Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, November 25, 2016 7:51 am

… but no one will do anything about the stolen presidential election

Third in a series (First installment, second installment)

I would dearly love to be wrong about this one.

But unfortunately for the country, no one is going to do anything about the fact that the U.S. presidential election was stolen.

There are a lot of reasons for this.

One is Americans are awful at math. Accordingly, no matter how good a case the researchers at, say, the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society might be able to make that vote totals in certain swing states were monkeyed with (and again, as of this writing, I remain agnostic on that whole question), Americans won’t buy it because they can’t follow the math.

(I realize that the trolls’ next question is, “Well, if you can’t follow the math, why should you believe them?” And the answer is that I didn’t have to be a computer programmer or an advanced mathematician to believe that, say, America could send people to the moon. I just had to look at what these same people already had accomplished and make reasonable inferences about what else they might be capable of, using the same skills.

Another is that Americans have an unwavering ability to ignore facts and research if those facts and that research conflict with strongly held beliefs, however untrue those beliefs might be.

But the biggest reason is that fixing a stolen election would be a lot of hard work. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say that a miracle happens and America reaches the consensus that not only are some of the voting-machine totals squirrely, but also that enough of them are squirrely in the right way that it proves Trump stole the election. Or let’s say, per Greg Palast’s journalism, tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters really were purged illegally from the voting rolls in a number of swing states, and that if even a tiny percentage of them had cast ballots it would have been enough to change the outcome. What would be the solution?

Even with the foregoing hypothetical consensuses, there’s no way America would reach consensus on simply awarding the presidency to Hillary Clinton. And even if it did, consensuses aren’t self-enforcing. There would have to be a legal mechanism of some kind to overturn the Nov. 8 results and award the presidency to Clinton. I Am Not A Lawyer™, and real lawyers can feel free to jump in here and correct me, but the only mechanisms I see are the Electoral College and, maybe — barely maybe — the courts.

Let’s look at the Electoral College first. If the Electoral College, which votes on Dec. 19, decided in this case to affirm the national popular vote, that would be a way, but 1) that ain’t likely even if Donald Trump was shown on video standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shooting someone, and 2) that mechanism would be available only if proof emerged and a consensus was reached before the Electoral College vote on Dec. 19.

That leaves us the courts. I suppose it’s just barely possible that someone could file a lawsuit on behalf of the voters who supported Hillary Clinton, address all challenges to standing, provide proof of harm, and so on and so forth and get the case to the Supreme Court. (I realize the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in some cases, and perhaps this would be one, but I don’t want to bet on that.) We’d then most likely lose on a 4-4 tie and Trump would become president anyway.

Beyond those two options? We’ve got nothing. This is election theft on a scale we have not seen in the modern era and perhaps ever. The imagination of the thieves here far surpassed the imagination of those who were robbed and the few who have even tried to anticipate a theft such as this, let alone prevent or undo it. Our system of government appears to have left us utterly defenseless against such a ruthless and effective attack as this.

And I say that before we even get to the Republican Party. Republican politicians, as an almost ironclade rule, no longer respect the rule of law, particularly when it comes to elections. In Republican-controlled states, it’ll take a federal court order to get all the provisional ballots counted unless, as here in North Carolina, a Republican candidate (like our apparently one-term governor, Pat McCrory) is behind. No Republican-controlled legislature is going to intervene and force a recount, let alone a true audit, where vote totals are flaky. Not only do they not respect the rule of law anymore, neither do they recognize the notion of country over party anymore — indeed, they don’t recognize even elected Democrats as legitimate leaders and haven’t since Bill Clinton’s first election.

If you’re wondering how a dwindling minority of white Christian males manages to hang onto an outsized share of power in a country that is becoming less white, male and Christian every year, now you know. As I say, I’d love to be wrong about this. But I don’t think I am.

(And don’t expect the media to help on the theft. More on them later.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:05 pm

Lookie here! Some honest-to-goodness voter fraud!

Why, it’s 200 votes’ worth! See! All those restrictions on voting that all the GOP legislatures have enacted are there for a reason! We’re trying to prevent the wrong people from voting outrages like this!

In … um … Texas.

By … um … a Republican.

Oh, snap.

Monday, August 11, 2014 9:21 pm

Noted almost without comment, voter-impersonation fraud edition

A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast.

I was right. Again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:05 pm

The Republican Party has a big problem: voters

Filed under: Evil,I want my country back. — Lex @ 9:05 pm
Tags: ,

What do you do when your policies are insane, your candidates are a clown car full of geeks and waterheads off of which all the corporate money in the world can’t wipe the makeup, and your base is dying off rapidly?

At that point, you’re pretty much down to one option: You illegally and unconstitutionally conspire to deny people their right to vote. And that, under the guise of complaints about “vote fraud,” is how the GOP is rolling right now.

“Vote fraud” actually is a misleadingly broad term, a fact that works to the GOP’s advantage. It breaks down into two major subcategories — well, one minor and one major.

The one that GOP wants you to think is the major problem is “voter fraud,” or, to be technical, voter-impersonation fraud. This takes place when someone votes who is not legally registered to vote, or who votes while claiming to be someone he or she is not (typically because whoever he or she actually is is not legally registered to vote, or not registered in that jurisdiction).

The GOP has argued that this fraud is a problem so prevalent that people should be required to produce government-issued identification when casting ballots.

Two major points to recall about this type of fraud: First, fraudulently registering to vote, while properly a crime, has no affect on the outcome of an election. One must actually cast a fraudulent ballot to have even a chance of affecting the outcome. And, second, the actual incidence of fraudulently cast ballots in the computer age is, insofar as anyone has been able to document, vanishingly rare. It’s just simply not a big problem. As Kay at Balloon Juice summarizes:

Conservatives in Ohio (like Florida) instituted a strict voter ID regimen based on conservative and media claims of voter fraud. A lot of us said at the time that voter ID laws wouldn’t solve the voter impersonation fraud problem because there was no voter impersonation fraud problem. As predicted, the voter ID laws in Ohio and Florida have had no effect at all, the unsupported claims continue, and are now being used to justify still more draconian measures. This is not at all surprising, because it was never about fraud.

What it is about is election fraud — perpetrated by Republicans. The GOP is trying to prevent from voting those people — young, poor, elderly, minority, convicted felons who have paid their debts to society — who are statistically more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. The fact that doing so is a federal crime matters not a bit to them. If they can keep these people off the voter rolls, or prevent them from casting votes as they are legally entitled to do, then they have a shot at winning some elections they otherwise would have no chance to win. And because they lack a coherent philosophy, sane candidates, governing skill or anything else except an overwhelming desire to keep their faces firmly in the crotch of big business, that’s now their business plan.

Election fraud is very big and, unlike voter fraud, very real. George Bush “carried” Florida and thus was awarded the 2000 presidential election because a contractor retained by his brother Jeb, then the state’s governor, and Secretary of State Katherine Harris illegally struck from the voter registration rolls thousands of people who were legally eligible to vote and who, if even a small number had voted, likely would have swung the state and the election to Al Gore. This crime was documented in the first chapter of Greg Palast’s book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. But that’s only the best-known example.

It’s easy to say that anyone who opposes voter ID opposes honest elections, and there’s a certain intuitive appeal to that argument. If you’re going to vote, shouldn’t you be who you claim to be? But it’s already a crime to vote when you’re not legally registered, and it’s already a crime to misrepresent yourself as eligible to register when you’re not. The fact of the matter is that Republicans aren’t pushing voter ID because they’re interested in honest elections. They’re pushing it because they are trying to keep anti-GOP voters from voting so that they can steal elections they can’t honestly win. Conspiring to deny people their constitutional rights is a felony, of course, but that’s never stopped them before.

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