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Boardman writes: "Does anyone here have confidence that the American voting system is secure, stable, and designed to protect the voting rights of every eligible American voter?"

Voters stand in line waiting to cast their ballots. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty)
Voters stand in line waiting to cast their ballots. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty)

Voting Threats Haven't Mattered to National Leadership for Decades

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 August 18


From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Traditional Scottish prayer

Two years after Russia interfered in the American presidential campaign, the nation has done little to protect itself against a renewed effort to influence voters in the coming congressional midterm elections, according to lawmakers and independent analysts.

Washington Post, August 1, 2018

oes anyone here have confidence that the American voting system is secure, stable, and designed to protect the voting rights of every eligible American voter?

There’s no good reason to believe that after more than two decades of Democratic spinelessness in the face of a consistent Republican assault on voting integrity. The Russians may be long-leggedy beasties, but it’s Republicans who have been going bump in the night for all these years, disenfranchising American voters unlikely to vote Republican.

How’s this for a proposition: the Democrats elected Donald Trump when they decided not to contest the election of 2000 and allow a partisan Supreme Court to decide the election without allowing a full count of the votes. That election floundered as a result of Florida governor Jeb Bush presiding over a state effort to purge and cage presumably non-Republican voters, especially non-white voters. The purge-and-cage effort made the election closer than it would otherwise have been and produced a fundamentally invalid vote result from a state-distorted electorate.

The Democrats rolled over then, fighting tactically rather than on principle, and here we are as a country, deep in denial about the integrity of our election system. Instead of addressing real and persistent Republican attacks on voting rights, we imagine nearly omnipotent Russian hacker ghoulies and ghosties somehow subverting a popular will that hasn’t been able to express itself fully in a long time. The reality of Russian efforts is at best uncertain, based on available evidence. But “Russian interference” remains an article of bipartisan faith, which serves as a convenient excuse for ignoring the real and present dangers American officials inflict on American voters year after year in state after state.

Possibly the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and released damning emails to the public. And that’s bad because? The emails showed the DNC to be a corrupt enterprise. Whoever is responsible for the leak, its revelations should be seen as a public service. And it might have been seen as a public service had it led to actual change in the Democratic Party leadership, had it opened the party to the non-corporate voices it has suppressed at least since the Clinton presidency. The DNC emails made no cultural difference; the party is still at war with its progressive members, and that war puts the midterms at greater risk than they should be.

The mindlessness of “leadership” response to the Russian “threat” was neatly expressed, probably inadvertently, by Democratic senator Mark Warner of Virginia, co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee on August 1:

Twenty-one months after the 2016 election, and only three months before the 2018 elections, Russian-backed operatives continue to infiltrate and manipulate social media to hijack the national conversation and set Americans against each other. They were doing it in 2016; they are still doing it today.

Even if Warner is precisely correct, so what? First of all, free speech in a globalized world gets tricky. Does that mean we want to clamp down on free speech the way more authoritarian countries do? One hopes not. But of course there are those who fervently hope to control free speech to the point of extinction.

So how many Russian operatives does it take to hijack a national conversation? And let’s assume, despite evidence to the contrary, that a national conversation is actually happening on social media, where there are millions and millions of voices clamoring to be heard and a much smaller number actually listening. And even with those who listen, there’s no way to determine what they actually hear. Does Mark Warner really believe in the alternative reality where Russian-backed operatives have more influence than right-wing operatives at Fox News and elsewhere have had for a generation across all media?

Why doesn’t Mark Warner address a real threat to democratic process and demand that his own party have free and fair primary elections? Oh right, that might be a threat to him and his fellow legislators. Or he might address voting in Virginia, where Republicans continue to poison the well by claiming imaginary voter fraud, as they have for years across the country with almost no evidence.

As for substance, the Russian-backed operatives seem mostly to work with political judo, leveraging common American memes to inflame one side or another, even if those sides are already inflamed. American politics have been inflamed for a long time, and the Russians didn’t do it. Republicans did most of it, with climate denial and racism and religious bigotry and voter suppression of all sorts and attacks on the environment and enriching the rich and where does the list of destructive attacks on decent values end?

The deep irony of our present moment was palpably expressed, most likely by accident, by Republican senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, the other co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Known as a “moderate” Republican, Burr said on August 1, referring to the Russian ghoulies and ghosties:

This issue goes far beyond elections…. We’re fighting for the integrity of our society. And we need to enlist every single person.

Well, the current Republican control of government would not have happened in a society with any real integrity. It’s taken a lengthy, bipartisan effort to gets us into the morass of today. The Russians are surely grateful for the gift of chaos that they could never have achieved on their own, but can now take some advantage of. And the beautiful part of it is that the Russian nibbling gives those responsible for devouring American integrity a great excuse to ignore their own very real responsibility for knocking down an already fragile system. “The integrity of our society” has never been a reality, only an aspiration at best. The degradation of American society since 1980 has been deliberate and ruthless, to the point that “Make America Great Again” resonates rationally despite its masking of duplicitous purposes.

Richard Burr claiming to be “fighting for the integrity of our society” is ironic to the point of bald hypocrisy, given the record of North Carolina Republicans enacting racist voter suppression laws that even the US Supreme Court rejected. This was after the Supreme Court enabled racist voting legislation with its 2013 decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That element of the integrity of our society was not yet 50 years old when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion based on a masterpiece of doublethink and denial:

Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.

As it turned out, “current conditions” included a North Carolina legislature that promptly passed the racist voting legislation even the Supreme Court couldn’t stomach. When the Supreme Court struck down that racist law, the North Carolina legislature went back to work trying to achieve the same racist end by different racist means. Those are the current conditions of the integrity of our society. The Russians have little or nothing to do with any of it. Demonizing the Russians is a bipartisan diversion. The real existential threat to the integrity of our society has long held office.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+31 # librarian1984 2018-08-03 16:29
YES, what explains TWENTY years of spineless Democrap do-nothing-ness ? Are they complicit or are they inept, silent as MILLIONS of us are purged from the voting rolls? There was SO MUCH wrong in 2000 and NO ONE did a damn thing, at the time or since!

YES, the importance of the DNC leak/hack was not the source but the CONTENT, which the party and the press have studiously ignored, meaning the party has not reformed and has not improved. We act like Russian FB posts are the end of the world but nobody seems to care that the Clinton machine bought off the DNC -- and still owns it.

YES, the DP has allowed no non-corporate influence for decades -- yet somehow tried to blame progressives for historic losses and the terrible strategic position we find ourselves in now. Their contention is that neoliberals will somehow save us from Trump and the GOP -- when THEY are the ones that put us here!

'the midterms at greater risk than they should be'

YES! Why are we not polling thirty points ahead of the GOP? Why are we neck-and-neck with kleptocrats and paedophile-endorsers?

YES, snowflakes, it's better to read a few fake posts than destroy free speech. We can hear the words of a racist or a Russian or a lobbyist -- nothing compels US to believe them.

Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and the VRA!

I'm sick of being called names on this website for saying many of these same things.

Again, Boardmen, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
+12 # librarian1984 2018-08-03 17:52
Sory I speled your naame weong. I'm a gud spellur but a turrible tipist.

You are a magnificent writer. I read this four times, it was so beautiful, and so filled with truth.
-1 # jackdresser 2018-08-03 23:18
It's REALLY Israel. And its Lobby, starring Sheldon Adelson for the GOP and Haim Saban for the DNC. And 51 domestic non-profits, none registered as a foreign agent. And Jewish Federation chapters and community relations councils in every city distributing hasbara programmed from the national level. And Bibi flying in to command a joint session of Congress to applaud on cue to an unbroken string of lies.

Putin at least finally got one TV interview with Megan Kelley, where he related truths Americans need to hear, in effect unveiling the tetonic world power shift now occurring while US news remains hysterically absorbed in its tabloid journalism about Stormy Daniels' payoff, some meeting with some sinister Russian in a Trump Tower, an an imaginary DNC computer hack that intelligence veterans explain was impossible.
+4 # Moxa 2018-08-04 13:11
It is true that Israel has much more clout in our politics than Russia has ever had, but it isn't Israel that is the problem. It is, as Boardman says, the spinelessness of the Democrats, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Republicans in dismantling our Democracy. Want to see collusion? It is the collusion of both parties with Wall Street to wreck our country. No lobby, be it of Israel or Bank of America, has a scintilla of power until the ones who cast the votes take the bribe. Bernie Sanders does not do this, but most do. Then you have corruption: bada bing bada boom.
+4 # librarian1984 2018-08-04 19:05
I just read today about the IDC, a small group of NY Democrap legislators who vote to elect GOP leaders in exchange for committee positions and other perks.
+18 # grandlakeguy 2018-08-03 23:26
Yes Librarian the spineless Democraps have done nothing about the monstrosity that we jokingly call elections.
While I am glad to see articles such as this, as usual, the naked fact that the Republican traitors have been for many years manipulating the vote counts electronically somehow fails to get mentioned. I have to wonder if there has been a memo sent to all journalists that they are not allowed to mention that fact.

Until have hand counted paper ballots with all citizens allowed to vote we have little or no chance to change the direction of our nation.
+2 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 13:13
Absolutely agree with grandlakeguy about paper ballots and universal franchise.

Vermont uses paper ballots but counts them with electronic scanners. This seems reasonable to me, since the paper ballots
to confirm/deny any anomalies.

This in today's email from Tim Canova (presumably true):
"Of course, we all know that Bernie came under tremendous pressure for endorsing me, and he was forced to back down even before my August 30, 2016 Democratic primary. When we fell short in that primary, we had our doubts about the election results, so I attempted to verify the vote by inspecting the ballots. But the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, a close ally of Wasserman Schultz, simply destroyed the ballots in violation of state and federal criminal statutes, and has so far gotten away with it!"

As for that memo on computer voting, I haven't received it yet
(but I'm way low on the food chain).

Because of the way my piece was flowing, I omitted comment about what strikes me as the most outrageous aspect of computer voting: proprietary software that the government (state, local) is not allowed to see, in effect giving election authority to the software owner (typically Republican-lean ing). This was a big problem in Ohio, as I gather.

My sense is that computer voting is coming under better control or being eliminated, but of course its simply stupid (or criminal) to have any voting system where verification is impossible.
+5 # lfeuille 2018-08-04 18:18
"Vermont uses paper ballots but counts them with electronic scanners. This seems reasonable to me, since the paper ballots
to confirm/deny any anomalies."

Yes, it's better to have the paper ballots as a backup than not to have them at all, but I still think hand counted ballots would be better yet. You have the problem of old inaccurate scanners in inner cities that skew the results and asking for recounts is often an obstacle what with having to raise money for it and meeting arbitrary non-standardize d rules like having a candidate with an actual chance of winning request the recount. It would be better not to have to recount in the first place. And detecting "anomilies" is sort of difficult when you don't really know what the norm is because of decades of miscounted balloting.
+5 # Lgfoot 2018-08-06 10:17
Colorado uses mail in ballots. Works well.
+6 # grandlakeguy 2018-08-04 21:05
Dear Mr. Boardman, thank you for the reply.

The problem with electronic scanners is that those who control the process of counting are capable of controlling those results as well. They are no better than electronic computer voting devices.

There is a good reason that the ballots in Mr. Canova's primary were quickly destroyed and that is clearly because he was the victim of a stolen election. Otherwise why would the DNC Corporate operative break the law by destroying the ballots?
The Democrats have their own agenda of election theft.

Please remember that in the 2000 Presidential "election" there was a county in Florida that registered MINUS 10,000 votes for Al Gore! It was never challenged.

Remember the 75,000 ballots in Detroit 2016 that supposedly had no Presidential candidate marked. Do you think that those inner city voters stood in line for hours and forgot to vote against Trump? Jill Stein raised the millions of dollars for a recount in 3 states (I donated $100) including Michigan and was blocked from having the recounts because she "had no standing:. Hillary Clinton had the opportunity to make the recount happen as SHE had standing but suspiciously failed to do so. Trump "won" Michigan by 10,000 votes.

We will never have a chance to save our democracy unless EVERY journalist of conscience starts researching all that has happened in our stolen elections and a deafening roar of demand for hand counted paper ballots forces an end to our fake elections.
+4 # librarian1984 2018-08-06 07:21
Just heard today that in VA they've made it illegal to hand count paper ballots; even the recount must be done by machines.

I suppose this is what the courts are for, challenging these kinds of laws. Do we depend too much on the ACLU? Should liberals form an organization like ALEC, to attack the many laws geared to keep non-GOP votes down, laws that are obviously meant to obstruct honest elections, pack the courts, etc?

Laws like saying the CDC can't study marijuana or igun violence (I don't believe this is codified, but killed by a thousand cuts, like abortion law -- idiotic laws with obvious ill intent.

It seems like Republicans are always willing to take the low road and use any means to achieve their goals, and that's considered a virtue by their base.

What is Democrats' response to that?
+4 # grandlakeguy 2018-08-06 20:35
A law that forbids hand counting of ballots can only mean one thing:
+11 # Benign Observer 2018-08-03 19:04
Pt. 1

I feel like I'm back in a mosh pit - reading this article, grinning maniacally and nodding my head like any respectable head banger.

I suggest RSN readers go to the WaPo article cited - a masterpiece of bullshit, slathered on deep and dense. The author quotes Warner and Burr but there's so much more:

Clint Watts, ex-FBI and one of the authors of the infamous PropOrNot list, says "If you can't talk about Russia around the president, I don't see how you get in front of this, given that they're the ones doing most of the foreign influence."

REALLY? You can't fix our elections because Trump gets along with Putin? You can't act on your own, or tell him it's China? Because here's a clue: it's China. And it's Israel. And it's Joe Blow. JUST FIX IT!!

We learn Facebook has closed 32 accounts -- oh thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for saving democracy!

Another con artist, the CEO of a marketing analytics firm, quakes with fear because BOTS AMPLIFY THE MESSAGES ON TWITTER. He says Russia exploits 'the seams' of US agencies because NO AGENCY HAS A CLEAR MISSION AGAINST RUSSIAN MISINFORMATION.

Really? Our democracy is endangered because Russkies repeat things Americans are already saying? Oh dear, where's my pearls - they need clutching!

And we have SEVENTEEN intelligence agencies but NONE of them deal with this? Really?

I am going to make a list of journalists I can't trust - and Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg ARE ON IT.
+4 # economagic 2018-08-04 05:53
"I am going to make a list of journalists I can't trust - and Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg ARE ON IT.?

And then we wonder why so few people object when Pestilent Trump (thanks, KC) refers to the MSM as "fake news." Most people reading this article have been saying something of the sort for twenty years, and some for forty or more.

Unfortunately recognizing the fakeness of the products (sic) of the MSM provides zero information about what is really happening. Other factors in USian society that also have nothing to do with foreign interventions have led many people to believe that the truth can be learned or closely approximated with zero effort. Whatever they imagine on the basis of nothing but their imagination is a worthy substitute not only for the misdirection of the MSM but for skeptical study and inquiry. Genuine conservatism is not an ideology but a commitment to avoid assuming that one's own wishes and fantasies are the reality.
+5 # Benign Observer 2018-08-03 19:23
Pt 2

I'm curious as to why we've heard nothing about this for almost two years but now, three months before the election, DNI, FBI and CIA - you know, those '17 intelligence agencies' we've heard so much about - are out there telling us it's basically hopeless, they can't save our elections because Trump gets along with Putin, their hands are tied, and who knows whose jurisdiction this falls under, and our 'way of life' is ruined because Americans might read Russian propaganda - as if Israeli propaganda is somehow more wholesome, or an RNC meme less corrosive.

Why are they out there, standing in an impressive bloc of puffery, declaring the elections can't be trusted and it's too late to do anything about it and it's Trump's fault?

This just reeks of a set up. Those mofos are planning something. They're doing everything they can to destroy our faith in our elections - to what end? What are they planning to do and say the day after the midterm election?

If you, like me, have a functioning bullshit detector and have ever dealt with passive-aggress ive personalities like these SOBs, you know there is a way to drive them crazy: don't react.

When they want you to panic, stay calm.

When they want you to fight each other in the streets, unite.

When they want you to tear each other apart, work together.

It's amusing to watch them escalate their manipulations, to watch THEM panic. It forces them to amplify their hideous treason.
+11 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-03 20:09
This is a good article. We have to accept the fact that America is a dying empire. It has been dying since Reagan, when a predator class of oligarchs, mostly republicans back then, went to Washington with one purpose -- wreck the public institutions and steal just as much wealth as they could. The American people had no defense against this gang of vulture capitalists. The people of America were mis-educated, in fear, and confused by the non-stop propaganda from the mass media who told then that Reagan and his vultures were bringing Morning to America. Now Trump is going to make America great again. The looters always say this. The media never gets the con-job.

But it is just as well for the people of the world that America collapses and rots like a stinking corpse. The empire was no good anyway. When the Washington corpse has been picked clean by the vultures, the people can begin to rebuild. They can't do that as long as there is any breath left in the beast.

I like Jean Baudrillard's book from the 1990s -- Fatal Strategies. He says there is no way to change the system that controls us. All we can do is feed the end of history, feed the beast until it dies.
0 # Robbee 2018-08-04 10:21
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-03 20:09:
When the Washington corpse has been picked clean by the vultures, the people can begin to rebuild.

- this presumes that capitalists can pick anything clean, so clean that it can no longer be exploited, which has yet to be shown, anywhere?

marx predicts the fall of capitalism; if you see that anywhere, please show us where, okay?

anyway, the point is - utopia is a long way off, if ever?

what we really need asap is a congress that protects democracy, especially our vote, while capitalism thrives congresspersons ? or else do away with america's corrupt election funding method?

my solution, which econo tells me is IMPRACTICAL, involves public funding, only, of elections, federal, state and local?

econo wants me to get PRAGMATIC, as in stop trying to challenge the funding method that secures oligarchy?

i am not ready or willing to wait on the "withering (or rotting) away of the state", that takes too many lifetimes i don't have - and it only works in untested theory - where have we seen the meek inherit the earth?

if anyone has a better alternative, as here on rsn i repeatedly challenge, please tell us now, and i will explain why it hasn't worked, thanks!

I'm not saying that people taking over their own government will be easy, or not face extreme hardship, only that it's a cause worth fighting - this is THE REAL REVOLUTION! THE PEOPLE AGAINST PRIVATE MONEY! AND OUR OPPONENTS HAVE ALL THE MONEY!
+7 # librarian1984 2018-08-04 10:57
We're a dying _military_ empire.

I was so naive. When the USSR broke up I thought our military budget would go down and the world would be more peaceful. We'd focus our resources and time on poverty and hunger and housing.

That's what should have happened.

When WW2 was over Europe adopted socialistic elements, like universal health care, to protect citizens from capitalism, likely inspired by FDR's programs. The US instead shifted our financial and intellectual resources to intelligence and military adventures, established bases all over the world, wanted or not.

When the USSR broke up instead of helping them establish a democracy we showed them how to despoil the country's riches. We pillaged and taught them how to rig elections and steal most effectively.

When we started two wars to solidify support for an unliked administration we didn't pay for them, instead giving huge tax cuts to the rich (that Dems would later make permanent), and we gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted by infringing on citizen rights, spreading fear and ballooning the military budget.

When the 2008 recession began we didn't punish the wrongdoers. Iceland put bankers in jail and China executed people! We were chintzy with infrastructure investment and when it eased we didn't pay down our debt.

The military empire is destroying us. We could shift to a green economy empire. But we rarely see leaders of vision any more. New leadership is essential.
+5 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 13:19
Hard to imagine that the collapse of America will be good
for anyone. Because of scale, if no other reason.

The collapse of the American empire, or better the slow withering
of the American empire, might well be good for the people of the world, including Americans.

But the idea that the next stages will be benign strikes me as
something like suicidal fantasy.

Well, we'll see, won't we?
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-05 07:57
WB -- "Hard to imagine that the collapse of America will be good
for anyone. Because of scale, if no other reason. "

We really don't know. My best guess is that the collapse of the US would not totally disrupt the world. The world has built alternative global structures which can't really come to life because of the interference of the US -- BRICS, SCO, Eurasian Common Market. The center of world power is shifting to Asia anyway.

The real problem is US military and economic aggression. The US has sanctions and other tactics of economic war against about 1/3 of the nations on the earth. What would Venezuela be without US economic warfare? It would finally be able to implement the terms of its Bolivarian constitution.

We will see. The dollar hegemony will fall first. Then the rest will collapse pretty soon after that. This will be a lot of difficulty for the American people. But who cares? They have sponged off of the rest of the world for decades.
+7 # dascher 2018-08-04 07:11
Nice article with lots of good points, however, it seems to me that the most important stuff gets lots in the attacks on the Democratic Party for "rolling over" and accepting the GOPs naked power grab and construction of processes to ensure that the election process moves further from democratic - without raising the possibilities for WHY the Dems would be "rolling over" and putting up with losing power.

There are certainly several possible analyses of the Dems actions leading to several different possible strategies for how to deal with (or not) with the Dems and fix the problem.
+2 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 13:30
dascher raises a good point about Dem motivation,
and I don't know how anyone can know.

My guess is that Dems panicked in the 1970s – call it
McGovern freak-out – and took all the wrong lessons from
that decade of Nixon-Reagan.

The corporate siren call of the 1% was clearly heard by
the Clintons and the real Democratic party was over by

This is not a subtle analysis: just the triumph of age old evils
like greed, narcissism, self-dealing, abuse of power, loss of integrity, lying, and denial (among other things).

There have been and continue to be actual people in Congress
and elsewhere still trying to walk the walk, but they are under relentless pressure from their enemies as well as their "friends."

An honest Democratic primary system in 2016 might have
changed all that, but I doubt it. The rot goes to deep and
too far.
0 # lfeuille 2018-08-04 18:48
I think it have been the result of a series of what seemed like reasonable choices at the time rather than any kind of overarching plan. The Dems. have always had a fetish about not appearing to be petty or vindictive about election outcomes and it has lead to some really bad isions like Carter conceeding before the polls closed on the West Coast. I do not think he was trying to suppress the Western Dem. vote. He just realized he couldn't win and thought he should admit it sooner rather than later. Gore had tons of people, including the press and fellow Dems. harping at him about not creating a constitutional crisis, which considering the timing could very well have happened. An extended recount could have run out the clock before the meeting of the Electoral College. He did not know that 911 would happen and give the Republicans an excuse to elevate the military and the surveillance state above all other considerations. As for Hillary, I don't know what she was thinking by not joining the recount. She refused when she had legal recourse but then went around saying that she would try to challenge the vote long after it was too late.
+1 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 20:15
Seems to me the Constitutional crisis of 2000
was created by the election circumstances in Florida.

The question for Gore was not whether to create a crisis,
but how to handle the one he was already in.

He chose an anti-democratic approach.

Then he disappeared into his wealth and privilege.
-3 # economagic 2018-08-04 20:43
Yes, those seemingly reasonable choices can be hell in the slightly longer run. Post FDR Democrats have also had a fetish for civility when passion and firmness were called for, and for not appearing soft on crime or war and FOR tolerating all of the abuses of the Extreme Wrong.
0 # librarian1984 2018-08-05 09:23
You are too kind. This might be more believable if Democrats hadn't published The Crisis of Democracy in the 70s.
0 # WBoardman 2018-08-06 11:16
Economagic omits Truman, who was willing
to be uncivil as he saw the need....

librarian1984 cites "The Crisis of Democracy" as being published
by Democrats. It wasn't. It was published by the Trilateral
Commission, one of many American entities long hostile to democracy. The sub-title gives the game away: "On the Governability of Democracies"

That is an authoritarian perspective that negates the essence of democracies as self-governing.

One of the Trilateral authors was the reactionary
Samuel P. Huntington. Also the National Security Council's
Coordinator of Security Planning under Carter.

Trilateral Commission started by David Rockefeller and friends.
Friends included Henry Kissinger, subject of protest right
here in Vermont in the 1970s when Trilateral met at
Laurance Rockefeller's Woodstock Inn.

And yes, Jimmy Carter was the Trilateralist candidate and
he gave us Zbigniew Brzezinski who gave us an enhanced
mujahadeen to harass the Russians, and then the US....

In 1993, Huntington gave us "Clash of Civilizations,"
positing the growing Islamic threat he and Brzezinski helped
nourish. Neat trick.

So one way to "govern democracies" is to set them on a path of perpetual war.

Of course none of this exculpates Democrats, does it?
-6 # ericlipps 2018-08-04 08:05
How’s this for a proposition: the Democrats elected Donald Trump when they decided not to contest the election of 2000 and allow a partisan Supreme Court to decide the election without allowing a full count of the votes.
"Not to contest"? In that election controversy the Democrats fought every step of the way to the Supreme Court after George W. Bush ran to the courts to prevent the Florida recount from proceeding further. (Bush's tiny lead was shrinking daily, and the GOP was terrified that it would turn into a Gore lead if the recount were completed.) They did so even after Al Gore's vice-presidenti al running mate went to the media and said Gore should give up.

After the Supreme Court ended the recount, making George W. "Five of Nine" Bush president by decree, there was no legal recourse remaining. Would you have preferred that the Democrats take to the streets?
+4 # futhark 2018-08-04 10:03
+8 # jackdresser 2018-08-04 10:40
Greg Palast discovered and reported to the Gore campaign before he conceded how the Florida voter roles had been illegally cleansed of black voters, but Gore ignored this as did the American press to which Palast also reported it. In addition, Scalia's son worked for the law firm representing Bush in Bush v. Gore, and Thomas's wife worked for the Bush transition team. The Gore campaign should have loudly exposed this and demanded their recusal.
+3 # economagic 2018-08-04 13:30
Such limited "contesting" as the Democratic party did was utterly without vigor or passion, and with far too much politeness even for a Southerner like Gore. His running mate has always been weak in the knees and lukewarm about taking issue with Republicans in any situation. Taking to the streets by the millions would definitely have been in order in even a half-assed democracy.
+4 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 13:34
ericlipps has a sad view of what it means to fight for principle.

Gore did NOT fight "every step of the way," his campaign chose a cynically narrow plan of attack and we know how that turned out.

Gore was a terrible candidate – and Lieberman worse – and they
deserved to lose. But Bush didn't deserve to win.

Everyone shopuld have been in the streets.
+7 # Working Class 2018-08-04 08:13
"Pervasive Messaging"? Have have you watched FOX "News" at all the last couple decades? FOX ( more accurately PHOX) was Roger Ailes wet dream back in the Nixon era. He was calling then for a Goebels-like instrument to spread the conservative message and it has evolved into a messaging machine the Third Reich would be proud of. So the messaging link of the RIght's machine is, and has been in place for some time. As for Russian efforts to confuse and/or divide US voters, I have no doubt they are involved in the effort, but FOX and Friends are way ahead of them. If you want to look at interfering in elections look no farther than the efforts of almost every GOP controlled state government. They have been following the call of Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the "Moral Majority". Yea that guy. He told Conservatives that voter turnout was not the GOP's friend and the GOP has been in overdrive to suppress the vote of any group of citizens who might not vote conservative every since. The Russian's efforts would have not been nearly as successful if Weyrich and his spawn had not already poisoned the well of public thought with their well funded and well orchestrated campaign of public propaganda, hate and division, along with a national campaign of eliminating voters through such efforts as caging and voter ID.
+9 # futhark 2018-08-04 09:31
Here once again I note the 2004 Ohio election in which fraudulent manipulation of Diebold voting machines gave Cheney/Bush a second term, an election that was contested in court by both the Green and Libertarian Parties, but not the Democratic Party.
+2 # economagic 2018-08-04 13:32
Yes, and with the erstwhile honest soldier Mr. Heinz folding before the cards had even been counted.
+10 # Blackjack 2018-08-04 09:49
Sorry, Eri, but you're wrong about the 2000 election. I remember it well and was simply aghast at how the cowardly Dems mainly ducked and weaved and blamed Gore. Jebbie Baby was running everything and the Dems just stood around with their fingers in their ears declaring that they couldn't do anything else. Cowards all. Gore continued to be pilloried afterward, so he became the excuse for the loss. When all those hanging chads were being counted (or not), Repukes were at the door banging, shouting, literally trying to tear down the door while Dems stood there and let the whole thing play out. It was a truly disgusting sight and I never forgot it. It is etched in my brain as the moment when the Dems decided that caving was better than facing an angry mob (which is what it was). I knew then that democracy was on the skids. I didn't want to be right, but now, 18 years later, it is far worse than I imagined that it would be. Dems simply don't have the stomach or heart to deal with conflict, while Repukes thrive on it. Dems can outnumber Repukes on many of the controversial issues, but Repukes still get their way. The Confederacy has arisen. . .it just took 150 years!
+4 # reo100 2018-08-04 10:53
Thank you Mr Boardman!
It's fine time the truth be told!
I am so tired of hearing, Russia, Russia,
Russia! I do blame the GOP, but the DNC must also take some responsibility. This problem has been going on far, far too long and establishment politicians have absolutely been complacent.
+5 # WBoardman 2018-08-04 13:37
Complacent, AND complicit.
0 # draypoker 2018-08-05 09:07
The 1789 Constitution, adopted in the nascent United States, has revealed its inadequacy, once again. In a prime ministerial system a person so inadequate as the younger Bush is very unlikely to emerge as leader; and a complete psychopath as Trump would also never make it to be a leader. How many competent leaders have their been? A few. How many disasters? Most of them.
0 # Jim at Dr.Democracy on Facebook 2018-08-11 11:43
ericlipps, Repblcns whined and the corporate media treated the Gore campaign's efforts as "every step of the way." Same way the media supports the claim that Obama rammed through ACA without Repblcn participation. There were hundreds of bipartisan committee meetings and thousands of hours of discussion on ACA; moreover its essential features had been promoted earlier by Heritage Foundation, Newt Gingrioh and other Repblcn voices.

However, from the outset, (1) Gore's campaign failed to act promptly in Florida and (2) when they fileed suit they sought counts in only a few counties. Any bonehead knows that Florida has many counties and that discrimination in voting rights is illegal. Florida Supreme Court properly ordered recounts as requested. HOWEVER, by seeking counts in only some counties, Gore's people created different circumstances across counties, opening the door for US Supreme Court to rule that the counts not be completed because of the perverted reasoning that the voting rights of George Bush and some people who voted for him were being violated by a partial recount. If Gore had requested a full recount, no such crack for the US Supremes to easily insert a wedge.

Plus, Gore's team had lots of evidence and stronger positions to use, even before the election started. Florida was the first large-scale application of so-called "cross-check" which discriminates against people with names that match the names of felons and ex-felons.

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