"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

February 21, 2006

In light of the latest vote-counting fraud perpetrated on the American voter by the use of electronic voting machines, here are some excerpts from Andrew Gumbel's "How To Steal An Election":

....In truth, the 2004 election was far from an aberration. Nothing has been more normal, over the past two hundred-plus years, than for one side in an American election to push, shove, and strong-arm its way across the finishing line, praising the strength and fairness of the process as it goes, while the other side stares forlornly at the inevitability of defeat and yelps in frustration about the perpetration of an outrageous theft that threatens the very fabric of the nation. This pattern is hardly good for a democracy (though it is certainly better, if transparency and fair play are lacking, to have a tightly fought contest and relatively high turnout than a moribund one and a foregone conclusion). Equally, it should not come as a surprise, given the tempestuous history of elections in this country. John Quincy Adams stole the presidency from under the nose of Andrew Jackson in 1824, and Rutherford B. Hayes stole it again, even more brazenly, from Samuel Tilden in 1876. George W. Bush no more deserved to win Florida in 2000 than John F. Kennedy deserved to win Illinois in 1960. And that's just the presidency, a far more serenely contested office than the often ferocious dogfights at the state or local level.

....If America's electoral system is more corrupted than any of its Western counterparts, many of the reasons are to be found in the workings of the county elections office. The United States has never successfully produced a professional class of technocrats, and the field of election management has, by common consent, been treated too often as a dumping ground for dimwits, time-servers, crooks, and small-time political appointees who are too incompetent to be given anything else to do. The worst of them get fired, forced into early retirement, or prosecuted on fraud charges.

....There are no dirty elections without dirty politics, and indeed as long as the politics are not clean, it is almost impossible to prevent the electoral process from becoming tainted. After all, rules work only if they are enforced. America is a country that thrives on ferocious competition -- the sink-or-swim ethic of capitalist adventurism, forever flirting with the fringes of the permissible -- and few competitive arenas are more cutthroat than elective politics. To believe that smooth elections are merely a question of updated machinery and proper procedure, as many election officials and mainstream media outlets appear to have done since 2000, is to slip deep into denial and self-delusion. The system functions not on the principle of the common good, but on how much its participants think they can get away with. There is nothing virginally pure about American democracy, and there never has been.....

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