“Block the vote”

Yesterday drudge ran with a wicked story that claimed:

The Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee are advising election operatives to declare voter intimidation — even if none exists, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

Of course, this was pure BS, as Jesse points out — the memo drudge was citing said nothing even close to that — but that didn’t stop the wingnuts from runing with it as if it were gospel.

I’m going to venture a guess that this is a pre-emptive dirty trick. The Republicans have embarked on a formalized and well-organized campaign to rob millions of US citizens of the right to vote and a huge protest is inevitable — it’s already started (on to that in a moment). So what does Rove do? Create a powerful meme designed to neutralize all those moonbat complaints of being kicked off the voter rolls: “The Democrats are planning to claim voter fraud even though it doesn’t exist!”

And that’s the message Drudge started and that’s seeped into a large portion of the national psyche. I always said they were better at communications than we are.

Nevertheless, I wonder if anything can neutralize a crime of this magnitude — voter fraud on a level so vast it simply boggles the mind. It is as though we aren’t in America anymore — in order to ensure victory, the bad guys are simply trying to take away people’s right to vote. Especially the poor and the disenfranchised — and of course, the blacks. Florida revisited, but many times worse.

Paul Krugman today manages to summarize the breathtaking scope of this GOP-sanctioned criminality. It’s a great column and absolutely rquired reading.

Earlier this week former employees of Sproul & Associates (operating under the name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station that their supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.

The accusations are backed by physical evidence and appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal investigation into reports of similar actions by Sproul in Oregon.

Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing wrong – and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But there haven’t been any comparably credible accusations against Democratic voter-registration organizations. And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.

Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada, involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts by jamming the party’s phone banks.

But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For example, Ohio’s secretary of state, a Republican, tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic registrations.

That attempt failed. But in Wisconsin, a Republican county executive insists that this year, when everyone expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 – a recipe for chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly Democratic voters.

And Florida is the site of naked efforts to suppress Democratic votes, and the votes of blacks in particular.

It’s a coordinated nationwide effort, there’s no way around it.

The important point to realize is that these abuses aren’t aberrations. They’re the inevitable result of a Republican Party culture in which dirty tricks that distort the vote are rewarded, not punished. It’s a culture that will persist until voters – whose will still does count, if expressed strongly enough – hold that party accountable.

I don’t know; is it just me? Can we simply accept that it’s acceptable for government officials to intentionally and blatantly work to prevent their citizens, American taxpayers, from voting? Shouldn’t there be a tidal wave of outrage — or has bush simply desensitized us to outrage after committing so many?

If our government is using our tax dollars to throw citizens off the voting rolls in what amounts to a power grab, I really have to question whether I want to live in America.

Update: Josh Marshall has some wonderful posts about this national cancer (and lots of other hot topics — he is on a roll this week).

The Discussion: 2 Comments

You’re probably already reading Dave Niewert’s latest series at “Orcinus,” entitled “The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism.” It’s frighteningly good, especially Part 4.

I think we’re still at a point where political exile is a bit of an overreaction — but for how much longer? As you know, I left the U.S. in 2002 — for non-political reasons — but the result of the next election will definitely affect whether I ever contemplate going back.

October 16, 2004 @ 4:15 am | Comment

I read the Orcinus piece, and as always he blows me away.

I know it’s not time to flee America, like Jews running from Hitler. But if bush wins again, it’ll mean a fundamentalist Supreme Court and an inevitable shift to the right that will be unlockable for possibly decades. Our people seem as brainwashed about terrorism as the Hitler Youth were about the Jews, and right now I don’t see how we can be deprogrammed if bush is allowed 4 more years. We’ll only become increasingly radicalized as Orwell’s vision of the never-ending war is fully realized.

October 17, 2004 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

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