Thursday, November 6, 2014

US Elections in the 21st Century: How to rig an election "legally"



Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that corporate money poured into elections has taken over the face of the American "body politic," but it isn't just "big money" that buys elections - it is outright legalized election manipulation and fraud that has struck the coup de gras to the voice of the people.

Sure we go through the motions hoping for fairness as the voices of the ignorant claim "foul," ignoring facts and screeching about "voter fraud."  One really can't blame these sad little, fearful ideologues when all they hear from their dogmatic and dishonest "leaders" is the spewing of thinly veiled bigotry and hubris.  Ideologues, by definition, ignore facts in favor of delusion...

Leading me to American elections in the 21st century - that body politic we have deemed "infallible by Constitution" is very fallible when it is not truly the real voice of the people.

Some of us watched he results come in Tuesday night with more than a little trepidation and that anxiety proved to be a truthful warning of the horrors to come.

Yes, the Republican Party "won" big but did they really win or was it a forgone conclusion that the GOP would take the Senate and keep their states after the machinery had been set in place.


From "Rolling Stone," November 11, 2013, "How Republicans Rig the Game":
As the nation recovers from the Republican shutdown of government, the question Americans should be asking is not "Why did the GOP do that to us?" but "Why were they even relevant in the first place?" So dramatically have the demographic and electoral tides in this country turned against the Republican Party that, in a representative democracy worthy of the designation, the Grand Old Party should be watching from the sidelines and licking its wounds. Not only did Barack Obama win a second term in an electoral landslide in 2012, but he is also just the fourth president in a century to have won two elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote. What's more, the party controls 55 seats in the Senate, and Democratic candidates for the House received well over a million more votes than their Republican counterparts in the election last year. And yet, John Boehner still wields the gavel in the House and Republican resistance remains a defining force in the Senate, frustrating Obama's ambitious agenda.

How is this possible? National Republicans have waged an unrelenting campaign to exploit every weakness and anachronism in our electoral system. Through a combination of hyperpartisan redistricting of the House, unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate and racist voter suppression in the states, today's GOP has locked in political power that it could never have secured on a level playing field.
So do we really have to ask how the GOP took over the Senate, retained the House of Representatives, kept their seats in Governor's mansions and began the "Creep Creep" back into local and State political takeover?

Note:  Gordon Klingenschmitt, is now going to Denver to sit in the State House and babble about "God's wrath" and " God's Word" as he tries to destroy the social safety net, promote hate and divisiveness and all manner of psychosis.



...Now I’m thrilled to report that Tuesday’s election brought us a new anti-gay superstar: Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain, host of “Pray In Jesus Name,” possibly insane human being, and, come January, a member of the Colorado House of Representatives. You may have read Klingenschmitt’s book—which posits that President Barack Obama is possessed by “demonic spirits” of “death,” “paganism,” and “homosexual lust”—or seen his on-air exorcism of the president. (Sadly, Obama was not able to attend.) If so, you’ve really only gotten a taste of his talents. Klingenschmitt’s true passions lie not in presidential exorcisms, but on the topic of gays—and gay sex. Here’s Klingenschmitt’s description of two gay men “manifest[ing] sexual immorality”...


...On Tuesday, Klingenschmitt—a Republican—won 17,013 votes, defeating his Democratic opponent by a 40 percent margin. He will take his seat in the Colorado House of Representatives in January. We can only hope that his career in the legislature lives up to his already remarkable legacy.

First, the GOP gerrymandering that helped keep the House based in GOP Nirvana - I know, it isn't just the GOP that has gerrymandered but the latest gerrymandering has replaced mapping of districts by population with a creatively cubist array that balkanized most populations except those supporting Republicans.

Here’s an example from the election last night. In Pennsylvania, one state in which the GOP drew the congressional districts in a brazenly partisan way, Democratic candidates collected 44 percent of the vote, yet Democratic candidates won only 5 House seats out of 18. In other words, Democrats secured only 27 percent of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats despite winning nearly half of the votes. See the graph below:


A similar dynamic played in North Carolina, another state in which GOP control in 2011 created intensely partisan congressional boundaries. In the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats in North Carolina secured only 3 out of 13 seats (23 percent of NC’s congressional delegation) even though Democratic candidates in that state won about 44 percent of the vote:


In 2012, the first congressional election after the last round of gerrymandering, Democratic House candidates won 50.59 percent of the vote — or 1.37 million more votes than Republican candidates — yet secured only 201 seats in Congress, compared to 234 seats for Republicans. The House of Representatives, the “people’s house,” no longer requires the most votes for power.
As the results from this year roll in, we see a similar dynamic. Republican gerrymandering means Democratic voters are packed tightly into single districts, while Republicans are spread out in such a way to translate into the most congressional seats for the GOP.

Then we have the outright election fraud committed by "legal" means.  What else can we call purposeful denial of voting rights of large numbers of American citizens - both natural born and immigrant?


The Republican electoral sweep in yesterday’s elections has put an end to speculation over whether new laws making it harder to vote in 21 states would help determine control of the Senate this year. But while we can breathe a sigh of relief that the electoral outcomes won’t be mired in litigation, a quick look at the numbers shows that in several key races, the margin of victory came very close to the likely margin of disenfranchisement.

North Carolina

In the North Carolina Senate race, state house speaker Thom Tillis beat Senator Kay Hagen by a margin of 1.7 percent, or about 48,000 votes.

At the same time, North Carolina’s voters were, for the first time, voting under one of the harshest new election laws in the country — a law that Tillis helped to craft. Among other changes, the law slashed seven early voting days, eliminated same-day registration, and prohibited voting outside a voter’s home precinct — all forms of voting especially popular among African Americans. While it is too early to assess the impact of the law this year, the Election Protection hotline and other voter protection volunteers reported what appeared to be widespread problems both with voter registrations and with voters being told they were in the wrong precinct yesterday.

Some numbers from recent elections suggest that the magnitude of the problem may not be far from the margin of victory: In the last midterms in 2010, 200,000 voters cast ballots during the early voting days now cut, according to a recent court decision. In 2012, 700,000 voted during those days, including more than a quarter of all African-Americans who voted that year. In 2012, 100,000 North Carolinians, almost a one-third of whom were African-American, voted using same-day registration, which was not available this year. And 7,500 voters cast their ballots outside of their home precincts that year.

Kansas

In the Kansas governor’s race, Governor Sam Brownback beat back challenger Paul Davis by a margin of 2.8 percent, or less than 33,000 votes.

But Kansans faced two new voting restrictions this year — a strict photo ID law that was put into effect right before the 2012 election, and a new documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration.

What was the impact this year? We know from the Kansas secretary of state that more than 24,000 Kansans tried to register this year but their registrations were held in “suspense” because they failed to present the documentary proof of citizenship now required by state law. And while we do not yet have the data regarding the impact of the voter ID requirement this year, a recent study by the independent Government Accountability Office found that Kansas’s voter ID law reduced turnout by approximately 2 percent in 2012. (GAO also found that Tennessee’s new law reduced turnout by up to 3 percent.) If the law’s effect was similar this year, it would mean that turnout was about 17,000 voters lower than it otherwise would have been. And keep in mind that the number of Americans that don’t have government-issued photo IDs that would be accepted under new laws is closer to 11 percent. In short, the margin of victory in Kansas looks perilously close to the margin of disenfranchisement.

Virginia

In Virginia, Senator Mark Warner eked out a victory over challenger Ed Gillespie by only 0.6 percent of the vote, or just over 12,000 votes.

Like in Kansas, voters in Virginia faced a strict new photo ID requirement this year. According to the Virginia Board of Elections, 198,000 “active Virginia voters” did not have acceptable ID this year. While there are no studies yet on the impact on turnout in Virginia, Nate Silver estimates, based on academic studies, that in general such laws reduce turnout by about 2.4 percent. If that were applied to Virginia this year, it would amount to a reduction in turnout by more than 52,000 voters. That far exceeds the margin of victory here.

Florida

The Florida governor’s race was decided by only a 1.2 percent margin, with Governor Rick Scott narrowly beating former Governor Charlie Crist by just under 72,000 votes.

Florida has passed a host of new voting restrictions over the past few years. Perhaps the most significant for this election was a decision by Scott and his clemency board to make it virtually impossible for the more than 1.3 million Floridians who were formerly convicted of crimes but have done their time and paid their debt to society to have their voting rights restored. Under Florida’s law, the harshest in the country, one in three African-American men is essentially permanently disenfranchised. Ironically, Scott had rolled back rights that were expanded under Governor Crist, who had established a path for people with past convictions to more easily get their voting rights restored. Under that process, more than 150,000 citizens had their rights restored before Scott changed the rules. This is part of a pattern this year of candidates benefiting from voting restrictions they helped to pass.

...And then there was Texas - over 600,000 voters were denied the ability to vote because they lacked an ID that the state of Texas would accept.  Sure the Governor's election was won by more than 600,000 votes but the election was for more than just the governor's mansion.  Every seat from the local dog catcher to the US House of Representatives will be effected by such a large number of disenfranchised voters and those voters tend to be Hispanic, Black, poor, veterans, students, the disabled and infirm, the elderly...




Elections in the 21st Century have become a new breed - Big Money/Dark Money, balkanization and disenfranchisement in diseased harmony create the rigged political game that takes the power from the people and gives it straight to Wall Street, the wealthy and the political hacks kept in power by them.  The "body politic" is no longer the voice of the people but has become the voice of the chosen few who continue to stomp on the rights of the people in order to assure their controlling interest in every aspect of the nation's governing body thereby assuring their control of every aspect of American life.

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