Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Since the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) case, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the racist principle and illusion of “separate but equal”, many states passed laws for “white primaries”, where white voters essentially decided which candidates could run for which office, the Black vote–when and where it existed at all–was but a cynical referendum on candidates chosen by others–both usually sworn to uphold rigid white supremacy.

In 1946 the Supreme Court’s Chapman v. King case abolished the all-white primary (in Georgia) as unconstitutional, thus paving the way for the 1954 Brown v. Board. of Education decision.

That was generations ago, and although white primaries are still illegal, the look of today’s Republican presidential primaries eerily reflects ‘Back to the Future.’

For these candidates seem to be racing for yesteryear, the days of “Ozzie & Harriet”, “Dobie Gillis”–and, yes, segregation.

The voters were whiter than the nation’s white population, significantly so–with the vast majority in their 50s or older. In South Carolina, one of the states with the largest Black populations, 98% of primary voters there were of the Caucasian persuasion.

Recently, former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, won in Illinois with nearly 450,000 votes. That sounds like a lot until you consider that there are around 13 million people in Illinois! That means that Mitt “won” with about 1/25th of the vote.


Of all primary voters to date, perhaps 4 million people have voted. Four million–in a nation with around 312-to-315 million people. (That’s around the size of the population of Connecticut).

This truly is a blast from the past.

Kind of like the movie: “No Country for Old Men.”