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Sun

26

Oct

2008

Can the GOP Steal The Election Again? You Betcha!
Sunday, 26 October 2008 07:27
by Ernest Partridge

John McCain’s campaign is imploding as the presidential candidate lapses into incoherence and petulance, and his running-mate becomes a national laughing-stock. In the face of an impending economic meltdown, the Democratic candidates, Obama and Biden, appear to be the only adults in the contest. Meanwhile, the GOP’s erstwhile dependable allies, the corporate media, are displaying moments of journalistic integrity. This presents a problem for the Republican ticket for, as Stephen Colbert aptly observed, "reality has a liberal bias."

And so the polls show an expanding lead for Obama over McCain, with no clear indication that the trend might reverse. 

Conventional political "wisdom" tells us that Barack Obama and Joe Biden may be on the road to a substantial victory in November. 

Sorry, folks, but I’ll have to rain on this parade.

Have you forgotten? Private Republican corporations count and compile the votes with secret and unverifiable software!  Just as they did in 2000 and in 2004, and we all know how that turned out.

Accordingly, the stark fact remains: the Republicans might "win" this election, regardless of the preference of the voters.  The culprits who rigged the previous elections are fully aware that they might face hard time in the federal slammer if President Obama’s Attorney General is ordered to investigate past elections. Thus they are acutely motivated to use their considerable resources to keep Obama out of the White House.

And that’s just the beginning: the GOP is waging a multi-front war on our democracy. As Mark Crispin Miller describes the situation in a recent e-mail:

The ground has been prepared for yet another stolen race, Bush/Cheney's party having made enormous strides in sabotaging our election system (while the Democrats just sat there, whistling). Now, from coast to coast, it's far more difficult (for Democrats) to register to vote, and far more difficult (for Democrats) to cast their votes, while countless (Democratic) voters have been stricken from the rolls, through purges carried out by the Department of Justice.

Thus Bush's government has legally diminished the electorate (the Roberts Court approving every step). Meanwhile, the regime also continues to suppress the (Democratic) vote illegally, either through voter "caging" prior to Election Day--or, far more effectively, by fiddling with the numbers electronically at every level, and/or simply dumping countless names (of Democrats) from the electronic voter rolls, and/or putting far too few machines in (Democratic) polling places, and/or disinforming (Democratic) voters as to when and where to cast their votes, and/or simply scaring (Democratic) voters into staying home.

Happy talk notwithstanding, the situation facing the Democrats is desperate. But it is not hopeless.

However, if the Obama-Biden team is to win, it must win big. Less than 60% of the actual popular vote puts the contest into "The Diebold Zone,"  whereby a McCain-Palin win becomes plausible in the public mind, and the "paperless" GOP voting machines and their secret software take care of the rest. 

That "big win" is within reach, but only through determined and energetic activity by the supporters of the Democratic candidates, and through brilliant tactics and inspiring leadership by the Democratic candidates and their managers.

In particular:

Registration and Turnout

The coordinated Republican effort at massive disenfranchisement can and must be overwhelmed.

If, as is likely, the GOP succeeds in keeping as many as five million Democratic voters from the polls, the Democrats in turn must register and send to the polls, ten million more. In addition, the word must go out that no one can assume that his or her vote is secure. Citizens must be urged to validate their registration status immediately.  They can do so by contacting their Register of Voters, or by following this link.


Publicizing the Electoral Integrity Issue

The looming probability of another stolen election must be made vivid in the public consciousness. To date, the corporate media has refused to investigate and report election fraud, and the Democratic Party, amazingly, has behaved as if it either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that it has been robbed of election victories time and again. All this, despite the fact that electoral irregularities have been staring us in the face: the "butterfly ballots" and "holocaust survivors for Buchanan" in Palm Beach, Florida in 2000, the "lost" 16,000 democratic votes in the 2006 Florida 13th District Congressional election, the Diebold President’s "visit" to Atlanta just prior to the 2002 election that cost the highly favored Max Cleland his Senate Seat, the destroyed and "lost" evidence in the 2004 Ohio election, and much, much, more.

In the face of such irregularities, and despite the media embargo, much of the public is suspicious of the electoral process. A September, 2006, Zogby poll disclosed that less than half of the American public was "very confident," and about a third "not at all confident," that George Bush won the 2004 election "fair and square." This suspicion must now be amplified and transformed into a demand that the next election be "fair and square."


Validating the Vote

Independent exit polls must be employed in battleground states that use paperless "direct recording electronic" (DRE) voting machines.  In these states, the Attorneys General and the Secretaries of State must secure evidence such as computer hard drives, ballots, registration rolls, etc. and make it abundantly clear that destruction or hiding of such evidence will be prosecuted, as will any vote rigging that might be disclosed by such evidence.  (In Ohio, the unexplained and illegal destruction of the 2004 voting records of 55 of the 88 counties, and the disappearance of crucial computer hard drives, have gone unpunished.  This lost evidence alone might have proved the theft of the Ohio electoral votes, and with them the theft of the national election).

There are other means of exposing and deterring election fraud which, unfortunately, are unlikely to be employed this close to the election.  .  In randomly selected precincts a few DRE machines might be removed and examined for accuracy, or voters might be asked to vote both on the DRE machines and on paper ballots with the totals subsequently compared.  Independent and parallel means of totaling ("compiling") and transmitting election returns would uncover illegal alterations of the vote.

Absent these effective modes of validation, it is essential that a massive number of Democratic poll workers and poll watchers (equipped with video cameras) be on hand on election day.


The Stakes

John McCain has repeatedly betrayed an inadequate and confused knowledge of foreign affairs, as he refers to non-existent countries and non-existent borders, confuses Shias and Sunnis, and fails to recognize leaders of allied nations. His "economic policy" consists of recitations of discredited slogans.

Given John McCain’s age and physical condition, it is likely that if the Republican team wins in November, Sarah Palin will one day become the President of the United States, either during or following McCain’s term of office. As Palin proves almost every time she opens her mouth, no candidate in U.S. history has been less qualified for that office. Still worse, her repertory of bizarre religious beliefs is downright frightening. Beliefs in witchcraft, "Young Earth Creationism," the "end of days," a denial of anthropogenic climate change, absolute prohibition of abortion and stem-cell research – all of these are profoundly discordant with the problems faced by a great power in the twenty-first century.


A Political Realignment

The traditional Republican power base of financiers, business people, corporate managers, etc., has seen control of their party slip into the hands of religious zealots and market dogmatists. The religious fundamentalists recruited by the Republicans to supply the votes required for political clout have taken over the party to the point of installing one of their own as the Vice Presidential candidate.

As a result, many influential conservative Republicans have declared outright that they can not align themselves with the religious right, and with Sarah Palin in particular. Among these apostates are George Will, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Kathleen Parker and David Frum,.

No doubt, there are many more, some of whom will be heard in these final four weeks before the election. Many of these individuals are caught in a difficult dilemma, as they realize that in spite of what might be good for their party, the election of McCain and Palin, might not be good for the nation, its economy, and its international reputation. Those who place their loyalty to their country above their loyalty to their party may soon step forward and be heard: while the Republican Party, they might say, can survive defeat in November, the United States might not survive a McCain, and, eventually, a Palin presidency.


Summing Up

As election day approaches, the public clamor for change in Washington must become sufficiently intense that the media can not ignore it, and the Republicans dare not resist it. There must be an intensity of rejection of the party in power combined with uniting behind a reformer that has not been seen since FDR’s election in 1932. Given the breadth and depth of corruption and lawlessness in the Bush/Cheney regime, the unpopularity of the Iraq war, and the collapse of the economy, such a time might again be upon us.

The usually pessimistic David Michael Green concedes as much:

It’s been a bumpy ride, 2008 has. This election should have been an earthquake, a hurricane, a tsunami – pick your natural disaster metaphor (or combine them for exciting new variations!) – just waiting for the calendar to run out and make it official.

In the end, it looks like that’s how it will be after all. One gets the sense now that the laws of physics are finally reasserting themselves, and modest measures of sanity are stubbornly reclaiming their inevitable places. This is true both in the proximate sense, as Election 2008 now appears to be coming in for a landing, but also more broadly, as the last year or two perhaps mark the end of an era in American politics.

It remains to be seen if Barack Obama can survive the smears about to be dumped on him, and emerge in the public mind as a plausible instrument of hope and renewal.  If so, it is just possible that an overwhelming outpouring of public support just might overcome another Republican attempt to steal the election.

At this moment, a month away from the election, the issue is very much in doubt.



Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" and co-edits the progressive website, "The Crisis Papers"
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