The New Black Panthers Give Fox News an Early Christmas Gift

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Dave Weigel wonders if the New Black Panther Party will give Fox News an early Christmas present by showing up again this year at polling places in Philadelphia. The answer turns out to be yes:

The Panthers are so stupid that they deployed to the same site they hit in 2008: The 4th district of Philadelphia’s 14th ward. Very few of the people who hyperventilate about this story have been to the polling place and check out its vote. I have. The precinct, located in a retirement home, gave 596 votes to Barack Obama in 2008. It gave 13 votes to John McCain. Four years earlier, it had given 24 votes to George W. Bush. It’s a heavily black, Democratic area, which is why — four years after the first Fox freakout — no one has ever emerged to say he or she wanted to vote but was suppressed by the Panthers. And hell, in 2008, the Panthers had nightsticks. There’s one guy now, armed with nothing.

Let’s be serious about this. One month ago, a court struck down part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. Voters in the state do not have to show ID, though poll workers may ask for it. Since then, the state has continued to run ads that tell voters to come to polls with ID — “SHOW IT” in large print, “if you have it in small print.” It’s likely that legitimate voters who lack multiple forms of ID have seen this, and assumed it’ll be tougher to vote today.

But it’s boring to talk about a bogus campaign to complicate the vote in the entire state. It’s exciting to show a scary-looking black dude on TV, and imply to the Fox News viewer that another scary trooper — maybe a UN worker! — is laying in wait at his polling place.

It’s all part of the Republican war on voters who might not vote for Republicans. You can read about it here.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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