The GOP Is Systematically Stealing Democracy

voter fraudThe United States is facing its greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

With multiple studies providing incontrovertible proof that operatives of the Republican Party – either direct agents or individuals operating on its behalf – are stealing votes, then we cease being a democracy and can forget about any semblance of “representative government.”

When my colleague Denis Campbell and I reported this last Thursday, websiteswhere the piece first appeare, was hit with a massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack from right wing zealots in America. Only if they were deeply concerned about the truth slipping out would a political faction go to such lengths.

Our Founding Fathers knew there was a real risk of a democracy being undone. In 1787, shortly after the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a woman approached Ben Franklin and asked what sort of government the new nation would have. The venerable champion of liberty famously replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

We are losing our republic, and the nation for which it stands.

Roots

Some might argue the process began when Richard Nixon tried to steal America during Watergate. Fortunately, Congress and the courts stopped him cold. And compared to what is happening today, Watergate was child’s play, a Tinker Toy version of what lay ahead.

In fact, the loss of democracy can trace its roots directly to December 12, 2000, when George W. Bush won the presidency by one vote, a poorly reasoned and tortuously argued decision by the Supreme Court. It continued in 2004 with the wholesale theft of votes in Ohio which assured Bush a second term. It happened in 2010 in the Arizona general election and in the 2012 primaries in Arizona and South Carolina where the GOP establishment was stealing votes from other Republican candidates to benefit Mitt Romney.

When something like this happens in other countries, organizations such as the United Nations and The Carter Center swoop in to monitor elections and prevent cheating. America is at the point where it needs international observers in many states, and to check outcomes against actual ballots. Yet Texas Atty. General Greg Abbott threatened to arrest monitors who might show up in Texas Nov. 6 even though poll watchers are immune from arrest if they do not interfere in voting, although the Tea Party group True The Vote has been accused (frequently of harassing minority voters.

When a state’s top legal officer doesn’t think laws apply to him, we have lost our democracy.

Stuart Smalley

American democracy is being pecked to death by ducks.

  • Item: Totally unfounded right wing claims of voter fraud led to state ID laws and other Republican Party efforts to suppress likely Democratic voters – minorities, students and other young voters, seniors, union workers.
  • Item: Thanks to money from the Koch Bros. and other business funders, the American Legislative Exchange Council functions as the back office staff for many Republican legislators around the country and drafts a disturbingly large number of repressive state laws. They range from anti-collective bargaining laws to rules establishing exorbitant residency requirements in order to be able to register and vote.

To bastardize Al Franken’s classic Saturday Night Live nebbishy little character Stuart Smalley, we are losing democracy because the GOP and movement conservatives believe, “We’re rich enough. We’re clever enough. And, doggone it, people may not like us but we can do it anyway.”

Even a duck can kill anything with enough pecks.

Of, By, For Who?

Forty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that anything that didn’t allow one man, one vote was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in his memoir that it was the most significant decision of his tenure, surpassing even Brown v Board of Education because “I believe so devoutly that, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s famous epigram, ours is a government of all the people, by all the people, and for all the people.”

Although Baker v Carr focused on redistricting chicanery – even then, the GOP didn’t like its vision of the wrong kind of people voting – the principle has been the law of the land since 1962. Yet with friends in high places handing the right a string of Supreme Court victories that nibble away at individual rights and liberty, America is slowly drifting away from the precious idea Lincoln described so eloquently.

The question has become whether the notion of “one man, one vote” still applies in American politics.

It doesn’t if ALEC-written and Republican-passed laws make it difficult – some say impossible – for manyh people to cast a ballot.

It doesn’t if companies making computer voting machines openly support Republican candidates, all the while insisting that a paper audit trail that could uncover vote theft isn’t necessary.

It doesn’t if the Supreme Court says an inanimate corporate object can spend as much money as it wants to change election outcomes even though 99.9% of the nation’s citizens can’t afford to hand out anything close to the same amount of cash.

It doesn’t if that same court says individuals and businesses can hide their campaign contributions from scrutiny behind a web of phony front groups such as Karl Rove’s SuperPAC.

It doesn’t if Americans – as in of the people, for the people, by the people – allow this to continue. Otherwise, what will remain of the Constitution and our freedom will be little more than a yellowed piece of parchment on display in the National Archive’s museum.

It is ironic that the right, which yowls that giving people more liberty and greater freedom or a more secure life such as through health care reform or forming a union is unconstitutional. Yet as they make a noise over here, over there they are busy dismantling everything the Constitution stands for.

No wonder we are in the midst of a Constitutional crisis.

Charley James

Author and journalist Charley James’ next book is about his experience becoming homeless. When published, Charley will donate a percentage of his advance and royalties to homeless organizations.

More articles by Charley James

Help keep Charley living indoors.

Follow Charley on Twitter @SuddenlyHomeles. Posted: Saturday, 22 September 2012 Charley’s next book is about his experience being homeless. When published, he will donate a percentage of his royalties to homeless organizations.

Published: Sunday, 21 October 2012

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Comments

  1. JoeWeinstein says

    Like most invocations of ‘the Constitution’ as a supposedly sacred document, James’ article actually has in mind only the Bill of Rights and like later amendments which expand rights. However, the 1787 Constitution’s main body provides for an oligarchic form of government: a Roman-style republic – not democratic at all but with a populist veneer: mass elections used to select (or anyhow ratify) some of the long-termed oligarchs. What the Goppies are trying to steal is advantage over the Dems. So far that’s been easy, because the nominally Dem president and his attorney general have used little or none of their powers to protect voting rights.

  2. harry wood says

    by the way, I thought the piece of stealing votes was a comedy, you never said one thing about any DEM vote stealing, just GOP. Can you image how that makes you look? Are votes bought, yes and by both sides. If you gather up ten people and take them to the polls, do you suggest for whom they should vote? Sure you do, one Dem was paying a bottle of wine or wiskey for votes. The son of a person running for office just resigned for election tampering. How is your book going, hope well so that you can be self supporting again as you were in the past. Obama may have been on a state ballot without meeting the rules, there is a clown serving in the senate that had more votes in one county than there were legal voters. Took them weeks to discover this, but by then the clown was declared the winner. stuff happens everywhere, count on it.

  3. harry wood says

    Perhaps you should know the US is not a democracy, it is a democratic republic, a play on your words perhaps, but you should know thiings like this. If we were a democracy, 51 percent of us could tell the other 49% what to do. So you should be glad the US is not a democracy, as the picture you used may have more meaning.

  4. U.S. Citizen says

    The right to vote is an important element of democracy but it is only one element. The corporatization of America and The Second Gilded Age are the results of bipartisan efforts. Even with a clear right to vote for everyone, we still have a representative corporatocracy; our elected officials continue to put corporate interests over the public good. While the Dems don’t practice voter suppression like the Repubs, they sill contribute to our corporatocracy. With our our Democratic president, we are still moving beyond corporatocracy towards a police state which can lead to historical Mussolini-type fascism. Even worse, with our free trade agreements and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement being negotiated in secret, we could start down the path of going beyond fascism to direct corporate governance.

  5. Brian Knowles says

    One alive, identifiably American citizen, one vote..

    i.e. restrict the ability of the dead and illegal aliens to vote in our elections.

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