President Trump, Tell Gov Desantis To: Let My People Go (Vote)

Michael Dobson newspaper

By Michael Dobson

Thank you, President Donald Trump. When Kim Kardashian and her spouse appealed to you for the release of a federal prisoner and urged you to pursue criminal justice reform, you listened and acted. It signaled relief for generations disproportionately affected by what has become a predatory system. Then, there was the signing of the historic First Step Act, along with the high profile commuting of the sentence for one black woman… Alice Marie Johnson. Today, you are on track to sign a piece of legislation that is finally going to make lynching a federal hate crime.

But this show of a substantive reforming of criminal justice only goes so far… before the legitimacy of this new found love of my black brothers and sisters goes into question. This show of love has been gone with overstated rhetoric and propaganda by operatives and supporters that suggest the current administration has done more for blacks than any other President, especially Barack Obama. Then there is the famous statement from the 2016 campaign trail when the appeal to blacks was “ what the hell do you have to loose” in an effort to move blacks away from its nearly complete support of the Democratic party,to vote Republican. But also standard is the administrations contradictions, like the diatribe against Chicago leadership at the conference for international chiefs of police … intimating that cities status as a sanctuary city contributes to its crime rate, and the horrible remarks made about Baltimore and its leaders.

It is true that in this presidential election year our President will get to talk about the mostly symbolic things done to appeal to blacks, despite the often offensive rhetoric. But, the most glaring evidence of hypocrisy is that the administration has done nothing to make sure that African Americans can vote. Sir, why haven’t you Mr President called Gov Desantis and asked him to let ex-felons vote according to the Florida voter’s intent.On February 6th 2020, at a gathering,a minute or more is spent with you stating that Desantis victory in Florida is owed to your support….making it clear that the two of you are close and that Governor Desantis sits in our governor’s mansion largely because you got behind his campaign. If you love me… love my people, why won’t you let us vote? If you love me, why does your party keep challenging Amendment 4 in the courts, which is itself a form of voter suppression. Is it because in 2016 the President lost the popular vote by 3 million votes and only won Florida ( beating Hillary Clinton) by just 112,911 votes out of a total of 9,122,861 cast (not counting the 378,786 cast for the others on that presidential ballot), knowing that if the 1.4 million voters Amendment 4 intended to give the franchise to could actually vote, statewide elections would go differently. For instance, let’s just say that 10 percent of those now eligible under Amendment 4 could vote, that would be 140,000 additional votes to the Florida electorate. With that number of additional votes, Donald Trump would not have won Florida’s 29 electoral votes in 2016.And given that blacks are disproportionately incarcerated and therefore will be represented disproportionately in that number now eligible, had policymakers not stepped in to create the current barriers for voting under amendment 4, coupled with the generally held view that most blacks would vote Democratic, allowing us to vote unencumbered could determine who will be the leader of the free word (or at least win Florida’s 29 electoral votes) .

So, my humble question to our President is this: Are you suggesting to blacks that we should vote for you because of a handful of things you’ve done (mainly in criminal justice) that some see as a help to blacks, while at the same time… working to make sure many of us remain disenfranchised from voting? If so, we just might not buy into all of the administrations proclaimed love and support, and some who you have fooled might not vote for you at the percentages you would need? Is the GOP our friend or enemy? Which is it? Does the GOP want to expand its base beyond mostly whites, or keep it like it is? Because I’ll tell you my brothers in the GOP … what you will get with hate, has its cap. So, respectfully Mr. President, can you call on Governor Desantis to stop challenging Amendment 4 and "Let my people Go" ..Vote.

Michael Dobson is a third generation Floridian, longtime Tallahassee lobbyist, columnist, President CEO of The Dream Foundation( statewide organization that focuses solely on Dr Kings legacy), and Founder President of Dobson, Craig and Associates. Reach him at Michael@dobsonandcraig,com


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