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 The ‘Don’t Vote Early’ campaign and the pro-Trump effort to suppress black voters

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Join date : 2013-12-25

PostSubject: The ‘Don’t Vote Early’ campaign and the pro-Trump effort to suppress black voters   Wed May 30, 2018 10:06 am

Trump supporters teamed up with Breitbart and Steve Bannon to keep black voters from the polls.

Earlier this month, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower told a U.S. Senate panel that former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon used the embattled political consulting firm to suppress black voters in certain swing states.

Former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie told lawmakers the firm used “voter disengagement” tactics to discourage certain groups, namely African Americans, from casting ballots in an effort to help Trump win the election. At the time of his testimony, it was unclear what form those efforts took.

This week, details of that effort began to take shape. According to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday, Bannon, the conservative news site Breitbart, the Trump campaign, and other Trump supporters worked together to convince African Americans that it was not in their advantage to vote early — or at all.

“If you can’t stomach Trump, just don’t vote for the other people and don’t vote at all,” former Black Men for Bernie founder and activist Bruce Carter, who launched Trump for Urban Communities in the summer of 2016, remembers telling black voters.

The Bloomberg report also included an important detail about Carter’s effort to suppress black voters:

In the final weeks of October, Carter’s operation announced a ‘Don’t Vote Early’ campaign designed to convince black voters not to take advantage of early voting, which tended to build up banks of votes for Democrats.

Bloomberg explains that Carter set out to convince black voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida — three states critical for a Trump victory — that despite Trump’s white nationalist backers, they should support the GOP candidate. The campaign involved promising $1 billion in investments to restore urban communities and framing Hillary Clinton as an enemy to minority voters. And most importantly, it featured a direct appeal to keep people from the polls.

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia offer at least some early voting opportunity, whether it’s in-person voting ahead of an election or no-excuse absentee balloting. On average, the states that allow early voting give eligible citizens 19 days to cast a ballot before Election Day (some states offer up to 45 days).

During that early voting period, when both candidates were actively campaigning across the country, the Trump for Urban Communities’ Twitter account counted down to the election and encouraged voters to wait until Election Day to cast a ballot. According to Bloomberg, the Twitter account was run by a colleague of Carter’s who was enlisted to tweet on his behalf, though more people likely tweeted from the account.

The effort to keep black voters from casting early ballots got a boost on October 28 when then-FBI Director James Comey announced he would be reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. A few days later, the Trump for Urban Communities Twitter account repeated the appeal for voters to stay home, this time claiming that new, incriminating information about the email investigation could be revealed before Election Day.

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