Democracy Now! 2/29/16

On today's episode of Democracy Now!

As voters went to the polls Saturday for South Carolina’s Democratic primary, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton crushed rival Bernie Sanders, winning the primary with 73.5 percent of the vote and picking up 39 additional delegates, compared to 14 delegates for Sanders. African Americans in the state favored Clinton over Sanders by more than six to one, while white voters narrowly preferred her, as well. Clinton’s decisive win propels her into this week’s critical Super Tuesday voting, where a dozen states go to the polls and about 880 delegates are at stake. Examining the turnout for Clinton, South Carolina civil rights activist and community organizer Kevin Alexander Gray is critical of how Sanders campaigned in the state’s black community. "If you’re going to come down here and you’re going to run a Northern liberal kind of campaign, if you come down here and you talk about revolution and movement but your campaign doesn’t look like the movement you claim to represent, I think people go with the devil you know," Gray says.

Over the weekend, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump refused to condemn endorsements from David Duke, a prominent white supremacist and formerKKK leader. Duke has told his radio audience that voting against Trump would be "treason to your heritage." Speaking on CNN’s "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, Trump refused four times to disavow Duke’s support or the support of other white supremacists. "A lot of the people that come to hear him, this whole idea of 'make America great,' that’s all about making America great for a small group of people, generally white males," says Kevin Alexander Gray, a civil rights activist and community organizer in Columbia, South Carolina. He edited the book "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence" and is the author of "Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics."

As 12 states head to the polls on Super Tuesday, we look at how voting rights could become a pivotal issue in the 2016 race. On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, which has been under attack ever since. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down crucial components of the act in a case called Shelby County v. Holder, when it ruled that states with histories of voting-related racial discrimination no longer had to "pre-clear" changes to their voting laws with the federal government. Immediately following the Shelby ruling, several states passed laws that made it harder for people to vote. The 2016 race is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. "Sixteen states have new voting restrictions in place," notes Ari Berman, who covers voting rights for The Nation. His recent piece is "63,756 Reasons Racism is Still Alive in South Carolina." His book is titled "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America."

Democracy Now!

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