This anxiety was heightened the other day when, in a local supermarket, I ran into Stephen Rosenfeld, one of the key electoral-integrity activists in this country.
Since he had been examining electoral chicanery in the 2004 balloting for more than a year-and-a-half, I asked Rosenfeld if he was close to finishing up his research.
My simple question released a torrent of information from him about how the Republicans were able to steal the election in Ohio, and thus the Electoral College vote that elongated the HardRight's hold on power, with Bush as their frontman.
Suffice it to say that the information he laid on me, along with what has been picked up from other electoral-fraud experts -- Mark Crispin Miller, Ernest Partridge, Steven Freeman, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Brad Friedman, Alastair Thompson, Bev Harris, John Conyers, et al. -- makes it clear that Kerry was robbed. In some states, it's likely that the Republican vote-counting corporations massaged the numbers to create a Bush "victory." But it's equally clear that, in key locales around the country, the GOP might not have needed to fiddle with the computer software since enough votes were stolen from the Democrats by other slimy methods.
HOW TO HIJACK AN ELECTION
It has been widely documented that nefarious techniques were employed in key states to aid Bush's "victory," such as: removing hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters from the voting rolls; rejiggering the precincts so that when those voters went to their usual polling place, they were told they had to go vote elsewhere and when they got to the new place, they had to vote by Provisional Ballots (in Ohio, thousands of those ballots apparently are still uncounted!); making sure the voting machines in heavily Democratic wards were out of commission or malfunctioning or too few in number for the crowds who wanted to vote, thus forcing working-class citizens to stand in line for many hours, with the result that many gave up and went back to their jobs; thousands of unstamped ballots that were moved around to various precincts; locked warehouses in which various electoral irregularities were carried out; dirty tricks to keep likely Democratic voters from showing up (supplying them with the wrong voting date, telling them that anybody with unpaid parking tickets would be arrested at the polls, that sort of thing); not always catching that e-votes for Kerry automatically, either deliberately or because of technical malfunctions, were being switched into the Bush column, etc. etc.
With several hundred thousand voters kept from casting their ballots in Ohio, for example, the ultimate conclusion is that Kerry would have won that key state, and other close states, had the election been conducted honestly, absent the dirty tricks and fraud. But, of course, before any serious recounting could take place, Kerry, despite his promise to fight, quickly threw in the towel, as had Al Gore four years earlier, which haste and timidity permitted Bush&Co. to continue on their corrupt, incompetent, deadly ways.
These were shameful, cowardly Dem retreats by the candidates in the face of fire. Only now are Gore and Kerry starting to behave and speak out the way they should have during their campaigns, at least about the environment and civil liberties and the war in Iraq, leading one to believe that those two are readying themselves for another go in 2008.
TIMID DEMS ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
And where were the rest of the Democrats during all this electoral thievery? Lost and asleep at the wheel, as usual.
On occasion the Democrats display a bit more starch in their spines, but in general liberals remain locked in a more naive frame of mind, from an earlier era, when elections, no matter what their deficiencies, were more or less on the up-and-up and fair-mindedness was the operational mode for politicians: Elections were held and the declared winners got to rule, but they governed by taking into account the legitimacy of the opposition minority. Those days are long gone, thanks to Rove's bullyboy tactics.
The Democrats just don't want to deal with, or don't know how to deal with, the reality that in the Bush/Cheney/Rove era the Republican leadership has a singular goal in mind -- to win, by whatever means necessary -- and that it has a meticulously worked-out system for victory that violates every rule and tradition set up in years past. The lasting legacy of Karl Rove.