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All In: The Fight for Democracy

Sep 14, 2020

A must-see at election time. Voter suppression is here as it has always been.

All In: The Fight for Democracy

Grade: A

Directors: Lisa Cortes (The Remix), Liz Garbus (Lost Girls)

Screenplay: Jack Youngelson (The Push)

Cast: Stacey Abrams, Andrew Young

Runtime: 1h 42m

Rating: PG-13

By: John DeSando

“The consequences of anybody here, not turning out and doing everything you can to get your friends, neighbors, family to turn out, the consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous to this country, to our democracy.” Barack Obama

That a particular party might like to suppress the votes of its opponents makes some sense in the winner-take-all mantra of any race, but that racial and ethnic suppression does happen is always a shock to those who believe the process of democratic election is sacrosanct. Directors Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus’ insightful documentary All in: The Fight for Democracy dispels any notion that America’s elections are pure and unadulterated.

As the centerpiece of this study that covers the history of election fraud and questionable practices up to 2020 in Wisconsin, the Stacey Abrams run for Georgia governor in 2018 best expresses the frustrations of Democrats who perceived the Republicans were throwing up roadblocks from difficult qualifying questions to delayed polls. Abrams fought to the bitter end with only a few thousand votes outstanding and her awareness that she would never win.

Perhaps most dismaying is that Brian Kemp won by 25 K votes among 4 million while over 100,000 were disqualified for not having voted enough previous times. I am personally disappointed that my home state of Ohio has the same illogical suppression.

Abrams’ Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, won with the advantage of these “hoops” that minority voters had to jump through, often answering questions like “Who is the clerk of the Superior Court?” He was the Secretary of State in charge of the election process while running for governor, illegal in some states but not Georgia. Such obvious conflicts of interest throw negative light on elections everywhere. However, the co-directors show how voter suppression was common throughout the history of the “Republic.” Progressives and moderates have been fighting to suppress the suppression for centuries.

Early on this informative doc shows other manipulative tactics such as gerrymandering, poll taxes, and demands for government ids to keep away the poor, resulting in making the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments impotent legislation. What the doc does not do is to present a fair assessment by conservatives about why they favored the suppressive legislations. The other side should always be allowed to defend itself in even benign docs like this.

If for nothing else, this important documentary emphasizes the need to vote early, check on the vote’s being processed, and exalt in a flawed but fair election. We’ll see

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com