Purposing the False Narrative of 'Voter Fraud' GOP-led vilification of the grass roots community organization, ACORN, is now in full swing, after state police in Nevada raided the office of ACORN in Las Vegas in a desperate attempt to paint the organisation as rife with voter fraud intent. The only evidence that voter registrations gathered by ACORN were problematic were actually provided by ACORN itself, which flags potentially invalid voter registrations and submits those registrations to state election authorities. The raid has been describe as a "stunt," a stunt designed to do bolster the voter fraud narrative. More raids in other critical swing states are expected. And let's be clear about one thing: ACORN actively canvases low income -- usually inner city -- neighborhoods throughout the country in an effort to get more low income citizens involved in the electoral process. This is exactly not the demographic Republicans want to see enfranchised in elections. These GOP driven state-level efforts have attracted the attention of Fox News, which is now in full propaganda mode, breathlessly pronouncing the phrase "voter fraud" and "ACORN" at every possible opportunity. During one broadcast, a Fox News host pondered recent events:
"Barack Obama is ahead right now in many of the battleground states -- the same states where investigations are under way for voter fraud. Is this a coincidence?"Clearly, this is not a coincidence. These "investigations" are being triggered by local Republican agents. They represent a direct response to the looming electoral defeat of John McCain and are occurring in conjunction with GOP-orchestrated challenges to new voter registration. But the Fox News implication is exactly reversed from reality, ridiculously claiming that pre-election polls of an Obama surge in swing states must be somehow be the result of fraudulent voter registrations.
This is senseless in the extreme. That doesn't matter to Fox News viewers, though, and it does serve the primary purpose: to inject "ACORN" into the national debate and to further the narrative that a program of massive Democratic "voter fraud" is in the works. This narrative has now moved up the chain, as John McCain and his "female Sancho Panza" are now routinely denouncing ACORN and "voter fraud" in front of their rabid fans, who respond in kind with a variety of threats and accusations against Barack Obama.
Even today and during the midst of a global financial meltdown, Treasury Secretary Paulson held a news conference to outline the latest plans to stanch the stock market bleeding. Fox News refused to acknowledge the event in favour of continuing a segment on ACORN, uninterrupted by trivialities like world-wide calamity.
Fox News, in the middle of their Brit Hume panel discussion (Brit wasn't there), didn't "bat a TV eye," nor mentioned a word about the news conference, but–after a commercial break–continued with an "ACORN" report (and alleged ties to Obama) throughout the entire time that Paulson was speaking to the nation, and to the world, about one of the worst financial crises we have ever faced.The purpose of the narrative cannot be too lightly stated. In the event that GOP election rigging, voter disenfranchisement and the expected waves of confusion, failing machines and voter challenges at the polls on election night fail to deliver John McCain a win in November, "voter fraud" will the first thing to ring out from Republicans across the country. The narrative now being trucked out on the campaign trail and bellowed by the likes of Sean Hannity will serve in the event of an electoral loss to cast enormous doubt on the legitimacy of an Obama win. Lawsuits will be likely.
At this point, the purpose of the McCain-Palin tactic of inciting their hopelessly ignorant yet perfervid fan-base becomes understandable. Should Obama actually take the election, these people can be counted to to perform the heated street show of protest, fully invested as they now are that "voter fraud" will be the way Obama will have won the election. Facts don't and won't matter to these people, who are already displaying the characteristics of a mob. And that is exactly what the McCain campaign wants, a horde of unruly minions screaming in the streets that they have been robbed. And unlike the Brooks Brothers riot in Florida, the GOP won't even have to pay the stooges for their impassioned, possibly violent demonstrations.
As dreadful as it is, one can only marvel at Republicans' ability to force a false narrative into the public sphere. The country has experienced this repeatedly in the Bush era; 9/11 was a "failure of intelligence," Iraq is a threat with weapons of mass destruction, Iran has "nuclear weapons," Afghanistan was a success (prior to its looming failure), the economy is strong, Bush "won" the election in 2004. Some of these narratives have openly unraveled. Others, like the 2004 election, have been crucially buried by a complicit corporate media.
We are witnessing another one spooling out before us. Despite evidence of a politicized Justice Department expending enormous energy and expense hunting for voter fraud were none could be found, and punishing those who refused to engage in false prosecutions, and in spite of the DoJ's own report that vote fraud was virtually non-existent, the narrative of "voter fraud" has now been fully launched by the GOP in the weeks prior to the presidential election.
It does not matter that voter fraud is not real. What matters is delegitimizing the potential electoral win by Obama. It is an effort to create sufficient outrage within the GOP base that legal challenges to the electoral results can and will be not only justified but demanded. Even if the corporate media refuses to openly admit that, in a truly honest election, Obama would win by a wide margin, that the race really has been over for months now, they will not engage in any meaningful way to counter this latest Republican narrative. Fox News, the Weekly Standard, theNational Review, and the fevered realms of right wing blogs will force the nominal media into accommodation.
After years of known electoral fraud, of Republican-linked corporations and their daft voting machines, after numerous, anomalous election results, suddenly and in a matter of days, the Republican machine has pressed the issue of "voter fraud" to the front and center of this election. It is a case that demonstrates the power centers of American politics, where GOP-connected corporations rig elections and are rewarded for their efforts, while humble, community organizations that encourage the poor and the dispossessed to vote are lambasted on the national political stage. This is a disgrace beyond measure, and it must be stopped.