This Election Will NOT Be Diebolded: A Call for Calm
If you don't live in Florida, then you should do NOTHING. Let thoughts of bunnies and sweetly chirping birdies fill your minds; breathe deeply, close your eyes, and allow a sense of rested comfort to take hold of your body from your heart to tips of your hair. Then go out and do your canvassing and calling with a renewed sense of hope, optimism and purpose.
Why? Because THIS ELECTION WILL NOT BE DIEBOLDED. It just won't--and I have the circumstantial evidence to do just about everything but PROVE it (which, of course, cannot be done; it's practically impossible to prove a negative.)
Now, I know that many people will dismiss this post angrily out of hand as Calm the Fuck Down Already Part Deux. But hear me out, because I'm on your side. Believe me--I know that the Diebold problem is a BIG deal. I believe that the Max Cleland election was stolen outright; I believe that Chuck Hagel Diebolded himself to a landslide. I believe that Kerry was probably Diebolded in Ohio (and perhaps elsewhere as well) in 2004.
But NOT this year. So at least do me and all of us a favor--and hear out my arguments before you flame me.
The reason they're not going to steal this election is simple: at this point, they're not giving themselves the CHANCE to steal it.
To understand why, let's consider an alternate universe: Let's say you're a political party looking at the possibility of stealing elections across the country using e-voting machines. Call that political party The Demoncrats. Perhaps, in this right-wing fantasy alternate universe, the Demoncrats are conspiring with the Venezuelan government to use Hugo Chavez' voting machines--no joke, people--to steal elections. And the Demoncrats have put YOU in charge of stealing them. You have to allocate resources in the best possible way to make the theft look believable, and to win as many seats as possible. What do you do?
Well, you do what the GOP did with Cleland, where Chambliss was down by seven in the polls. You do what they did with Kerry, where Bush was down by four in the Ohio polls. You take races where the polling data says you are BEHIND--and do everything possible to make it CLOSE ENOUGH to steal with some degree of credibility.
Thus, if you wanted to steal the Senate for the "Demoncrats" in this alternate wingnut universe, you would ignore the Tester campaign: he's got that in the bag. Same with Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey; too easy. No, you would put all your time and resources into TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA, AND ARIZONA. You would pull out both the tight races that showed you behind, and give Pederson a miracle victory that showed the strength of your "wave." Heck, you might even give Phil Angelides in California a major resurgence.
What DON'T you do? You DON'T Declare defeat in races where you're behind, to concentrate on races where you're ahead. Which is exactly what the GOP has done this cycle: You DON'T pull out of Ohio, where you're behind, to focus on Tennessee and Virginia, where you're (presumably) ahead. You DON'T send your Vice-President to Wyoming, where the polls show you ahead, and where no one would be surprised to see you win anyway. You DON'T abandon Rick Santorum, darling of the conservative base, to the wolves in Pennsylvania, so that you can spend money on House races that weren't even on anyone's radar. You DON'T spend $500,000 helping your ahead-in-the-polls incumbent win his PRIMARY in Rhode Island--only to abandon him to a drubbing by Sheldon Whitehouse in the general election.
No--you steal the close ones that show you ahead, and you make the ones that show you behind CLOSE ENOUGH to steal.
But that's been the OPPOSITE of what the GOP has been doing. And at this point, there will be rioting in the streets if DeW(h)ine "beats" Brown, or Burns "beats" Tester, or Santorum "beats" Casey. They wouldn't dare try. And they're NOT trying. They're not trying now, and they won't try later.
And what about Florida, you say? Florida is...well...Florida.
But if I were the Democrats, I would thank my lucky stars that the GOP was trying to steal the election for a man who was already polling eight points ahead of his opponent only nine days away from the election. That sounds to me like a fabulous venture to risk blowing your cover on. What it tells me is that either these are just random glitches (doubtful)--or we have TRULY inept and politically stupid opponents who cower in so much fear that they rely on theft that is VISIBLE TO THE VOTER to help a candidate who appears to be coasting to victory.
So TAKE HEART. End your despair, and end your handwringing. The disenfranchisement will comes from OTHER directions that are more old-school suppression: voter roll purges, putting too few machines in Democratic districts, enforcing "Voter ID" requirements, etc. It will be the sort of thing that a good GOTV operation can counter.
But this election will NOT be Diebolded. Because groundwork is the name of the game for the GOP--and they simply haven't even laid the basic groundwork to be ABLE to Diebold it.