“We’re nothing of a country if we don’t guarantee that our electoral process is on the up-and-up.”
(Dr. Douglas Brinkley)
There are only 6 people in this country who still believe George W. Bush won the 2000 Presidential election fair & square. It’s an ugly reality that we have accepted as another chapter in this nation’s wild history. The ensuing uproar resulted in drastic changes being implemented...which, ironically, helped the GOP steal the election again in 2004. What’s really horrifying about this is that hardly ANYBODY complained in 2004. That fact alone practically rolls out a red carpet for the greedy Powers That Be, inviting them to do it all over again this year.
Part of this apathy is surely because the GOP wasn’t the only party involved in outright corruption. As the Record-Courier reported on 10/28/04, “The Ohio Supreme Court has denied Ralph Nader and his running mate, Peter Camejo, a place on the state ballot, in response to a lawsuit instigated by the Democratic Party which claimed election fraud. This is a recurring instance, as in nearly every state where Nader has sought ballot access, the Democratic Party has sued to disqualify him, for fear that he may ‘spoil’ their bid, as they speculate he did in 2000.”
But articles like that are a rare find. Indeed, many excused theses illegal tactics - which amount to constitutional crimes - because, hey, it was all in order to get Bush out of the office. Fighting corruption with corruption...which sunk them down to the same gutter as the GOP, and as a result the American people got politically sodomized for their efforts.
People easily dismiss corruption as just part of the Presidential Election Game. Talk about the Republicans caging votes, and the reply is, “well, look at ACORN.” Talk about the Democrats’ political bigotry in suing to keep Nader off the ballots in 2004, and the reply is, “well, he cost us the 2000 election, we had to do something to prevent it from happening again.”
This is insisting that the voting public accept corruption as a natural component to the election process. It tells us that both sides are willing to rig the election in their favor, if they think they can get away with it. The closer the race, the easier it gets to fudge the numbers.
One thing that sets the GOP apart from the Democrats in this is their strategy for stealing the vote. Where the Democrats try to cut down folks like Nader, the GOP goes directly after Democratic voters, in essence taking AWAY as many votes as possible from the total number, so the race is that much closer. Rather than ramp up support for their cause, they attack their supporters...who just happen to be American citizens.
While this shady behavior was prevalent all over the US in 2004, it was more apparent in Ohio than anywhere else. In the aftermath of the 2000 election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which among other things set provisions for states to replace the old punch card voting system with more high-tech, computer systems.
Lucky for the Republicans, one of the companies picked to manufacture these systems was Ohio-based Diebold Electronic Systems, which was run by Walden O’Dell, a top fundraiser for GW Bush. In a “Get Out the Funds Letter” sent to Ohio Republicans in August 2003, O’Dell declared he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year.”
Not surprisingly, the systems produced by Diebold were flimsy at best, easily manipulated machines that could be effortlessly hacked into. James Renner from the Cleveland Free Times pointed out that, “Diebold’s source code has been leaked onto the Internet several times and can be easily dug up by any reputable computer nerd.” What’s even more ominous is that the systems could be reprogrammed with little trouble or accountability.
Inevitably, these systems were a major source of vast discrepancies in voting records.
But the voting machines weren’t the only tool the GOP had at their disposal in Ohio that year. Just like in 2000 - where in Florida the Secretary of State (who oversees the state’s elections), Katherine Harris, was a loyal Republican, along with a Republican governor, Jeb Bush (GW’s brother, no less) - in 2004 the GOP had both Ohio seats filled with their minions.
Bob Taft was Governor, and considered by many to be the worst governor in Ohio history; a Zogby poll in November 2005 gave him an approval rating of 6.5%, possibly the lowest ever of any US politician.
Then there was Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State. As Chief Election Official of Ohio, Blackwell was also Co-Chair of the Committee to Re-Elect George W. Bush. This is the exact position held by Katherine Harris in Florida, 2000. With a zealous drive to “accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000,” as US District Judge James Garr put it, Blackwell took every chance he could to tweak the election in Bush’s favor.
Here’s some of the best reading from this gloomy time:
- “Ohio’s Odd Numbers,” ran in the March, 2005 issue of Vanity Fair, where Christopher Hitchens examines how, “in practically every case where lines were too long or machines too few the foul-up was in a Democratic county or precinct, and in practically every case where machines produced impossible or improbable outcomes it was the challenger who suffered and the actual or potential Democratic voters who were shortchanged, discouraged, or held up to ridicule as chronic undervoters…”
- “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” ran in the June 1, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone, where Robert Kennedy Jr. breaks down all the discrepancies that led to Bush taking office for a second time, and gives account after account of all the blatant ways Blackwell and Taft manipulated the outcome.
-The Free Press kept close tabs on the deceit and trickery, with Richard Hayes Phillips giving detailed examination of the actual vote numbers.
Now here we are, four years later, and once again looking at a potentially close Presidential election, where states like Ohio could decide who runs this country for the next term.
A lot has changed here on the North Coast since 2004. There are progressive Democrats holding the offices held by Taft and Blackwell, with Ted Strickland as Governor and Jennifer Brunner as Secretary of State. Both have made great strides to produce a more transparent election, and have vowed to prevent another rotten deal like we had in the past.
But the most obvious difference between this Presidential race and those of 2004 and 2000 is that Barack Obama has excited more voters than Al Gore and John Kerry combined. Granted, a lot of people really dug Gore and what he was all about, and we’ve come to see that we would have been much better off had he taken the office. But in 2004...well, ask anybody now about why they voted for Kerry, and it’s because they hated Bush.
This is why the scandals of 2004 were largely ignored: by most accounts, Kerry’s support base didn’t really want him to be President, so much as they wanted Bush & Cheney kicked out of the White House like the cheap whores they are, to be executed and dismembered during the Superbowl Halftime Show, live on national TV. Their loathing for Bush made it possible for them to tolerate the unconstitutional attacks on Nader, even justifying such as a necessary tactic.
The majority of Kerry voters were simply going for the Lesser of Two Evils, thus resigning most hope for a real victory. Kerry represented little more than an alternative to Bush. He did not have the legions of true admirers that Gore had, and neither had the groundbreaking following of Barack Obama.
Being practically forced to vote for a person you don’t really like is just as defeating as having the candidate you really like lose. Almost everyone who voted against Bush by grudgingly voting for Kerry already felt a sense of defeat before they cast their ballot, and since they were complicit in the attacks on Nader, they willingly corrupted the Election even more.
So, when Kerry conceded the election the following day - despite the blaring signs of yet another stolen election - there wasn’t much enthusiasm left anyway. Those on his side were already beat. By running a campaign that was more about defeating an opponent, rather than supporting an admirable candidate who shared the same vision as you, any momentum Kerry had going for him immediately vanished when he bowed out.
At that point, what reason did the mainstream, ad-driven media have to dig any deeper? Their audience simply did not care. They lost...and they knew it would happen, even if Kerry had been elected. Might as well move on, and distract the masses from yet another corrupt election.
Some folks stayed vigilant, even when the Democrats tried to run and hide. In light of all the complaints of voter intimidation, faulty machines and widespread voter disenfranchisement, particularly in the swing state of Ohio, the Green and Libertarian Parties filed for a recount, though a proper one never took place. Alas, the United States was just stuck with Bush for another term, with little questions asked.
Gearing up for the 2008 election, this time around there’s a real fire behind the candidates. In the Democratic corner, you have a candidate who is enjoying more support than any Presidential candidate since JFK, whose multitude of devoted followers truly want Barack Obama to be our Commander in Chief.
In the other corner, you have a grumpy old man, deranged from years of torture as a POW, who appeals to those resistant to change, and who are terrified of the Boogeyman. You think I’m exaggerating, but in the past week, I’ve heard two comments here in Northeast Ohio that sum up the GOP’s support base:
1- “I like McCain, because he seems like a real guy. Obama’s all professional and stuff; I just can’t stand him.”
2- “Do you really want a Muslim nigger running this country?”
The first is reminiscent of those folks who liked Bush over Gore (and Kerry) because they could see themselves having a beer with the guy. “Haw! He’s like one of us! Those liberals, acting all professional, they don’t look like me!” Kind of misses the point that the Presidency is, you know, the highest executive office in this country and all.
This also shows a strong xenophobia prevalent in heartland America. That degenerate attitude of, “If you don’t look like me, I don’t trust you.” And this is saying nothing about Barack Hussein Obama’s scary-sounding name, which reminds nervous people about Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. In other words, the Boogeyman. Throw in a strong sense that Obama fits all the ambiguous definitions of the Antichrist, and you can be sure that millions of voters are terrified enough to vote for a feeble psychopath like McCain.
The second comment further emphasizes what’s really at stake in this election. This country has been controlled by fear for decades (if not since we introduced those savage natives to the sweet art of raping and scalping). McCain’s primary selling point is he’s a military man, and that’s the kind of guy we need when those terrorists attack us. Because we are, of course, under constant threat of imminent terrorist attacks. “The Boogeyman is gonna get us, and if you think your civil rights are more important than me being able to protect my family from nig...um, terrorists, you got another thing coming.”
It's a pretty simple and well-proven strategy of any national controlling process: you keep people scared, and they'll gladly sacrifice everything for the illusion of security.
For the most part, those who are voting for Obama are voting FOR Obama, because they like what he’s about. Those who are voting for McCain are doing so to vote AGAINST Obama, because he scares the hell out of them. I’d like to think that it’s mostly because of what he represents: change.
But then I hear “do you really want a Muslim nigger,” and I can’t help but dread that this election is bringing out the worst, along with the best of us.
Both sides in this election see a lot to lose, and even more to gain. Whatever side you're on, your guy will establish a fundamental reality in this nation that is vastly different than what the other guy has in mind. This country will very certainly be going in a distinct direction when the newly elected President takes office in January, and it's up to us to decide what direction that is.
In order to prevent another nightmare like we had in 2000 and 2004, we need to get as many votes in as possible, so the final tally is of such proportions that there is no way it can be stolen. This election needs to be won by a landslide in order for us to rest assured it’s legitimate. Otherwise, the Democrats as well as the Republicans have proven that they are willing to steal the election, and the closer the numbers are, the easier it will be for them to do so.