Elections Are So Last Century
Back in early June, the media was watching closely the results of the special election in San Diego to replace Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham after he plead guilty to bribery. The buzz was, if Francine Busby won, it would be a clear indication that the voters were tired of Republican corruption and were ready to hand Congress over to the Democrats. Opinion polls before Election Day had Busby ahead of her opponent Brian Bilbray, but in the end, Bilbray pulled it out and traditional media was all over the story. Well, they were all over part of the story, the part that cast a rosy glow over the GOP and their chances of holding onto control of Congress in the midterms, but the bigger story was the fact that the election was contested. That story never got off the ground though. As we know, traditional media doesn’t challenge, let alone investigate fishy elections. That’s not newsworthy in this day and age.
The election in San Diego was conducted on Diebold machines that were kept in the homes of poll workers for days before the election, this breach of protocol effectively decertified the machines, but they were used anyway and when the machines spit out a win for Republican Bilbray, he was quickly sworn in back in Washington D.C., even though there were votes still being counted and the results hadn’t been certified. I guess if the GOP can’t get their hand picked SoS to certify fraudulent results ala Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell, they can just bypass the SoS and swear in whomever they choose, I mean really, who’s going to challenge them, The Washington Post, CNN, Chris Matthews, Bob Woodward? Please.
The election was contested in late July after the California Registrar refused to conduct a hand recount (sound familiar?), and a brief was filed last week by the defendants in the case claiming that the California courts don’t have jurisdiction to decide the case and that the House of Representatives has the full authority to determine its members. In other words, the voters are merely giving a suggestion when they vote for their Congressperson, in the end, Congress can determine for itself who to swear in and accept as members. I guess we should all keep that in mind as we head to the polls in November. We’re not really deciding on representation, we’re only voicing our opinion, an opinion that can be ignored if we make the “wrong” choice. Good to know.
I still run into Democrats that are active in Party politics who refuse to acknowledge the ugly reality of how broken our election systems are. We watched as Al Gore tried to eek out enough votes to best George Bush instead of demanding that every vote in Florida be counted, we watched as John Kerry folded and refused to fight, we have watched Democrats in the House and Senate run as fast as they can away from any discussion involving fraudulent elections, manipulated results and hackable voting machines. There are a great many people diligently working through legal channels to secure free and fair elections (and BradBlog is doing an excellent job of covering these efforts), but the opposition has more money, more lawyers and more access.
Where are our Democratic leaders on this issue? How can they continue to provide cover for the GOP and even worse, a false sense of security to rank and file Democrats who honestly believe that if there was a real problem, surely prominent Democrats would be making more noise? For whatever reason (they’re feeding at the corporate trough?), that isn’t going to happen and voters need to recognize that we are on our own. If our election system is to be fixed, we must first acknowledge just how bad things are and then we must stop helping the enemy by demeaning the efforts of those working so hard to save our democracy. It’s time we worried less about their tin foil hats and more about our own steel blinders.