GOP Boss Hogs 4 Titles But Says Black Trump Supporters Can’t Have 1

By DOUG IBENDAHL • May 13, 2018

 

Less than a century ago, Democrats in the southern states comprising the Old Confederacy were still playing all kinds of despicable games to keep blacks from participating in American democracy.

 

Texas for example (and it was not alone) actually had a state statute specifically prohibiting blacks from voting in the Texas Democratic Party primary. And Texas Democrats didn’t mince words about their racism. They were very open about it. Their state statute read:

 

“[I]n no event shall a negro be eligible to participate in a Democratic party primary election held in the State of Texas.”

 

Winning a Democratic Party primary in those days in states like Texas was pretty much a guarantee of winning the general election because the Republican Party in the South was so weak. Adding insult to injury, the same racist Democrats in Texas instituted a poll tax in 1902 which effectively suppressed the black vote and also prevented most from participating on the Republican side.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down the Texas law as violative of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution in Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927).

 

But racist Democrats in Texas wouldn’t be deterred. They tweaked their statute with the intent of achieving the same result, and in hopes of having it pass constitutional muster. It didn’t work.

 

It actually took four landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court before the most deplorable games played by Democrats in the South came to an end.

 

The last in the series was Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944). In that case the Court addressed a final desperate attempt by Texas Democrats to exclude blacks. Democrats there basically said, “Okay fine, we’ll just operate and pay for our own primary elections. We’ll be a purely ‘private organization’ and no court can touch us because state action won’t be triggered. We can therefore do whatever we want.”

 

But the Court in Allwright rejected the “private organization” claim. Political parties are not purely “private organizations” but do in fact have a significant public component, even where, as Texas tried to do, the party primary is entirely funded by the party itself. (In Illinois of course, taxpayers pay for all of the election machinery which the political parties regularly utilize.)

 

As the Court in Allwright observed: “The party takes its character as a state agency from the duties imposed upon it by state statutes; the duties do not become matters of private law because they are performed by a political party.”

 

So you would assume the “private organization” canard is long dead, and no one would be stupid enough to try and resurrect it.

 

Unfortunately, that assumption would be wrong. What’s even more incredible, not to mention shameful, is that it’s actually some misfit Republicans in Illinois who are today trotting out the long-ago discredited “a political party is a private organization” nonsense.

 

And the misfits are doing so for reasons that look suspiciously like the reasons the racist Democrats in Texas floated when they tried unsuccessfully to hide behind the “private organization” label.

 

I recently wrote about a huge scandal in Illinois that’s been allowed to fester for over two years. I focused much of that story on Adrian Wright, a black woman from the south side of Chicago who is not only a true Republican, she actually worked for Donald Trump’s election, including travelling to the battleground state of Ohio to work on the ground for the Trump campaign in 2016. That was in addition to being a minority outreach leader for Trump in Illinois.

 

Adrian is also an elected Republican party official – or at least is supposed to be if GOP misfits had any respect for the U.S. Constitution. In the March 2016 Primary, Republican voters in the 3rd Ward of Chicago elected her as one of the 50 GOP ward committeemen in the City.

 

But despite her lawful election and Republican volunteerism going back decades, both the Cook County Republican Party and the Chicago Republican Party kicked her to the curb. Both of those organizations are “led” by individuals who to my knowledge have never lifted a finger for our President.

 

The Cook County Republican Party and the Chicago Republican Party still refuse to recognize Adrian Wright on their websites. See here and here. Neither website has a peep about President Trump either of course.

 

And as I detailed in the article linked above, Adrian was also barred from even watching the Cook County GOP convention on April 18.

 

Another dedicated black Trump supporter I personally know has received the identical disrespectful treatment. Philanise White was lawfully elected as Chicago’s 7th Ward Republican committeeman in 2016. That’s also on the south side, and like the 3rd, is also a predominantly black ward.

 

Philanise and Adrian worked closely together in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump.

 

But yet both were “fired” two years ago by local misfits via a buffoonish scheme which the Cook County Circuit Court found was “in violation of the fundamental right to vote.” That court ruling came on March 16 of this year.

 

As the court correctly recognized, the elected committeemen themselves aren’t even our biggest concern. What’s most repulsive is that VOTERS had their expressed wishes disregarded. Voters in those wards went to the polls, asked for a Republican ballot, and assumed they were electing someone to represent them in the local Republican Party.

 

Even more shocking, the misfits’ unlawful scheme disproportionately injured black voters in the 2016 GOP primary.

 

And just like the racist Democrats far back in the last century, the “Republican” misfits tried to defend their scheme by arguing the party was a “private” association and the bosses could do whatever they wanted.

 

The circuit court knew better and rejected the unconstitutional plot in March. But the misfits have not changed their behavior, and of course have issued no apology.

 

Other black committeemen were also “fired” two years ago, after all were elected in a real election by Republican primary voters. But I don’t know the others personally or anything about their past Republican work. I do know that nearly every black GOP ward committeeman in Chicago has been purged, post-election. At most only one or two are still being recognized by the party bosses, and the disenfranchisement is still going on, even in spite of a recent court order.

 

Sean Morrison became the new Cook County Republican Party chair two years ago, and he won another two-year term at the county GOP convention on April 18. Morrison never says a peep about our President, but he wasted no time crowing about being unanimously re-chosen by his fellow committeemen at the April county convention.

 

Needless to say, that “unanimous” vote didn’t include the votes of the black committeemen Morrison barred from the convention under threat of arrest.

 

But Morrison isn’t just the chair of the Cook County GOP. Here are all 4 titles he currently holds:

  1. Chairman, Cook County Republican Party. Absent unlawful purging of committeemen, the chairman would oversee a county party consisting of 50 ward committeemen in Chicago, and 30 township committeemen from suburban Cook. (By law, neither Democrats nor Republicans elect precinct committeemen in Cook.
  2. Republican Township Committeeman, Palos Township. Morrison is one of those 30 GOP township committeemen in Cook.
  3. State Central Committeeman, 3rd U.S. Congressional District, Illinois Republican Party. At the April 18 county convention, in addition to county chair, Morrison ran unopposed and was re-chosen as state central committeeman for the 3rd U.S. Congressional district. That means Morrison has one of just 18 positions on the Illinois Republican Party’s senor governing board. Under the screwy and closed system only our state party uses, only lower level party officials get to vote for that top post in the state GOP. In Cook that typically means only a small handful of people choose. In Morrison’s case he re-chose himself. It’s a weighted vote for state central and the Palos Township vote he cast as its GOP committeeman would all by itself have given him a significant chunk of the vote needed for the higher party position. No doubt that’s a big reason no one even bothered to run against him for that state party title.
  4. Commissioner, Cook County Board. This is the post which Morrison presumably cares most about, because it’s the only one that pays a salary, a generous one. Unlike the other three titles, this one is a public office. Morrison is one of just 17 Commissioners on the Cook County Board. Also note that Morrison is one of just four Republicans on the County Board. A few Republicans are able to make it on because Cook is divided into districts for Commissioner elections. Another of the four Republicans on the Cook County Board just happens to be the Illinois Republican Party’s chairman, Tim Schneider – another do-nothing when it comes to supporting our President and defending the party platform.

Speaking of the 3rd U.S. congressional district, that just happens to be where that crazy Nazi is getting a free-ride on the Republican ballot line to November as nominee for congress. No actual Republican was recruited to run in the GOP primary so the Nazi ran unopposed as a Republican. I’ve heard that sick nut described as a “neo-Nazi.” Forget the “neo” part. He’s an actual Nazi and proudly spews all of the garbage that goes along with it. And he didn’t come out of nowhere. The kook has been around for decades and tried unsuccessfully to run for the same congressional seat two years ago.

 

But apparently the area’s township committeeman/county chairman/state central committeeman/county board commissioner was too busy disenfranchising black Trump supporters to look for an actual Republican candidate to run for a major office in his own backyard.

 

I strongly suspect one big reason that neither Sean Morrison nor Tim Schneider lifts a finger for President Trump is they look at polls saying Trump is unpopular in Cook County and they fear standing-up for the President would hurt their prospects of keeping their cushy County Board positions. In my opinion they have a serious conflict of interest. In any case, it’s at least a reasonable question they should have to address.

 

But on one point there can be no disagreement. Donald Trump is the best thing the GOP has going for it. It’s not even close. Trump is where all the energy is and he’s pretty much the only Republican who is getting things done, anywhere. Trump is also making politics fun again and is bringing in new people like never before.

 

It’s a shame we are burdened with so many Republican officials in Illinois who will never get it, but the fact is President Trump has completely changed the game, on multiple levels. As just one example there is a major paradigm shift going on in the black community where black folks who never, ever would have considered supporting a Republican president are supporting this one. Kanye West is just one high profile example.

 

It’s a paradigm shift good Republicans like Adrian Wright and Philanise White have been laboring on for many years. Adrian and Philanise finally get a take-charge President they are truly excited about, one who can help take their work to a new level, and the local-yokel misfits can only manufacture phony excuses to exclude them.

 

Frankly it’s a wonder ANY black person votes Republican in Illinois.

 

Needless to say, the Republican Party has a long way to go to win over a more significant share of black voters. Donald Trump did better in the black community than prior GOP nominees, but he also knows we can and must do better. The good news is Trump is serious about it and he’s doing his job to empower people of all races and creeds.

 

Unfortunately, we have too many clueless GOP officials of the past in Illinois just sitting around on titles they collect like charms on a bracelet. Sean Morrison is just one particularly disgusting example.

 

Not only are Morrison and his ilk incapable of leading, they actually go out of their way to drive black voters away and destroy all our President’s positive outreach efforts.

 

Sean Morrison and all of the other supposed Republican officials in this state who have known about this scandal but still refuse to take action make a mockery of the term “Party of Lincoln.”

 

The good news is that once we get away from the Illinois misfits, national party leaders in addition to President Trump do get it. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel for example recently retweeted Adrian Wright (Adrian is in green, and Philanese White is second from the right in the photo above.)

 

It is long past time the Illinois Republican Party at least tried to progress out of the early 20th century. And it is also long past time decent Republicans in Illinois said enough is enough. No Republican in Illinois deserves our support who won’t help take out the trash.

 

We can build the Republican Party in Illinois around an actual doer like Donald Trump. The President’s 2020 re-election campaign is a tremendous opportunity to finally get the Illinois Republican Party out of the ditch and on track.

 

It can happen. But the misfits must go.

 

Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.

 

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