Welcome to Charge: the future of energy
by Daniel C. Sweeney, PhD
Electoral Fraud - 2006
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of blogs is that one is free to say whatever one wishes—to rhapsodize if one has the talent or inspiration for it or to make a complete and utter ass of oneself. Obviously, the latter outcome is far, far more prevalent, but no matter. There’s no ferment without unappetizing byproducts.
That said, I am departing from the editorial “we” and doing something I generally abhor, making an overtly political statement in a journal devoted primarily to science and technology.
One may glean from scattered comments over months of postings that I am less than enamored with the current Administration, a disposition which currently puts me in a two thirds majority, so nothing remarkable there. I am, I should mention, a registered Democrat of rather conservative economic views. I like free markets and I distrust managed economies. Incidentally, I see no such devotion to a rigorous market based approach to economic problems in the Bush administration. And I see no fiscal responsibility whatsoever.
So to the point.
An election is in the offing which is of great moment to the future of the United States. Practically all major polls show the Republican party losing Congress if voter distaste for the party remains at current levels. This opposition poses a pervasive hazard to the leadership of the Republican Right on many levels and extending far beyond the simple loss of seats.
The Bush Administration has been aggrandizing power with signing statements indicative of a fundamental rejection of system of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, and also by the institutionalized repudiation of due process in the form of the PATRIOT act. Obviously, a multitude of actions on the part of this Administration are of highly questionable legality, and a Democratic majority would be sure to act to check the Administration sharply.
If this were to occur, it would likely lead to a Constitutional crisis. George Bush, to all indications, is a remarkably stubborn, obdurate, and imperious individual, one who would respond to legal obstacles with actions of yet more questionable legality. And with many of his supporters facing investigations by Congressional committees should the Democrats take the House, the Republican Party would probably close ranks behind him. Some sort of muted coup is not out of the question.
I do not envision a banana republic storming of the Capitol. The military would be likely to abstain from such a course, though they might be ultimately summoned to “restore order” should mass opposition materialize. Rather, increasingly arbitrary actions would be undertaken by the Administration, and dissenters might be harassed, threatened, or even arrested. Indeed, threats have already been made against the New York Times already. They could be carried out. Similar threats have been made good elsewhere in scores of other countries.
I do not believe, however, that any sizable contingent on the Right wants a coup. A coup, however limited, would be a sally into uncharted territory and the consequences of a failure could be terrible. They could be literally fatal.
A more likely course has been suggested by reporters in the employ of Salon and Rolling Stone in recently published articles—a massive campaign of electoral fraud that could deliver a Republican miracle in November. Simultaneously, the Administration could initiate a military action that could be used to justify a crackdown on dissent, and the two course of action are highly synergistic in fact.
Rolling Stone is what it is, but regardless of its air of frivolity, it makes a practice of hiring highly skilled, aggressive journalists. Salon is centrist, nonconfrontational, and much more concerned with picking up life style and cultural trends than in attacking the Administration. That Salon would front page accusations of this nature is, to say the least, disquieting.
Alas, Salon’s accusations are not unfounded. There is little question that Republican operatives were guilty of grave electoral misconduct in the past, particularly in Florida and Ohio. Salon identifies six states where similar abuses are likely to occur in the next election. Whether such irregularities tipped either election to Bush, I’m not prepared to say, but I continue to harbor suspicions, and those suspicions have grown. I believe that voting fraud, a full bore smear campaign utilizing to the fullest the media outlets sympathetic to the Administration, and an October Surprise of some sort or other may very well be adequate to ensure the permanent majority envisioned by the disgraced Tom DeLay.
In the event of such an outcome, expect major media networks to insist fraud is nonexistent or else perpetrated by the Democratic Party. Those who object will be dismissed as “tinfoil hat types” or accused of treasonous disloyalty in a time of war. The violence of the rhetoric will exceed anything seen previously.
The United States in the aftermath of such an event would not suddenly transform itself into some semblance of the Third Reich. A better model would be the flawed quasi-democracy of Mexico where accusations of pervasive electoral fraud have been extant for decades.
Under such a system we could go on with our lives, pursue happiness, and continue to enjoy an elevated if endangered standard of living.
The problem with such an outcome is that it could not be hidden, however. If the Republicans enter the races ten points down and that shows up in the exit poles, and yet they still win by two or three or five points, the two thirds majority of Bush rejectionists will remain suspicious, and building a society on the permanent suppression of a majority is dangerous and probably ultimately untenable. Network anchors could insist that all is well or simply ignore objections altogether, but ultimately their own credibility is at stake. I am not suggesting that Web based journalists in any way constitute a counterpoise—their cavils will only reach their own dedicated readerships, but a deep and abiding cynicism will begin to overtake the American polity. And it will be exacerbated by the corruption that inevitably accompanies the ascent of unaccountable governments.
What to do?
If this dire outcome occurs, everyone who as an ounce respect for the venerable political tradition of this place must converge on Washington on the days after the election. You will have this chance once in your life and there is no excuse including the death of a loved one or your own job security not to attend. Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter can’t ignore accusations of fraud if three million visitors converge on Washington. And no, the Armed Forces won’t fire on peaceful demonstrators even if Bush gives the order.
Many of you who feel as I do are affluent professionals, and in some cases, extremely wealthy. Wear your two thousand dollar suit, show respect, and behave as ladies and gentlemen, and don’t allow the lying shills that increasingly populate the mainstream media to marginalize you.
I’ll be there if I have to hitchhike. You be there too. You must be. And spread the word, make this viral.
Goodbye and God bless.