Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Preemptive Voter Fraud

I admit it. I was wrong. I was convinced that instead of revisiting Florida 2000 with most of the same players on the team (and don't forget the ones on the bench), Karl Rove - and whoever he answers and listens to - had jimmied up a newfangled plan. The plan, as I saw it (with my x-ray liberal vision), was to lay the groundwork for installing widespread doubts for all parties regarding the results.

For months leading up to the election there was a lot of chatter across the media spectrum about lawyers, delayed results, and more lawyers. Rove knew that the Democrats were still seething (well a good amount of them anyway) over what happened in 2000, and even The New York Times began to run hard-hitting stories about problems and skepticism about electronic voting. Rove also knew that many Republicans, brought up on stories about dead people voting for John F. Kennedy, didn't necessarily see disenfranchisement as big problem but instead were convinced that the Democratic Pary were masters at winning through fraudulent voting (whether fraudulent by not being citizens or serving in prison or by not registering in time). Rove also knew about those other guys, the fringe party guys, who had beefs with both of the major parties for the barriers that had been installed to make sure that they stay infringed.

But I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.

I knew that there was no way that Kerry wouldn't get enough votes to win the election. I wasn't wrong about that. But I was wrong about Rove's plan and I was wrong about the strength of our defense.

I thought that Kerry would win the election on at least three networks, but that Rove's plan was to contest the results and retain power, all the while, protesting with lies (and perhaps some evidence) that the leftist scoundrels in the 527s, the PACs, the unions, the universities and those internet bloggers were committing terrorism by letting the enemy decide an election by deceit and deception. In the weeks leading up to the election Ashcroft's Justice Department sent agents to somewhat remote places in the country, from Alaska to New Mexico, to prevent fraud; the GOP were paying a hundred bucks a day for observers by the thousands in battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania to challenge unspecified voters; and then there was that Osam bin Laden tape which pretty much repeated stuff straight from the mouths of Michael Moore and Howard Dean (thus establishing ties in the minds of the weak or horrifyingly powerful). Where ever the legal battles ended, in the state or federal courts, Rove knew that his side would prevail, and there wasn't anything the non-ruling parties could do about it.

Of course, I assumed that there would be some fraud. I didn't think we had any chance of legitimately winning Florida with no refs on our side. But I figured the fraud would be small so as not to cause too much attention and that the margin would be a close margin; a close and arguable margin.

But, as I keep saying, I was wrong. The plan was to wage a preemptive war. And it worked. Because just like Iraq, the strength and the conviction and the size and the belief of our army was overinflated, underwhelming, and not really committed. And just like Iraq's army, our's vanished after a few short skirmishes and blended in (even adapted) with the now helpless populace.

But everything that came afterward happened here in spite of Iraq. In spite of the fact that thousands upon thousands of people had died for a war based on lies and promoted with fears. In spite of the fact that our leaders had enough time to prepare, defend and fight back. In spite of the fact that we had troops on the ground, who had travelled across this nation to defend our right to vote and to make sure that we had tons of proof and witnesses this time.

What happened? Ask all but one of our Democratic Senators. Ask all but 31 of our representatives in the House. Ask and the other groups that we worked for and gave money to to help fight this battle but have been largely quiet the last few months. Ask Markos of Daily Kos and Atrios of Eschaton and all the other bigger bloggers who decided to give up in fear of losing their power and status and growing credibility. Ask the DLC - the Democratic Leadership Council - and the NDN - the New Democratic Network - and the people that support them.

You don't have to ask me. You don't have to ask the 32 people who give me 32 reasons to remain a Democrat. You don't have to ask Kerry or Edwards, who despite what you may believe, are not against this battle. You only have to ask half of the staff of Air America. You don't have to ask Amy Goodman or Greg Palast or Reverednd Jesse Jackson or Michael Moore. If you're a regular reader of this site (and others like it that are blogging for election reform) you don't have to ask yourself.

They fooled us. We didn't think widespread fraud could happen. We thought we had an army to protect us from that uncertain outcome. We thought that we'd at least go down fighting.

I was especially fooled. On November 3rd I cried. In between curses. Even though I'm broker than broke I cursed myself for not going to Ohio on election day. I didn't know what I could've seen or done, but I thought that that was the place where it mostly happened. The place which had been on the front page of the Times for weeks. But Pennsylvania had more electoral votes, and I had a free bus ride, so I went there to get out the vote and see what I can see. But I didn't see anything. I saw nothing. And we won Pennsylvania. So there was no need to look further.

But I was wrong again. It happened there, too. It happened everywhere. A few votes here, a few votes there. Some uncounted. Some miscounted. Some misplaced. Some who-knows-what.

If you ask them why, this is what our former leaders will tell you, "Sure, something went down, but not enough for us to overcome the point spread."

But they're wrong. A field goal might not count as much as a touchdown, but score enough of them, and you can romp over your opponent. So that's what they did.

I've got a story to tell you about Pennsylvania. A story which you may have picked up bits and pieces about elsewhere. I'm going to draw much of that information together, along with some things that you won't read elsewhere. Because that's what I do. I'm an activist blogger. Not one of those mainstream hacks that suck up to the mainstream media and political parties.

If you're going to D.C. have fun, keep your cool, be safe, and come back still brimming with passion so that you can help wage the fight for election reform.


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