Monday, June 20, 2016

What's all this business about election fraud?

There's been a lot of discussion lately about election fraud. I find it odd then, that most of the discussions center on the Democratic primary elections. Doesn't it seem strange that almost all of the discussion centers around people who attempted to vote in the Democratic primaries and just happen to fit the demographics that would be most likely to vote for Bernie Sanders?

Remarkably, despite very intense opposition from Republican elites, there were few if any claims of election fraud concerning anyone who tried to vote for Donald Trump. Perhaps that's because for those voters, their vote actually counted. They were not denied at the polls. They did not register Republican and suddenly find that on election day, they were registered as a Democrat.

I've been quietly surveying and assessing the landscape concerning this issue. From all of the reading I've done on the issue so far, the one takeaway is this: for Republicans, there is no litigation. For Democrats there is litigation. It would seem ironic then, that the country that purports to export democracy, to encourage other nations to embrace democracy, is fouled by claims of election fraud in 2016.

There is a lawsuit in process now that was filed by Election Justice USA (EJUSA). They have accumulated evidence to show that tens of thousands of people were denied the right to vote, despite following proper registration procedures, in the Democratic primary in New York. After reading some of the details, I find it hard to believe that so much effort has been put into disenfranchising voters. Of course the lawsuit is still in process, but the evidence provided by EJUSA seems rather damning at this point. Counterpunch has a good summary of the details here:

CounterPunch has obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed by EJUSA in New York City and the accompanying Exhibits. Together with the databases and emerging story, they paint a picture of a Democratic machine every bit as corrupt as the Tammany bosses of the 1920’s and 1930’s who opposed Franklin Delano Roosevelt at every turn.
Exhibit I of the lawsuit includes these summary facts of the 716 entry EJUSA database:
* 97 respondents “clearly misunderstood New York’s registration deadlines”
* 619 respondents who did understand the deadlines represented nearly every New York County
* 401 respondents registered from 2012-2016 and legally should not have been subject to voter roll purging
* 303 registered during the current campaign in either 2015 or 2016 and before the relevant deadlines
* 140 of the 619 were switched, without knowledge or consent, to no longer registered
* 289 of the 619 had been switched, without knowledge or consent, to independent
* 79 of the 619 had been switched, without knowledge or consent, to a different party
* 27 of the 619 were simply unlisted at their polling site even though properly registered and active
The Counterpunch article notes similarities between this election and another election in the same state in 1932 with Franklin D. Roosevelt in contention for the election then. Numerous memes and articles can be found in social media comparing Bernie Sanders to FDR.

I think it should be remembered at this point, that the conditions that have so far given Hillary Clinton a lead in delegates are the same conditions that will help Republicans to win the election in November. The voter purges were permitted by laws enacted by Republicans. The cuts in polling places in Arizona were permitted by a Supreme Court ruling that gutted an essential section of the Voting Rights Act.

I'm not totally convinced of #exitpollgate and their arguments that the exit polls matched results more closely where there is a paper trail than where there was not. But if verified evidence of election fraud turns up, I could see it coming. I've written several articles covering the topic on this blog, and this one comes to mind, "The tip of the iceberg in election fraud is probably floating in Ohio".

The bottom line is that any attempts on the part of Clinton supporters to suppress the voters who support Bernie Sanders will eventually backfire. Democrats always do well in elections where voter turnout is high. Liberal Democrats tend to do very well when the voter turnout is high. Note that at Real Clear Politics, the total vote count in the primaries, 28 million for Democrats, 21 million votes for Republicans. Whoever prevails at the Democratic Convention in July will very likely win in November. And yes, it will be a contested convention. Sanders has not conceded and I think it's possible that he won't have to.

A great many voters feel that voter suppression is rampant in order to bolster support for Hillary Clinton. The evidence already available would seem to support that impression. Any efforts to suppress the vote in the primaries could only backfire. First, voters who think they have been disenfranchised will be likely to find an alternative means to express themselves, probably in ways not anticipated, and I don't think they're going to vote for Clinton. If the only objective is to get Clinton nominated, then they have lost the forest for the trees.

There is more to this election than just nominating Clinton and getting her elected as the first woman president. I know, sexism is cool only if you support Hillary Clinton. There is more to this election than defeating Donald Trump. Even if he doesn't overtly set his campaign on fire, he's not going to do well based on the votes so far.

The point of this election is to lead the country in the direction that the people want. If the votes of Bernie's supporters are suppressed, they will not be heard. What I believe will happen then, along with Matt Taibbi, is that Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie. Not having heard the people, elite Democrats will not know how to attract their votes. Hillary may win, but I don't expect Democrats to gain any ground in Congress or in Statehouses. They may even lose ground with Hillary on the ticket. I believe the opposite will happen if Sanders were the nominee.

Sanders has won 14 elections in his political career. I have a feeling he's got a plan and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. But I don't expect the Democratic leadership to help.
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