Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American

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Here’s a new piece of mine that was published today by American Thinker.

Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American 
By Matthew Vadum

Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?
Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians.  Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery. 
Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote. 
A decade before the Motor-Voter law that required states to register voters at welfare offices was enacted, NAACP official Joe Madison explained the political economy of voter registration drives.
“When people are standing in line to get cheese and butter or unemployment compensation, you don’t have to tell them how to vote,” said Madison, now a radio talk show host in Washington, D.C.  “They know how to vote.”
Like Madison, Barack Obama grasped this basic truth when he worked for ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate in 1992.
“All our people must know that politics and voting affects their lives directly,” the future president said.  “If we’re registering people in public housing, for an example, we talk about aid cuts and who’s responsible.”
Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor.  It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money.  It’s about raw so-called social justice.  It’s about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers.
Registering the unproductive to vote is an idea that was heavily promoted by the small-c communists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, as I write in my new bookSubversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
In an infamous 1966 Nation magazine article, the radical university professors urged that the welfare apparatus be used to destroy the American system.  Borrowing a phrase the ultra-leftist Leon Trotsky used in one of his many anti-Stalin tracts, The Platform of the Joint Opposition (1927), they titled their blueprint for radical change “The Weight of the Poor.”

By “weight,” Cloward, Piven, and Trotsky meant power or influence.  All three wanted to use the poor as a battering ram against the systems they sought to overthrow.
Trotsky thought too many bureaucrats and middle-class people were involved in the Soviet Communist Party and that it was moving too slowly in its efforts to change that society.  He wanted more poor people in the party in order to overthrow Stalin’s obstructionist bureaucracy and clear the way for “true” communism.
Stateside, Cloward and Piven wanted to use the “weight” of the poor to bring down American capitalism and democracy.
These apostles of depravity proposed swamping the welfare rolls of states and localities by encouraging people to exercise their welfare “rights” by applying for public benefits.  The theory was that newly cash-strapped state and local governments would demand a bailout from Congress.  The fiscal rescue package would take the form of a European-style guaranteed annual income scheme that would drive America well down the road to full-blown socialism.
Enlisting the organizing expertise of Saul Alinsky and other veteran community organizers, Cloward and Piven created ACORN’s parent organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), to execute their plan.
The Cloward-Piven Strategy almost succeeded.
Liberal Republican governors such as New York’s Nelson Rockefeller and Michigan’s George Romney quickly surrendered under steady assault from NWRO organizers.  Burgeoning welfare caseloads brought New York City to the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s, a fact acknowledged two decades later by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani blamed the “perverted social philosophy” of Cloward and Piven.  “New York City viewed welfare as a good thing, as a wonderful thing.  They romanticized it and embraced a philosophy of dependency.”
Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, political support grew for a guaranteed annual income plan.  President Nixon supported the proposal and it came within a hair’s breadth of passing Congress in 1972.
The movement was aided by Goldberg v. Kelly, a monstrously wrongheaded piece of judge-made law.  In the landmark 1970 decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 that the “brutal need” of a poor welfare recipient outweighed society’s interest in trying to prevent welfare fraud.
Goldberg stated that welfare recipients were entitled to an evidentiary hearing before an impartial decision-maker at which they could call and confront witnesses.  They were also entitled to receive a written, reasoned opinion before being deprived of benefits.
The court absurdly declared that a welfare recipient had a “property” interest in welfare and that this interest deserved due process protections when the government wanted to take that so-called property away.  With the ruling, welfare effectively ceased to be a gratuity that could be granted and withdrawn at the discretion of the government.
The liberal Justice William Brennan considered Goldberg to be the most momentous decision of his career on the high court bench, according to David Frum in How We Got Here: the 70’s, the Decade that Brought You Modern Life — For Better or Worse.  Brennan was “quite right,” Frum observed.
In the end Cloward and Piven didn’t get exactly what they wanted, but they knew they were onto something.
Their next step was outlined in a 1983 article titled “Toward a Class-Based Realignment of American Politics: A Movement Strategy,” which ran in ACORN’s magazine, Social Policy.  The two professors might as well have named it “The Weight of the Poor — Part Two.”
This new iteration of their strategy called for the continued use of the poor as a cudgel against the American system.  The unregistered poor were “rocks lyin’ around,” said Jesse Jackson during his ACORN-endorsed presidential run in 1984.
The Marxist duo said “massive numbers of new voters” had to be registered.

[E]nlisting millions of new and politicized voters is the way to create an electoral environment hospitable to fundamental change in American society.  An enlarged and politicized electorate will sustain and encourage the movements in American society that are already working for the rights of women and minorities, for the protection of the social programs, and for transformation of foreign policy.  Equally important, an enlarged and politicized electorate will foster and protect future mass movements from the bottom that the ongoing economic crisis is likely to generate, thus opening American politics to solutions to the economic crisis that express the interests of the lower strata of the population … The objective is to accelerate the dealigning forces already at work in American politics, and to promote party realignment along class lines.

Cloward and Piven’s long campaign to bring vast numbers of unproductive people into the political process culminated in the 1993 enactment of the Motor-Voter law.  That law turned welfare offices into voter registration centers and encouraged nonprofit groups to conduct registration drives.  It also opened the door to massive voter fraud.
The Founders anticipated redistributionist attacks on the Constitution.  As Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
With the help of Cloward, Piven, Alinsky, and Obama, we’re well on our way.

Matthew Vadum is an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C. His new book, Subversion Inc., was published in May.

* * * * *

America needs to know that ACORN is restructuring in time to help re-elect President Obama in 2012. Obama used to work for ACORN and represented the group in court as its lawyer. These radical leftists who use the brutal, in-your-face, pressure tactics of Saul Alinsky want to destroy America as we know it and will use any means to do it.

Buy my book Subversion Inc. at Amazon and in Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million bookstores. Visit the Subversion Inc. Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

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  • To Anonymous who posted at Sept. 8, 2011 at 2:29 PM:

    Finally a thoughtful leftist who can make a reasonable-sounding argument without calling names or swearing! I appreciate your comment which was caustic and aggressive in tone but not malicious or defamatory.

    (No, I'm not being sarcastic. I've deleted mountains of rude, insulting, or profane comments from this blog. I don't mind a good back and forth but nobody's going to insult me on my blog.)

  • Anonymous

    I understand the logic of this and those arguments similar to it. Unfortunately it's based on the fallacious conclusion that poor people are poor because they lack the determination to lift themselves up out of poverty and work themselves into the comfort of prosperity. It's based on a belief that there is wealth enough in the world for everyone to be rich and that it's simply a matter of working hard and 'making it'. The perspective of Mathew Vadum and those like him is that the mindset of many poor persons on welfare is that they are brigands, preferring to parasitically suck off the necks of hard working Americans, lining their pockets with undeserved government checks and placing themselves into creature comforts through the bleeding hearts of liberal Democrats, rather than earn a living wage for themselves.

    For most of us who watch Thom Hartmann, we realise the absurdity of this perspective. We understand that you can't have rich people without poor people and that in order to make yourself rich, you have to take money from someone else and even work to make sure that they don't take it back.

    Poor people aren't brigands; those are the fat cats cowering behind tax shelters and government representation bought and paid for. The parasites of this nation aren't the impoverished, but bankers and energy companies and military producers and contractors, cashing in on bogus economics, felonious wars and the suffering of the poor and the unemployed at home and the death and maiming of perpetrated on and by our soldiers abroad.

  • Anonymous

    Totally right Vadum! My only problem is you didn't go far enough. Only rich white men should be voting. After all, they are the only ones that are truly American. Here are some more people who should not be allowed to vote:

    Women- their brains are smaller (its just biology ladies) and the less time they spend outside the house doing man-jobs like voting, the less chance they have of getting knocked up by some Negro. AMIRITE FELLAS.

    Chinamen- Are they really working for China? An anonymous online website told me they were. Besides, they have slanty eyes. Can't trust em.

    Quadroons- Read The Turner Diaries. You'll see why.

    Mulattos- Pick a side. Are they American or are they black? We can't know and that is why they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    Removing all those drains on society from the voting ranks should restore America to its past glory. Its too bad those loony lefties would never let it happen.

  • "redistributionist policies"


    When the rich and corporations have the money to hire lobbyists to get 24/7/365 access to get the laws written the way they want the benefits flow to them.

    The wealthy have been redistributing the wealth from the working class to the investor class for decades, but it's okay for the rich to screw everyone else?

    Why is there a cap on what those earning over $105,000 a year pay into Social Security? They got the law written that way to benefit themselves and thus pay a lower overall percentage into the program that they don't even need. There should be means-testing to force them out.

    Why is Capital Gains capped at 15%? Again, because the rich – who earn most of their money from CG, not actual work at a job – got the law written that way … so they pay an overall lesser rate than a worker that pays up to 35% to 40% just in income tax on top of S.S. taxes, payroll taxes, disability, state and local and then sales taxes.

    There is plenty of money for cradle-to-grave free health care for all Americans, for retirement to begin at 60 with double the Social Security payout, for paid vacation for all workers, for a living wage of at least $20 an hour, for safe streets, strong national defense, great public universities and arts programs … it's just the money is tied up in the pockets of the greedy rich

    Stockman/Trump idea of 10% to 15% asset-charge-off on the top 1% is a great idea – will raise up to $1-2 Trillion to pay down debt, and raising the cap on S.S. pays for lowering age to 60 and doubling payout. Raise top rate to 50% (between Ike and Bush Jr.) and leave it there forever. Raise corporate tax rates to Norway's rate.

    Plenty of money for a stable, happy populace and you smug rich and puppets of the rich don't have to live in fear of the poor. It's about sharing the wealth for the good of society.

    Most of the rich who seem to hate the poor in America call themselves Christian and Jesus focused mostly on helping the poor – but that seems to get forgotten when it comes to political discourse

  • So, you're a "contributor" to the American Spectator, but were reduced to publishing your inane attempt to restore the aristocracy in the American Thinker? Even R. Emmett Tyrell, Junior isn't cretinous enough to let your garbage be printed in his rag.

  • If Andrew Jackson could rise from the grave, he'd slap the snot out of you.

  • Smapdi

    This is hysterical, one of the funniest things I have ever read.

  • Anonymous

    I thought denying people their basic constitutional rights was un-American?

  • Anonymous

    Gee you COMMIES are completely ignorant.

    First major country to give all adults the right to vote THE SOVIET UNION.

    The idea that "every American" has the right to vote is completely UNAMERICAN – it is SOVIET – and anyone arguing in favour (and against True American Vadum is a COMMUNIST

    This great REPUBLIC (not a democracy you D'RAT scum) but a REPUBLIC – did not last for over 200 years by giving the useless and the worthless the "Right" to vote

    That is a D'RAT idea that was only pushed into the constitution in the 1960s. Anyone who truly loves America hated that idea then and hates it now!

  • Just had a Eureka moment: So you're where Beck got so much crazy from! Now i get it…

    Great show; exploit the poor/left connection, while excluding such realities as need, to distract from the sucking sound of our entire country, economy, democracy, media, laws, jobs, ethics, etc ad nauseum, going the way of China, China, China.

    All to profit a few though a Nation fail.

    BrafknO. Though i'm afraid you'll have to lie harder.

  • Anonymous

    "Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals."

    Not like allowing our representative's votes to be purchased.

    Difference is something like: tools vs. demolition.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the most un-American and un-Christian things I've ever read.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the comment at 8:52pm on 9/2/11.

  • Anonymous

    i think you'd be much happier living in one of the countries under totalitarian dictatorship in central africa. run along, now. don't bother sending postcards, we won't read them…just like your "book."

  • joey

    Why don't we just call this what it is? You're racist, Matthew. These poor people you'd rather not vote are black, and you know it. They're the same fat black welfare queens sucking off the social teat that Reagan used to usher in a government for, by, and of the corporate interests. You're losing, though, Matthew, because thanks to your corporatist buddies in the board rooms and on Wall Street, there are a whole lot more of us poor people now than ever, and we're waking up to the fact that most of the welfare isn't spent in the housing projects but on the battlefields.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Vadum would have us believe that bus drivers, nurse attendants, hotel maids, ditch diggers and all manner of Americans who work very hard for very little money are worth absolutely NOTHING in our society. To him, their contributions are meaningless, their rights not equal to the "producers" among us.

    Well, Mr. Varnum, all I can say is….you poor, poor soul. Someday you will find yourself in desperate need of one of these "less thans," and I hope you receive EXACTLY the same level of compassion and basic humanity you have shown to them in this vile essay.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we should restrict voting rights to only property owners as well, right? Oh oh, and only to men. Women belong in the home and have no business voting.

    Get a life Mr. Vadum. It's people like you who drove me away from the conservative party with your un-American, disgusting, fascist rhetoric.

    It's horrifying that you would advocate removing the constitutional rights of any American, no matter how they tend to vote or what their motives are.

  • You are a poor excuse for an American. REAL Americans take pride in providing for the needy in our midsts. As Jesus Christ said, "That which you do unto the least of my brothers you do unto me".

    Where do you get off contending that poor folks don't have the same right to vote as the wealthy? You sir, are ALL that is wrong with this country right now. You and your ilk should be run out of town on a rail after being beaten with pillowcases full of hardbound copies of Ayn Rand novels. *Retch*