Cheat To Win

It has become increasingly clear (except to Institutional Democrats) that the Republican base of Bigoted, Misogynous, Racist, Nazis can’t win elections anymore. The Republican Greed Head Elite agenda of looting the Treasury to give to their Billionaire donors can hardly squeeze more blood out of the Turnip and is vastly unpopular, whereas Left/Liberal ideas like universal Health Care are widely supported, even by registered Republicans.

The Republicans understand it all too well and for decades have papered over the failure of their policies by stoking “Culture War”- pandering to the Bigoted, Misogynous, Racist, and Nazi minority.

That is no longer possible.

So instead they have changed to wholesale cheating to salvage themselves from the ash heap of History and maintain their rapidly declining power and influence. Sure, Immigration is about a Racist prejudice against Brown people (I’ll point out again that Hispanics are Europeans, descended from the Goths and Celts), but it’s also because of the perception/reality that they’re more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.

Now it’s one thing to be a good sport and overlook a little rule shading when you have a winning position (though it can bite you in the ass too, sucker) but what’s occuring in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, and anyplace else Republicans can manage it, is profoundly anti-democratic in that slippery slope to Fascism kind of way and to the extent that Institutional Democrats are not fighting it tooth and nail they are betraying their constituents and signing their own death warrants, either in Primaries (the preferred way) or General Elections.

Looks like an actual case of election fraud has occurred. Guess who’s responsible.
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
December 5, 2018

As you surely know, Republicans everywhere are deeply, deeply concerned about the possibility that fraud might taint elections. The integrity of the ballot is so important to them, in fact, that they will happily disenfranchise thousands of voters if that’s what it takes to make sure that not a single illegitimate vote is cast. They’ll purge voters from the rolls, impose onerous registration requirements, require picture IDs knowing that many voters don’t have them, all to make sure that every vote cast is pristine and pure.

Which is why Republicans everywhere are outraged about what seems to have happened in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.

Oh wait. Actually, they’re not. You’d have a hard time finding a Republican who has spoken out about this case, and conservative media have been largely uninterested in what looks like one of the most blatant instances of election fraud in recent history. It’s almost as if — and you might want to sit down while I tell you this — all the talk about voter fraud from Republicans wasn’t actually sincere, but rather a cover for efforts to suppress the votes of Democrats. Imagine!

This is a fascinating case, however. When the election was completed, Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, yet the state’s bipartisan election commission refused to certify Harris as the winner, citing irregularities it had become aware of. The more we learned about what had happened — mostly from enterprising local reporters — the weirder the story got. And it tells us a lot about what election fraud actually is, and what it isn’t.

It started with unusual patterns among absentee voting in the district, going back to the primary in which Harris defeated incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger by just 828 votes. It turns out that Harris won an implausible 96 percent of the absentee votes in Bladen County in the primary.

Absentee ballots are at the center of the general election controversy as well. Reports have been coming in of voters in heavily Democratic areas saying official-looking people had come to their door requesting their absentee ballots, saying they would turn them in on the voters’ behalf. And suspicious patterns emerged among ballots that weren’t returned. For instance, in Robeson County, 822 of the unreturned ballots had been sent to Democrats and only 78 to Republicans. In Bladen County, results suggest either that Mark Harris had a spectacular and highly localized cross-party appeal to Democrats casting ballots by absentee, or someone filled out a whole lot of ballots fraudulently.

Then we learned about a man named Leslie McCrae Dowless, a consultant hired by the Harris campaign (or more precisely, hired by a firm hired by the campaign) to work on absentee ballots. A notorious figure in North Carolina politics, he’s also a convicted felon who spent six months in jail for fraud in the 1990s. “Dowless and his wife were accused of taking out an insurance policy on a dead man and collecting nearly $165,000 from his death,” according to the Charlotte Observer. He also has a felony perjury conviction on his record. This BuzzFeed story by Brianna Sacks and Otillia Steadman contains some more incredible details about the operation he mounted on Harris’s behalf.

While there’s a lot of investigating still to be done, what may well have happened here is that Dowless’s operation collected absentee ballots from voters and either filled them out themselves or, failing that, turned in the ones from Republicans and tossed the ones from Democrats in the trash. To be clear, we don’t know for sure that’s what happened, but it’s what it looks like.

The point is that absentee ballots are one of the only areas of elections where it’s even possible to commit fraud on a scale significant enough to potentially swing an election, as may well have happened in North Carolina. But you don’t hear Republicans crying that we need to put new safeguards in place in the absentee ballot system.

Why not? Because doing so wouldn’t help Republicans. But things such as voter ID, which ostensibly safeguard against voter impersonation — where someone shows up at the polls pretending to be someone they aren’t — absolutely do. That’s despite the fact that voter impersonation is not only incredibly rare; even in theory it would be almost impossible to use it to swing an election. You can get a few workers to spend a few weeks going through neighborhoods telling people you’ll turn in their absentee votes for them, and you might be able to eliminate hundreds of votes for your opponent. But how many votes could you swing with an impersonation scam? Three? Five? Ten?

It would be useless, which is why nearly every one of the tiny number of impersonation cases that happens turns out to be some stupid but sort-of-well-intentioned scheme like someone impersonating their recently deceased relative to cast the vote they think they would have wanted.

But on the North Carolina case — finally, actual election fraud! — Republicans are silent. So I have a hope, perhaps a vain one. It’s that after this, they’ll just give up their repulsively disingenuous claim that their vote suppression measures are actually about “voter fraud” and “the integrity of the ballot” and just say forthrightly what everyone knows: They don’t actually care about voter fraud. They want to suppress the votes of Democrats, and they’ll use any tactic they can to do it.

Perhaps they could take a cue from Republicans in Wisconsin, who are moving to limit the power of the governor and attorney general now that Democrats just won those offices. They could have painted their actions as serving some high-minded, abstract principle about the balance of power between the branches of state government, but they haven’t really bothered. “Listen. I’m concerned,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “I think that Governor-elect [Tony] Evers is going to bring a liberal agenda to Wisconsin.” His counterpart in the other chamber, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, agreed: “We are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.”

In other words, as far as they’re concerned, even when voters choose a Democrat to be governor, he has no legitimate right to govern, because he’s a Democrat. Just like they think that Democratic voters don’t have any inherent right to cast their votes.