White Supremacy Is Baked Into Our Electoral System

How did we get here? How did we get to the end of a week in which the Americans cast 160 million votes, the highest number ever at a general election and the highest voter turnout among eligible citizens for over a hundred years, a week in which a candidate has received Almost 4 million votes more than the otherand we still don’t know who our next president is?

Last week, your hosts, Melissa Harris-Perry and Dorian Warren, on System Check looked at all of the different opportunities that make it difficult for people in this country to cast their vote. But it’s one thing to vote – on this week’s show they explain why making that vote important is an entirely different thing.

It’s time for a system check of how your vote is counted.

Listen to episode 2 of System Check.

Every conversation about representation in our democracy must begin at the fundamentally unequal institution of the electoral college. Rashad RobinsonThe President of Color of Change and spokesman for Color of Change PAC discussed with us how obstacles to the casting and counting of votes by black Americans have been “burned” into our political system.

Next Up, Kristen ClarkeThe President and Executive Director of the National Civil Rights Advisory Committee looks at Republicans’ strategy to nominate and approve Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court. Is it a coincidence that Barrett was upheld in court just in time – one leg of the “three-legged chair” of the conservative movement of counter-majoring – just in time to crush the will of the majority of voters?

Our history is important, and the dark periods in our past can guide us through our struggles today. Professor Blair Kelley from North Carolina State University offers both a deeply historical and personal perspective on voter repression based on her family’s experiences during slavery, reconstruction, and at Jim Crow South.

Just as racism helps explain the particular way our institutions were formed, it is also a stick for those in power and those who feel threatened by equality today. Nation’s own sports editor, Dave Zirin, attended our live coverage of election night and reminded us of an important takeaway to better understand the election results. And Cristina Beltran from NYU, author of Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy, joined us to reflect on what “white rule” really is, a bourgeois experience for non-white voters hoping to cast a vote and make them count.

But it wouldn’t be System check If we haven’t talked about how to get out of our current chaos. The nationStrikes correspondent Jane McAlevey spoke to us about the intersection of a moment of movement with a presidential election and the need for nonviolent, direct action. And two members of Congress come to us to talk about what to do when the votes are counted: Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in Congress, points us on a path forward that puts intersectionality at the center , and Black Caucus Chair of Congress. Karen Bass reminds us of the need for outside pressure on all elected officials (Bass, like so many progressive champions, won her re-election offer this week).

Finally, Dreamer Astrid Silva of Dream Big Nevada has the final say this week as she talks to us about what this election means for millions like her who cannot vote, whose fate will depend on the final vote, but who remain hopeful regardless of the outcome.

Do you want to put all of these analyzes into action? We’re giving listeners three action points this week:

  1. Call on Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump’s accounts for spreading lies and misinformation about the election.
  2. Support the runoff elections and help us the work to make sure every vote is counted.
  3. Listen to ours 5 hours of live stream on election night For convincing real-time analysis with a range of insightful voices, from scientists to grassroots organizers on site.


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