Russians Trolling Black Voters -Appropriating Words of Malcolm X

“photography of street signage” by Kay on Unsplash

Just 18 days before the 2018 midterm election and Russian trolls (for lack of a better definition) have launched a vigorous attack on Black voters with an old Malcolm X Speech.

In the early 1960s Malcolm X broke down the Democratic Party as the northern wolves and the southern Dixiecrats. During this period of American history, Blacks were prohibited from voting in the Democratic Party Primaries in the South. These primaries were termed as the White Primary by southern Blacks. The White Primary determined the white Democrat who would represent the Democrats on the ballot in November. Blacks usually voted Republican during this period of time.

But during the presidential election of 1960, Robert Kennedy showed unusual kindness to Coretta Scott King when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been arrested on trumped up charges in Dekalb County, Georgia. The authorities secreted King out of Dekalb County and held him in the notorious state prison in Reidsville, Georgia.

Police chicanery like this was often a precursor to murdering a Black leader. As King’s followers scrambled for ways to gain the release of their leader, Bobby Kennedy made several telephones calls which caused the Georgia authorities to release Dr. King unharmed.

Kennedy’s intervention led the father of the great orator, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., a staunch Republican, to switch his allegiance in the 1960 Presidential race from Richard Nixon to Bobby’s brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This marked the second time in the 100 years since the Civil War that blacks had broken rank with the Republican Party and voted for the Democrats.

The other occasion was the 1932 election when Robert Moton, the second President of Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama withdrew support from the incumbent Herbert Hoover, a Republican, because Hoover reneged on a 1928 promise to give southern plantations over to Black farmers, as a form of reparations, as those plantations went into bankruptcy.

For the next five elections, Blacks swung their vote to the Democrats, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

In 1952, Black voters returned to the GOP under the leadership of President Dwight David Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon. In the 1960 election Nixon and Kennedy were locked into a brutal battle for the Presidency. The contest was Nixon’s to lose. He had it in the bag and while history assigns several reasons for the collapse of Nixon’s campaign at the end, seldom do historians give credit to the late surge of Black support which swung to Kennedy as a result of “Daddy King” pulling his support away from Nixon.

Since 1960 Blacks have voted between 88 to 92 percent for Democrats in presidential elections. It appears that Trump and the Russians are dead-set upon making America a one party state, `a la Russia.

It is no secret that the Democrats are top heavy with Black support and the GOP not so much.

How do you break up this dynamic?

First, it is not necessary to convert a majority of Black voters to Republican voters.

Second, all that is necessary to weaken the Democrats is to make Blacks hate them as much as they hate Republicans, thus causing Blacks to become non-voters.

The trolls have come up with this clever video, which I will not repost here because I do not want to participate in the distribution of this propaganda. It contains audio of the iconic Malcolm X destroying the southern Dixiecrats who were holding up the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the United States Congress at that time.

As we know, Malcolm waxed truthfully and strong.

There is no way the passage of time can dilute his message and in many ways the Black leadership, that filled the void when the Dixiecrats ran to the Republican Party when Richard Nixon resurfaced in 1968 with his “Southern Strategy” to win back the White House, has failed to make the party accountable to its Black constituents.

The late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Holbrook Jackson was prodding the Democratic National Committee to become more responsive to Blacks in the Party when he met his untimely death at age 59 in 2003.

This video features pictures of current Democrats over the audio of Malcolm X as he slices and dices the Dixiecrats of old. President Obama (according to the video was a sell out) and the Clintons are featured prominently in this video. It ends with Hillary taking an oath declaring she is “a racist.” While the partisans debate whether she is or whether she isn’t a racist, I submit to you, that if true, it is unlikely that that Hillary Clinton is dumb enough to be caught mouthing those words for a video camera. If there is any doubt about the authentic purpose of this video, that seemingly parting disclosure from the former First Lady is a dead giveaway.

In the immortal words of Malcolm X during his dissertation on the 1960 Democrats, “What kind of chump believes this…,” a hate filled video that depicts Democrats, 18 days from the 2018 midterm election, as a vile enemy of Black people?

There were far too many of these kinds of videos circulating on Facebook and other social media sites during the 2016 election that surely had an impact on Black voters who could not separate truth from a false narrative purportedly based on truth.

Apparently well educated, highly professional Black Americans do believe this distorted view of Malcolm’s thrust that Blacks should be independent and not in bed with any particular party. This video was shared privately with me by an award winning journalist that I admire. It was shared with other well educated Black professionals.

I shudder to think how many senior Black voters, who are old enough to have known the context of Malcolm’s words, will be impacted by this video. Not to mention young Blacks who are not old enough to fully understand the dynamics of the 1960 rhetorical posits of Malcolm X.

Needless to say, far too many of these videos under the onslaught of Russian trolling negatively impacted the 2016 General Election.

For two years we have talked about Russian trolling in the 2016 election and yet, when we see their trolling efforts in the 2018 midterms we can’t decipher them. We continue to fall victim as prey to this predator hell-bent on toppling American democracy at home and ultimately American Imperialism abroad.

Wake up sleepy heads before we are all doomed to worship at the throne of a one party state!

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Medium and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

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