Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Let's say it's a tight race between Barack Obama and whoever emerges from the GOP scrum -- the Real Clear Politics poll summary currently has Obama leading Romney by less than a point, and though Obama has a much bigger lead over Gingrich, the economy isn't getting better all that quickly, and it's impossible to know what could happen in Europe in the next year. So if it's Obama vs. Gingrich, that could be close, too.

So imagine Obama ekes out a win in November, barely ahead in the popular vote and with one or two tight states separating him from the Republican in the Electoral College. Now, imagine that this comes after Eric Holder has promised an aggressive pushback against Republican laws restricting voter participation:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights, signaling that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year's elections....

Do you think the aftermath of such a squeaker victory might be the point at which the demagoguing of the "massive Democratic voter fraud" myth goes utterly mainstream? By which I mean that prominent Republican officeholders and officials may literally not accept the results of the 2012 election, and may work to get them overturned, or at least to make hearings on the subject the main business of Congress (or whatever part of Congress is GOP-controlled)? And isn't it possible that, if they work this hard enough, it could actually seem credible to parts of the mainstream press, even though the "evidence" will be overwhelmingly anecdotal and mostly irrelevant (e.g., Mickey Mouse's signature showing up on petitions before being invalidated under the usual perfectly adequate fraud-detection procedures)?

This stuff pumps up the rubes, and Republicans use it as the basis for restrictive laws in the states, but they don't seem to try to sell the voter fraud myth to the broad general public in a serious way. Under these circumstances, would they make a mainstream move with it? And could they get, say, The Washington Post to bite? Could they effectively nullify Obama's reelection that way?

(X-posted at Balloon Juice.)


Ten Bears said...

And nary a word will we hear of the frauds perpetrated in 2000 and 2004 (and possibly 2010).

Betty Cracker said...

I would argue that it's already pretty mainstream, what with the dumb ACORN hearings, etc. I've never seen any polling on the issue, but I bet if you asked the average person on the street if voter fraud was a serious factor in recent elections, a sizable percentage would say yes, and nearly 100% of Republican participants would say yes.

proverbialleadballoon said...

@ ten bears: yup. projection is the batarang of the 'winger utility belt. my favorite version of this is 'obama couldn't order a pizza without a teleprompterrrr' inanity, because w bush couldn't string together more than three beats at a time.

c u n d gulag said...

For Conservatives, “Voter Fraud” is defined as having been committed by anyone not voting for the Republican candidate in any election.

Their ideal voter?
Over 41.
A land/home owner.
A FOX News viewer/Talk Radio listener.
Your income and education levels may vary, but it’s very helpful if you’re as dumb as a fucking post, and as gullible as a hungry trout.

And good on Holder!

Of course, the Conservatives will say, this is what you get when you have a Kenyan Socialist ACORN-loving Muslim as President, and he gets to appoint a Black Panther as his AG!

And if the scenario you describe does happen, OF COURSE the WaPo will jump right in!
Why does anyone think Fred Hiatt was hired in the first place?

The one endless resource on this planet, is the bottomless well of victimization that the Conservatives always feel. And the WaPo will happily stoke those feelings of being victims.

Steve M. said...

I bet if you asked the average person on the street if voter fraud was a serious factor in recent elections, a sizable percentage would say yes, and nearly 100% of Republican participants would say yes.

I agree with the latter. I don't agree with the former. I still think the left and center believe our elections (2000 excepted) are legit.

ploeg said...

Let's consider the possibility that Obama wins 2012 with a relative landslide. After all, in 2008, Obama won with a majority of the popular vote, which no Democrat had done since Carter in 1976, and Obama had a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democrat since Johnson in 1964. Obama also now has the benefits of incumbency, and it seems likely that his opponent will not have the full backing of the entire Republican Party. Certainly the news isn't all encouraging, but it's not as if Obama is assured of going tits up in the general.

So do you think that we'll have to deal with vote fraud allegations in that case? Oh yeah. The GOP has spread the myth that they are a majority of the American people (or at least of real Americans). If they lose, either big or small, it's automatically vote fraud.

Steve M. said...

There'll be some fraud allegations no matter what. I'm just asking whether there'll be a full frontal (and uncoded) declaration of Obama illegitimacy by party leaders, which I think would be beyond even what we've had in the first term.

ploeg said...

You kid, Steve. A Democratic victory is inherently fraudulent to these people. The only question is whether they will have a majority in the House so that they can act on it.

ploeg said...

Just to expand a little bit, it's becoming obvious that the Republicans have shit the bed for a number of people, and that the only way back to power is to suppress turnout and deny any progress or success that can be even slightly attributed to the Democrats.

They were somewhat reluctant to go after Clinton when he got his second term, but they eventually overcame their reluctance. They will have no such trouble with Obama, if and when it comes to that.

Steve M. said...

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble getting this point across. Let me try again.

Of course they think any Democratic victory is illegitimate. And of course they do all kinds of sleazy things to nullify any Democratic victory.

But they've never actually said, "Bill Clinton is not the legally elected president of the United States." Some of the leaders of the party have flirted with saying "Barack Obama is not the legally elected president of the United States," but they've stopped short of saying it, letting back-benchers do it for them,. and/or saying it in code, and then backing down when the birth certificates were accepted by the public as legit.

I'm saying this is (perhaps) going to be an overt, uncoded assertion by party leaders that Barack Obama's election in 2012 will have been fraudulent. No code. No farming the talking point out to backbenchers and talk radio and pundits.

For crissake -- is it really that hard to see how this would be different?

ploeg said...

I understood you the first time, Steve. And as you just said, this is what they believe and they've already laid the groundwork for going further. With some notable exceptions, they haven't even shot down the birthers who claim that Obama wasn't legit the first time around. What's to hold them back from taking the next logical step if they lose in 2012, regardless of whether they lose small or lose large? This is what they've been leading up to, and there's no particular reason for them to stop.

c u n d gulag said...

The answer is "yes," they will.

Depending on the makeup of the House and Senate, and if they think they can do it, they will make shit up, and work like crazy to impeach him.

They think this will also set them up for 2016.

And they still have work to do limiting rights. So, while they're making shit up about Obama, they'll make us some more shit about voter fraud, finding something when nothing is really there.

Remember, these are the people who supposedly follow Christ, yet think Jesus. "The Prince of Peace," would use a fully loaded, extra-large clippe, Glock to eliminate his enemies.