Late last night, after Obama took Ohio, Karl Rove was on Fox News, doggedly refusing to concede. He insisted that Ohio was still in play, as Romney was going to win in Hamilton County--where the votes were "counted" on machines made and maintained by Hart InterCivic, a company effectively controlled by Romney's family. (The same machines were also used in Williams County.)
So it's not surprising that the GOP's Lord Voldemort foresaw an "upset victory" in that county. It is surprising that he said it on Fox News, and when the game was obviously lost, so that a sudden Romney "victory" in Ohio would have seemed especially suspicious--even in the eyes of Rove's old allies on Fox News (or those not in the loop).
To those of us with vivid memories of Election Nights 2000 and 2004, it was a creepy moment--and things got even creepier when Brad Friedman reported that the website of the Ohio SoS had suddenly gone down, which had also happened at that very hour eight years before; and when it had come back on, Kerry, who had been ahead, was now behind. And--horribly--the rest was history.
But that didn't happen this time, as Rove had obviously lost control-- of himself (his recklessness in mouthing off like that was staggering), and, infinitely more important, of his well-oiled, fabulously subsidized election-theft machine. For all his plans, and all the preparations made by Ohio SoS Jon Husted (among others), Rove was clearly overruled on this Election Day, as cooler heads prevailed.
The fact is that, this time, yet another late-night "upset victory" would have been too risky--for the US press had finally done its job, enough to make a lot of people conscious of what's happened to our voting system, and, therefore,of what could happen to let Romney "win."
The honor roll includes, among many others, Harper's (for publishing Victoria Collier's brilliant overview), the Atlantic, Esquire, the Christian Science Monitor, Forbes (which came out with a killer piece about Ohio's voting system early on Election Day), Huffington Post, and even DailyKos (which had been fervently denialist since 2004).
This time, such organs, and others, played up news that most of them would once have buried or ignored--especially the news of what was happening in Ohio, broken by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis in the Columbus Free Press, and carried even by such unlikely outlets as Fox 19 in Cincinnati.
In short, our work online was finally resonating through the mainstream press--not the New York Times or CNN, of course, but others numerous and respectable enough to give some traction to the questions we've been raising for so many years. Thus the old smear of "conspiracy theory" finally sounded not like common sense but like the mere ad hominem evasion that it's really always been; and so those few who used that smear this time were shot to pieces for it.
When NBC's Chuck Todd compared concerns about e-voting to "birther garbage," Brad Friedman cleaned his clock, with a devastating catalogue of proven instances of fraud that didn't just expose the ignorance of NBC's so-called "elections expert," but which can now be used by anyone who wants to fight for fair elections.
And, as usual, that tired old slur came not just from the corporate media but, even louder, from the left--ThinkProgress and Alternet both coming out with marvelously stupid pieces whose effect, potentially, is so destructive that Karl Rove himself might just as well have written them. (In its error-riddled item calling the Hart InterCivic story "FALSE," Snopes.com used Alternet as a source.) And yet the dozens of smart, angry comments posted in response to those outrageous screeds make clear that leftist pundits can no longer get away with laughing off this all-important fight for real elections in America.
It's time to put an end to such complacent jeering; because people need to know--and want to know--what's happened here, and what they can do about it. That growing public interest is the reason why our work has finally broken through, with Brad, Victoria, Bob, Gerry and Harvey Wasserman, Jonathan Simon, Sally Castleman, Richard Charnin, Michael Collins, Greg Palast, Bev Harris, John Ennis, Sheila Parks, Paul Lehto, Marta Steele and so many others (and please do forgive me if I didn't name you here--I'm really tired!) finally seeing, if not their names in lights, their vital findings resonating through the public sphere. In my own case, that broad public interest recently came home to me when my half-hour interview with Heather Wokusch on MNN(NYC's public access channel) instantly went viral up on YouTube, getting over 80,000 hits in just four days.
And it's because our work has reached so many people that it's not just we ourselves who spread the word, but countless others who aren't activists. As Rove and his confederates mulled their options yesterday, who knows how much they fretted over that explosive bit of video posted by "centralpavoter," showing that an ES&S iVotronic e-voting machine had repeatedly flipped his Obama vote to Romney? (The Raleigh Telegram reported that the same thing was happening on machines in North Carolina.) The fact that it went viral--vividly disproving the GOP's propaganda claimsthat Democrats were somehow flipping Romney votes--had to help decide them not to rip off this election after all.
So while this day after is a thrilling time for Democrats, it is a moment of rare triumph for those fighting for legitimate elections in America. We're feeling this elation not because Barack Obama won, but because we've helped prevent the right from pulling off another "win" despite the will of the electorate. And--despite that Democratic sweep--we will keep up this fight to realize American democracy itself, which must be saved not only from Karl Rove, the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson, but from the long joint grip of both the parties, and the money flooding through them.