratic dictatorship nation, somehow, liberal democracies do not for african cultures

  5. This jesse is a limousine idealist, pointing out issues that are not the real issues, always pointing fingers

  6. Russia is not a fact no doubt. He is a pawn. This is propaganda. There is absolutely no proof, in fact there is proof that the 'hacking' came from Washington DC not Russia. #dncfraudlawsuit wake up people. and Democracy Now, get back on track and stop towing party lines that further the globalization and war agenda.

  7. usa has always restricted voting so millions of adult citizens are prevented from voting for various reasons. usa has never had a fair election by world standards like we in civilized countries have.

  8. When Bush was re-elected in 2004, it was because Ohio's electronic vote was electronically altered by Carl Rove's IT man. He died the same way JFK Jr. died. Still think your voting really counts?? The system is corrupted and broken.

  9. There has to be a communication with all sort of people, maybe far from our beliefs, but with the same need that our children will live together. What about a thousand years! What will be our world then ?

  10. Calling the Affordable Care Act, "Obama Care", a most diabolical ploy to ruin any chances of establishing a viable health care system…

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