Democrats Undermining Democracy
Jonah Goldberg notes that Democratic Party leaders are already starting to claim the election was stolen:
On October 21, The Associated Press reported: “Sen. John Kerry, bracing for a potential fight over election results, will not hesitate to declare victory Nov. 2 and defend it, advisers say. He also will be prepared to name a national security team before knowing whether he’s secured the presidency.”
The prior Sunday, Eric Holder, a member of the Democrats’ “Election Task Force,” told Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday,” “If every vote is allowed to be cast, and if every vote is counted, John Kerry will be president within a day of that election.”
Paul Krugman echoes these comments in today’s NYT:
If the election were held today and the votes were counted fairly, Senator John Kerry would probably win. But the votes won’t be counted fairly, and the disenfranchisement of minority voters may determine the outcome.
Such outrageous charges threaten to delegitimate the election results days before the election is even held. Indeed, Holder apparently wants to do away with the Constitution entirely, skipping the Electoral College and transition period altogether to install Kerry in the White House.
Krugman’s analysis is simply bizarre. After a few paragraphs explaining why the race is a tie even though most of the polls show Bush ahead, he asserts: “A broad view of the polls, then, suggests that Mr. Bush is in trouble.” Then he goes off on his stolen election rant:
Florida polls suggest a tight race, which could be tipped by a failure to count all the votes. And votes for Mr. Kerry will be systematically undercounted. Last week I described Greg Palast’s work on the 2000 election, reported recently in Harper’s, which conclusively shows that Florida was thrown to Mr. Bush by a combination of factors that disenfranchised black voters. These included a defective felon list, which wrongly struck thousands of people from the voter rolls, and defective voting machines, which disproportionately failed to record votes in poor, black districts.
This is complete nonsense, as Goldberg explains:
John Fund, the author of the eminently comprehensive and thoughtful book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud is Threatening Democracy,” has implored the NAACP, the ACLU and the Democratic Party to provide him with real life examples of blacks – or anybody else – who were specifically disenfranchised. Alas, like the “real killers” O.J. Simpson is still searching for, Fund’s quest has remained unfulfilled.
In 2000, Janet Reno – still the Attorney General – dispatched crack squads to highlight the crimes against democracy the Democrats had been touting. They came up empty, too. Indeed, even Al Gore’s lawyers – who saw nothing wrong with trying to squelch the votes of Americans serving in the military – failed to cite a single example of the allegedly “pervasive” disenfranchisement Democrats claimed had taken place. You always know something’s fishy when party hacks say one thing in front of cameras and another in front of judges.
Further, those who cite anomalies in the Florida 2000 vote that diminished the Gore count conveniently forget that the Gore camp worked tirelessly to ensure that overseas military ballots were excluded on the basis that they didn’t carry a postmark–even though overseas military ballots are never postmarked. Or that the television networks “called” Florida for Gore –incorrectly–an hour before the polls closed in the Florida Panhandle, which is on Central Time.
Goldberg argues that, while there has been hanky panky from partisans of both sides, there is a systematic difference in how it has been handled:
Now, obviously, the GOP is hardly pure on such matters. The reports that a firm in Nevada allegedly tore up the registration forms of Democrats and Independents is just one small example of how both sides play games with the rules. And, admittedly, in 2000, Florida Republicans did over-purge the rolls of felons. Yet during the same election, Democrats kept polling places in Missouri open late in Democratic precincts. And in South Dakota they probably stole the Senate election from the GOP by using the Indian vote “creatively.” Undeniably, both parties have played fast and loose.
But there’s a huge difference between the two sides’ tactics. The Republicans’ lawyers aren’t preemptively declaring the election is fraud if they don’t win. Simply put, they aren’t trying to undermine the legitimacy of the American political system. The Democrats – who constantly decry Bush’s “politics of fear” even as they warn of a draft and tell blacks they’ll be disenfranchised – have taken the position that a Bush victory is by its very nature proof of voter fraud. That is the Holder Doctrine. If all the votes are counted, Kerry wins. Period. If Bush wins, the votes must not have been counted.
Goldberg also calls our attention to a yesterday’s George Will column:
The campaign is culminating with reckless charges about the possibility — actually, the certainty; such is life — that there will be imperfections in recording perhaps 110 million votes. The charges are couched in the language of liberalism: much talk about voters’ rights, no talk about voters’ responsibilities and dark warnings of victimization — “disenfranchisement” and “intimidation.”
Punch cards, the Dispatch says, are “prone” to overvotes and undervotes “because so many things can go wrong.” For example, if “voters do not correctly insert the card into the voting device, the wrong holes can be punched.” But is it unreasonable to expect voters to perform those simple manipulations? Are they victims — disenfranchised — if they do not? Surely not in Ohio, where printed guides to punch-card voting are supplemented by instructional videos on the Internet and where instructions and instructors will be available at polling places.
In some Florida jurisdictions this year, electronic touch-screen voting machines will react irritably to undervotes. If a voter skips a choice on the ballot, a message — e.g., “You have not made a choice on this race” — appears on the screen three times. What more must be done to deal with the undervote problem — which often is not a problem but a sensible preference?
Should there be more severe prompts? The first might be: “I’m just a machine, but shouldn’t you be marking more boxes?” The second might be: “Hey, dolt — yes, you: The right to vote is precious, so even though you neither know nor care about a particular contest on the ballot, vote for someone — anyone — even if your vote is random.” Finally, the machine could threaten: “Cast more votes or you will wake up with a horse’s head in your bed.”
Both parties have a right–maybe even a duty–to take steps necessary to ensure that the votes of their supporters who are entitled to vote count. Monitoring ballots to ensure that they aren’t confusing, printing voter guides to inform their supporters, stationing poll watchers to ensure fairness, and similar measures are healthy for our Republic and quite welcome. The scorched earth tactics adopted by Democrats in the aftermath of the 2000 race, however, threaten to undermine our system.