By Senator Lena C. Taylor
I have a long list of must-see films, including “Harriet”, “Just Mercy” and yes, “Bad Boys for Life.” Yet, there is the 2018 film, “RIGGED: The Voter Suppression Playbook” that has proven to be the most consequential film of the century. Based on a true story, “RIGGED” leaves you speechless and screaming at the top of your lungs, all at the same time. You walk away questioning everything you thought you understood about American politics and basic humanity. Simply said, “RIGGED” is a hot mess!
The film outlines the “fork-in-the-road decision” that Republicans made in dealing with the changing American voter demographic. Although the film uses the 2008 victory of Barack Obama to get started, it becomes clear that there is a bigger picture at play. After all, the fact that roughly 25% of Obama’s votes came from black and brown people put the nation on notice. However, members of the GOP had long determined that the electorate tides were shifting. More importantly, when faced with the decision of how to respond: court these emerging voters or squash them, Republicans chose to do the latter.
In hindsight, the writing was on the wall. Most of us were too busy with life, family, and work, to see it coming. The Republicans methodically set about eroding the ability for African-American, Asian, and Latino voters to easily participate in the voting process. Likely, no fan of Malcolm X, they certainly adopted his mantra in the attempt to retain legislative power “by any means necessary”.
What resulted was a plan, that took place over years, to undermine the concept of “one person, one vote?” “RIGGED” identifies and explains a sinister ten-part strategy, created by Republicans, to suppress the votes of those most likely to vote against them.
According to the film’s website, “Rigged” shows viewers just what they did – and continue to do – from creating new barriers to voter registration, to purging American citizens from the voting rolls without notice, to new and deliberate impediments to casting a vote. In addition, the film shows how GOP activists developed an elaborate but false narrative of widespread voter fraud in order to justify the necessity for new and draconian voting restrictions”. Sound familiar?
As Wisconsin residents look on, there has been a persistent effort to remove up to 209,000 people from the state’s voter rolls. This purge would heavily impact black and brown, as well as Democratic voters. As a state we have already created many obstacles to voting, and this is just one other strategy to limit diverse voices at the polls. Wisconsin would join other states, who have purged more than 17 million voters across the nation in the last few years.
After viewing the film, you understand that our 2020 elections are in danger. Nothing has changed. In fact, Republicans have been emboldened by a president who disavows meddling in our elections, spreads verifiable lies about voter fraud, and who has done little to protect against outside interference. “RIGGED” helps us to better understand the adversaries within.