By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – With a nail biter presidential race too close to call by midnight Nov. 3, America awaits on edge for final states to complete their vote counts. Some are early votes so numerous that they take time to count. Others are mail-in ballots allowed largely due to voters using absentee options or state-sanctioned options to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Yet, President Donald Trump, claiming he won the election and alleging fraud with no evidence, has announced he will ask the U. S. Supreme Court to stop all vote counts. Trump made his announcement around 2:15 am Wednesday following a statement by Vice President Joe Biden.
“We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said from the White House. “This is a major fraud on our nation…We will be going to the U. S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”
Biden had earlier stated in Wilmington, Delaware, “I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to winning this election…We knew because of the unprecedented mail-in vote and the early vote that it was going to take a while. We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished and it ain’t over until every vote is counted.”
At Trice Edney Newswire deadline, Biden led the race with 224 to Trump’s 213 electoral votes with literally millions more votes to count in five states – Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency.
The threat of election theft by Trump is – in part – the reason that a group of Black faith leaders and activists have called for “nonviolent resistance and economic non-cooperation, including a general strike, if trump tries to steal” the election.
In a statement headlined, “We The People Will Defend the Vote and Uphold Democracy: A Call to Nonviolent Resistance from Black Faith Leaders and Allies,” approximately 100 faith leaders and their activist allies essentially said that they will organize and demonstrate to maintain a free and fair election.
“In a pandemic, the large number of Americans demonstrating with conscience and voting with conviction is a sacred testament to an even larger sacrificial commitment to nonviolence,” says Rev. Cornell William Brooks, former NAACP president and currently professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. “We will honor this commitment by nonviolently opposing and overcoming any effort to undermine our elections. So many Americans have sacrificed so much for any of us to do anything less.”
With races so close and with Trump casting doubt on the integrity of the election even days before Nov. 3, it has long been feared by political observers that he could try to cheat to win.
“We must not let Trump steal the election. If he attempts to stop votes from being counted or refuses to accept a legitimate victory for Biden, we will not sit by. We will use the power of massive nonviolent resistance that won our people the sacred right to vote to defend the sacred result of our votes today,” said Rev. Erica Williams, founder of Set It Off Ministries. “We as clergy must stand in this moment to be Prophets of God and not chaplains of the empire. We come boldly in the spirit of Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Josephine Baker who fought tirelessly for voting rights.”
Alarm intensified among the electorate when Trump told the far right leaning Proud Boys, a group that associates with White supremacists, to “stand back and stand by”. This was during the Sept. 29 presidential debate in response to a request for him to denounce White supremacist groups.
But then concerns intensified after several voter intimidation and rogue incidents were reported leading into Election Day and even as voters headed to the polls. Police and FBI are involved in the investigation of some of the situations. They include:
• A group of Trump supporters surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus on Austin, Texas’ Interstate 35, appearing to try to run it off the road. Police intervened and escorted the bus to safety. In response, Trump tweeted, “I LOVE TEXAS!” along with a video on the incident and said later, “These patriots did nothing wrong”.
• A federal lawsuit has been filed in North Carolina, claiming voter intimidation, after police there deployed pepper spray during a pre-election day get-out-the vote rally and arrested several people amidst the chaos.
• Voters across the country reportedly received an estimated 10 million spam calls or texts telling them to “stay safe and stay home.”
Meanwhile, major department stores in cities across the nation were busy boarding up buildings, strengthening security and taking other protective measures this week in anticipation of possible unrest resulting from election outcomes.
According to the statement from the clergy and activists, “The Call to Nonviolent Resistance’s appeal for economic noncooperation — including the rare escalation of a general strike — comes on the heels of resolutions by the Rochester, New York AFL-CIO, King County, Washington labor council, and other labor coalitions who have called for a general strike if Trump attempts to steal the election, adding growing moral weight and national credibility to those preparations.”
Rev. Stephen A. Green, chair, Faith for Black Lives, concludes in the statement: “This unprecedented moment requires our commitment to radical love in action through nonviolence to defend the vote. Our faith motivates us to lead the nation with moral resistance in order to uphold democracy and resist any attempt from President Trump to undermine our election, said “We are building a movement to build beloved community through mass action.”
The call asks people to join faith and civic leaders in signing a pledge “to join nonviolent resistance and economic noncooperation if necessary to defend the vote and uphold democracy in response to an attempted coup by Trump.”
By Hazel Trice Edney