Thursday, 20 October 2016


Although Donald Trump's whining about a rigged election is obviously just a spoiled brat loser's ploy to play to his audience, and who knows, maybe incite armed rebellion. After all, most of the guns in America are owned by just a minority of Americans, and they overlap strongly with Trump supporters. Still it's hard to argue an election is being rigged before it even happens, unless of course you have some nefarious evidence. Which of course Trump doesn't have.

But while the punditariat waves the red white and banner of American democracy, it needs to be remembered that Election fraud is a tradition in American politics, going back at least as far as when the franchise was extended beyond land-owning white males (not to mention the disenfranchisement of slaves, while still counting as 3/5 of a person when determining the population, and thus representation, of a state. Big city machines, rural machines, intimidation by Jim Crow laws, gangs, klans, sheriffs and unions all influenced elections unduly. But I'll bet there isn't a TV pundit in America (under, say, 60) who's read either All The King's Men or The Last Hurrah. There isn't one under 40 who's seen either movie.

In 1960 Nixon did not challenge the incredibly close Presidential election result. We've heard that quoted repeatedly to point out the sanctity of 'the system'. However the Republican Party chairman John Sherman Cooper filed lawsuits challenging the results in 11 states. These were dropped when someone realised that whatever gains Kennedy had made in Chicago (thanks Mayor Daley) were actually surpassed by those favouring Nixon downstate. And that in most of other 10 states the challenge wouldn't hold up anyways.

Since 1960, aided by technology voter registration/polling has improved, and coupled with the decline of monolithic machine politics, that kind of fraud virtually disappeared. Well, until Florida in 2000. Again, Al Gore did not challenge the ultimate result--but Shrub Bush certainly did challenge it, in court, where his lawyers argued (and the Supreme Court, against all precedent and careful to ensure their decision could not alter that precedent, ruled by a 5-4 vote that Bush's right to be spared the uncertainty of not being President trumped the people's right to have their votes counted fully and honestly.Al Gore lacked the guts to challenge further, and note that after the election Gore was deemed to have 'won' Florida by every means of counting the ballots EXCEPT the one his lawyers were arguing be implemented! Note too the vote counting was actually stopped by a mob of Republican congressional staffers who stormed the offices where the recount was being held. But I digress...

Florida 2000 notwithstanding, the past 20 years have seen gerrymandering on a scale never contemplated in the 19th century. They have seen voting machines (Diebold) programmed to change votes, which is why most machines now must have a paper trail. They have seen systematic shedding of voters from the registration lists (55,000 in Florida in 2000 alone) under the guise of keeping convicted felons from voting. They have seen voter ID laws aimed at stopping the poor, racial minorities, and students from voting. They have seen voting machines removed from areas unlikely to vote for the party controlling the state government (Ohio, 2004).

That is the face of voter fraud in America. The actual number of cases of people voting illegally is in double figures. Literally...out of hundreds of millions.

And the guy who is running on behalf of the party that has accomplished most of the frauds listed above is going to complain the system is rigged against him? It's pure Karl Rove: attack the other side for what your own side's weakness might be. The guy who has received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free publicity from the TV networks is going to complain the media is rigged against him? God bless Trump and God bless the United States of America.

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