Coronavirus should have postponed primaries

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Election primaries were held Tuesday in Arizona, Florida and Illinois, in the midst of a global pandemic, COVID-19, aka coronavirus. What are they doing? More importantly, why has the Democratic National Committee not stated any objection to what they are doing?

Amazingly, DNC Chairman Tom Perez approved of the states going forward with their primaries, citing respect for those states’ decisions, with a further rationale being the Democratic Party has to make it easier for people to vote.

Under normal circumstances, this would be unquestioned. As an African American, I fully understand the damaging effects of voter disenfranchisement historically on my race. Unfortunately, these are anything but normal circumstances. This is not the time for political games and posturing. The Earth is being ravaged by a global pandemic responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide with the death toll in the United States rising seemingly daily. Coronavirus is easily spread, requiring only minimal human contact. Many infected with coronavirus don’t even exhibit symptoms initially.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended large gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled. New York City and San Francisco are under lockdown. Yet, this is the environment to hold elections?

I am fully aware it is not the DNC’s call to delay or postpone state primaries; it is up to those individual states. Nonetheless, could not the DNC have applied some political pressure to those states to delay or postpone their primaries until after the pandemic has subsided enough to permit voters to vote safely? Did the DNC thoroughly inquire about those states’ safety measures? Where is real Democratic Party leadership right now?

The DNC has acted irresponsibly and manifest gross incompetence during this crisis. At least the four other states scheduled to vote Tuesday — Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Ohio — had the common decency to put safety over politics and postpone their primaries.

March 17, 2020, should forever be remembered as a day in which the Democratic Party failed its voters. I have been a lifelong Democratic voter, having voted Democrat in nearly every possible election since I have been of voting age.

However, as an American citizen, I reserve the right to criticize my own political party when I feel it has strayed from the principles of American democracy, of human decency. And I must confess, I am deeply disappointed in the Democratic Party.

Justin C. Cooper