Did Bush Commit Election Fraud? Part 2
Voter Fraud Scam Fails in Milwaukee Test Market
“Voters likely to feel they’re being watched”
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – JSOnline- 31 Oct 2004))
“Scoop” Independent News
Part 2 (Part 1)
This article describes the coordinated effort on the part of the Republican Party to establish alleged voter fraud committed by Democrats as a serious problem. Despite the disruptions it caused, an evaluation of the evidence shows the effort failed on multiple levels. Yet the effort perseveres and the myth that voter fraud is rampant is promoted even today by Republican operatives and others who should know better.
The latest version of the voter fraud myth had its origins Milwaukee before, during and after 2004 presidential election. The Republicans rolled out voter fraud as a crime of epidemic proportions; test marketed that concept with a vigorous press campaign; and encouraged a law enforcement effort to catch the hypothesized vote cheaters. This effort is well documented.
Based on prior experience, the news of impending investigations and arrests would be expected to suppress the minority vote. The Milwaukee effort, combined with others, offered to (a) strengthen the voter fraud myth as a vehicle to restrict voting by minorities and (b) provide inoculation should the Democrats or anyone else claim massive election fraud in Ohio or other key battleground states.
The Myth of Voter Fraud – Opening in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee scheme relies on the largely invented phenomenon called voter fraud that occurs an average of 8 times a year (2002-2005 data). Think of that city as a test market for the next new thing in the Republican bag of tricks. Voter fraud charges weren’t new, but systematic packaging represented a new level of sophistication for voter suppression. The strategy was two pronged. First establish the brand identity, then let the legal system establish brand credibility (i.e., pervasive voter fraud is epidemic) through massive prosecutions.
Branding (brand identification) began with the widely heard and read Wall Street Journal’s John Fund. Fund published his book Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy just six weeks before the 2004 election and promoted the book with wide exposure, thanks to the cable news talking heads. Then we got the local media onslaught.
Here is a sampling of the story of Milwaukee 2004 put together by the Republican Party of Wisconsin published by TPMMuckraker.Com. These headlines represent the core narrative for the marketing campaign offered to substantiate the alleged problem presented by voter fraud in Wisconsin. There’s just one problem. Despite all the law enforcement effort, only five convictions resulted. Nevertheless, the effort is ongoing.
The press summary below is part of a memo found its way into Karl Rove’s office and may have been part of the rationale he offered when he encouraged the National Republican Lawyers Association to keep the heat on “ballot integrity” issues.