John McCain�s campaign is imploding as the presidential
candidate lapses into incoherence and petulance, and his running mate becomes a
national laughing-stock. In the face of an impending economic meltdown, the
Democratic candidates, Obama and Biden, appear to be the only adults in the
contest. Meanwhile, the GOP�s erstwhile dependable allies, the corporate media,
are displaying moments of journalistic integrity. This presents a problem for
the Republican ticket for, as Stephen Colbert aptly observed, �reality has a
And so the polls show an expanding lead for Obama over
McCain, with no clear indication that the trend might reverse.
Conventional political �wisdom� tells us that Barack Obama
and Joe Biden may be on the road to a substantial victory in November.
Sorry, folks, but I�ll have to rain on this parade.
Have you forgotten? Private Republican corporations count
and compile the votes with secret and unverifiable software! Just as they
did in 2000 and in 2004, and we all know how that turned out.
Accordingly, the stark fact remains: the Republicans might �win�
this election, regardless
of the preference of the voters. The culprits who rigged the previous
elections are fully aware that they might face hard time in the federal slammer
if President Obama�s attorney general is ordered to investigate past elections.
Thus, they are acutely motivated to use their considerable resources to keep
Obama out of the White House.
And that�s just the beginning: the GOP is waging a
multi-front war on our democracy. As Mark Crispin Miller describes the
situation in a recent e-mail:
The ground has been prepared for yet
another stolen race, Bush/Cheney�s party having made enormous strides in
sabotaging our election system (while the Democrats just sat there, whistling).
Now, from coast to coast, it�s far more difficult (for Democrats) to register
to vote, and far more difficult (for Democrats) to cast their votes, while
countless (Democratic) voters have been stricken from the rolls, through purges
carried out by the Department of Justice.
Thus, Bush�s government has legally diminished the electorate (the Roberts
Court approving every step). Meanwhile, the regime also continues to suppress
the (Democratic) vote illegally, either through voter �caging� prior to
Election Day -- or, far more effectively, by fiddling with the numbers
electronically at every level, and/or simply dumping countless names (of
Democrats) from the electronic voter rolls, and/or putting far too few machines
in (Democratic) polling places, and/or disinforming (Democratic) voters as to
when and where to cast their votes, and/or simply scaring (Democratic) voters
into staying home.
talk notwithstanding, the situation facing the Democrats is desperate. But
it is not hopeless.
However, if the Obama-Biden team is to win, it must win big.
Less than 60 percent of the actual popular vote puts the contest into �The Diebold Zone,�
whereby a McCain-Palin win becomes plausible in the public mind, and the �paperless�
GOP voting machines and their secret software take care of the rest.
That �big win� is within reach, but only through determined
and energetic activity by the supporters of the Democratic candidates, and
through brilliant tactics and inspiring leadership by the Democratic candidates
and their managers.
Registration and Turnout
The coordinated Republican effort at massive
disenfranchisement can and must be overwhelmed.
If, as is likely, the GOP succeeds in keeping as many as 5
million Democratic voters from the polls, the Democrats in turn must register
and send to the polls, 10 million more. In addition, the word must go out that
no one can assume that his or her vote is secure. Citizens must be urged to
validate their registration status immediately. They can do so by contacting
their registrar of voters, or by
following this link.
Publicizing the Electoral Integrity Issue
The looming probability of another stolen election must be
made vivid in the public consciousness. To date, the corporate media have
refused to investigate and report election fraud, and the Democratic Party,
amazingly, has behaved as if it either doesn�t know or doesn�t care that it has
been robbed of election victories time and again. All this, despite the fact
that electoral irregularities have been staring us in the face: the �butterfly
ballots� and �holocaust survivors for Buchanan� in Palm Beach, Florida, in
2000, the �lost� 16,000 democratic votes in the 2006 Florida 13th District
Congressional election, the Diebold president�s �visit� to Atlanta just prior
to the 2002 election that cost the highly favored Max Cleland his Senate Seat,
the destroyed and �lost� evidence in the 2004 Ohio election, and much, much,
In the face of such irregularities, and despite the media
embargo, much of the public is suspicious of the electoral process. A September 2006, Zogby
poll disclosed that less than half of the American public was �very
confident,� and about a third �not at all confident,� that George Bush won the
2004 election �fair and square.� This suspicion must now be amplified and
transformed into a demand that the next election be �fair and square.�
Validating the Vote
Independent exit polls must be employed in battleground
states that use paperless �direct recording electronic� (DRE) voting machines. In
these states, the attorneys general and the secretaries of state must secure
evidence such as computer hard drives, ballots, registration rolls, etc. and
make it abundantly clear that destruction or hiding of such evidence will be prosecuted,
as will any vote rigging that might be disclosed by such evidence. (In Ohio,
the unexplained and illegal destruction of the 2004 voting records of 55 of the
88 counties, and the disappearance of crucial computer hard drives, have gone unpunished.
This lost evidence alone might have proved the theft of the Ohio electoral
votes and with them the theft of the national election).
There are other
means of exposing and deterring election fraud which, unfortunately, are
unlikely to be employed this close to the election. In randomly selected
precincts a few DRE machines might be removed and examined for accuracy, or
voters might be asked to vote both on the DRE machines and on paper ballots
with the totals subsequently compared. Independent and parallel means of
totaling (�compiling�) and transmitting election returns would uncover illegal
alterations of the vote.
Absent these effective modes of validation, it is essential
that a massive number of Democratic poll workers and poll watchers (equipped
with video cameras) be on hand on election day.
John McCain has repeatedly betrayed an inadequate and
confused knowledge of foreign affairs, as he refers to nonexistent countries
and nonexistent borders, confuses Shi�ias and Sunnis, and fails to recognize
leaders of allied nations. His �economic policy� consists of recitations of
Given John McCain�s age and physical condition, it is likely
that if the Republican team wins in November, Sarah Palin will one day become
the President of the United States, either during or following McCain�s term of
office. As Palin proves almost every time she opens her mouth, no candidate in
U.S. history has been less qualified for that office. Still worse, her
repertory of bizarre religious beliefs is downright frightening. Beliefs in
witchcraft, �Young Earth Creationism,� the �end of days,� a denial of
anthropogenic climate change, absolute prohibition of abortion and stem-cell
research -- all of these are profoundly discordant with the problems faced by a
great power in the 21st century.
A Political Realignment
The traditional Republican power base of financiers,
business people, corporate managers, etc., has seen control of their party slip
into the hands of religious zealots and market dogmatists. The religious
fundamentalists recruited by the Republicans to supply the votes required for
political clout have
taken over the party to the point of installing one of their own as the vice
As a result, many influential conservative Republicans have
declared outright that they cannot align themselves with the religious right,
and with Sarah Palin in particular. Among
these apostates are George Will, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer,
Kathleen Parker and David Frum.
No doubt, there are many more, some of whom will be heard in
these final four weeks before the election. Many of these individuals are
caught in a difficult dilemma, as they realize that in spite of what might be
good for their party, the election of McCain and Palin, might not be good for
the nation, its economy, and its international reputation. Those who place
their loyalty to their country above their loyalty to their party may soon step
forward and be heard: while the Republican Party, they might say, can survive
defeat in November, the United States might not survive a McCain, and, eventually,
a Palin presidency.
As election day approaches, the public clamor for change in
Washington must become sufficiently intense that the media cannot ignore it,
and the Republicans dare not resist it. There must be an intensity of rejection
of the party in power combined with uniting behind a reformer that has not been
seen since FDR�s election in 1932. Given the breadth and depth of corruption
and lawlessness in the Bush/Cheney regime, the unpopularity of the Iraq war,
and the collapse of the economy, such a time might again be upon us.
The usually pessimistic David Michael Green concedes
It�s been a bumpy ride, 2008 has. This
election should have been an earthquake, a hurricane, a tsunami -- pick your
natural disaster metaphor (or combine them for exciting new variations!) --
just waiting for the calendar to run out and make it official.
In the end, it looks like that�s how it will be after all. One gets the sense
now that the laws of physics are finally reasserting themselves, and modest
measures of sanity are stubbornly reclaiming their inevitable places. This is
true both in the proximate sense, as Election 2008 now appears to be coming in
for a landing, but also more broadly, as the last year or two perhaps mark the
end of an era in American politics.
It remains to be seen if Barack Obama can survive the smears
about to be dumped on him, and emerge in the public mind as a plausible
instrument of hope and renewal. If so, it is just possible that an overwhelming
outpouring of public support just might overcome another Republican attempt to
steal the election.
At this moment, less than a month away from the election,
the issue is very much in doubt.
Copyright � 2008
Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental
Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy
at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He
publishes the website, The Online
Gadfly and co-edits the progressive website, The Crisis Papers. To see his
book in progress, �Conscience of a Progressive,� click here.