MISTAKE: CNNer Touts Communist as Icon of Lifelong Voting

CNN Business writer Alexis Benveniste thought she’d just found an inspirational story about voting in the pandemic. On Monday, she tweeted out a picture of a centenarian going to the mailbox with her vote. “102-year-old Beatrice Lumpkin put on a face shield and gloves and took her ballot to the mailbox. When she was born, women couldn’t vote.” She also tweeted “Beatrice Lumpkin — who began voting 80 years ago — said the first presidential candidate she voted for was FDR in 1940. She hasn’t missed a vote since.”

The second tweet linked to an article at CBSNews.com: “A photo of Lumpkin in her PPE was shared by the Chicago Teachers Union, which she used to be a part of, according to CBS Radio station WBBM. Lumpkin smiled through her hazmat hood as her gloved hand held up her ballot by the mailbox outside of her apartment building.”

But Lumpkin was also celebrated on Twitter by the People’s Weekly World, the newspaper of the Communist Party USA. They replied to Benveniste: “Read more about this working class hero in @PeoplesWorld! Lumpkin has been in the CPUSA (@communistsusa) since the 30s, organizing laundry workers, steelworkers, fighting to free the Scottsboro Nine, and much more.”

The Communist Party is not exactly known as an advocate for lifelong voting in the countries in which it takes over. Their article boasted: 

Although she was only nineteen at the time, Bea was one of the fifteen Communists to be hired in 1937 by the newly-formed Congress of Industrial Organizations to organize the laundry workers. The campaign that ensued culminated in the organization of New York City’s 30,000 laundry workers and, more broadly, contributed to the mass movements that produced a revitalized labor movement that won important gains for all Americans, including Social Security and union rights.

And there were photos with Democrats: “The life of Bea Lumpkin was entered into the Congressional Record. Here, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, right, presents Bea Lumpkin with a copy at her 100th birthday celebration.” And: “The formal part of the dinner ended with the reading of a letter from President Barack Obama, thanking her for her many years of service in support of the movement.” 

Which “movement” was Obama celebrating?

[Hat tip: NB alumnus Ken Shepherd]

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