Analysis by Reporting San Diego
June 7, 2016 (San Diego) This year we have seen a pattern of problems during the primary. Partisans believe it was done to benefit one democratic campaign over the other. What matters to us is that it happened. After years of mostly only Republicans doing this, now we are seeing attacks on voting rights by Democrats. This in effect, has normalized it.
We were not the only ones to notice this. According to a Common Cause email here are the issues:
– Last Minute Closure of polling places in Arizona
– Restrictive voter ID Laws in Wisconsin
– Mass voter purgers in Brooklyn, Ohio and Georgia
– An infrastructure that cannot handle large voter turnouts
We will add to this Puerto Rico. The state essentially held two elections. They decided to hold the primary and the state issues election on the same day, with competing precincts. The Party is the one running the primary and due to the incredibly hard economic crisis in the state, they closed precincts from 1,510to to 455. Since they did not have machines, they required observers for both campaigns to be present to witness a manual count. They refused to certify 40 observers from the Bernie Sanders campaign and then tried to blame that campaign for these issues. Never mind it is extremely well documented in the Puerto Rican press.
I guess they assumed that most of cannot read the internet, or a foreign language. Or that we would be just distracted by LOLCats. Wrong. we can, and we did.
All this coincides with the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. None is a coincidence and there is an effort afoot to suppress your vote. This is not an issue that matters only when the other side does it. It matters all the time. So we can now safely assume that when Democrats were up in arms over the fraud in Florida in 2000, or the less loud reaction to Ohio in 2004 was not really heart felt. Should we surmise every time democrats complaint about voter caging, they are not being sincere, since it is not benefiting them? You either care about this all the time, regardless of who benefits, or you don’t.
What we have seen this year though is a classic in an oligarchy. Elections are not really something to fuss much about becuase you and I only get to vote for the approved candidates, best case. Those are the ones that will advance the goals of such oligarchy. Mature oligarchies do hold elections, but they are mostly for show. And they do keep those who could make waves off the voting rolls.
This can make you angry and it should. Some of you may even choose to give money, to organizations like Common Cause, who are not partisans but are watchdogs of the system. They try. The worst thing you can do is curl up into a ball and withdraw from the system altogether. Some of us come from countries where this is normal business can give you advise. We recognize the pattern. For example, what happened in Puerto, or New York could very well have happened in Guanajuato. And by Puerto Rico I mean the not certifying observers. Closing precincts, is kind of way too obvious. People still vote, mostly as a sign of defiance. So continue voting, but you need to keep agitating before and after an election, not around election time.
The danger of these tactics is that they become normalized, and one party has lost any moral advantage it had over the other with this issue. The next step is the one that most oligarchies do not count on. Like the Emperor who has no clothes, they start to lose legitimacy. In some of those other countries, everybody knows it, and nobody believes the results. So words such as “gobierno corrupto,” That be corrupt government also become the norm. It makes it medium to long term that much harder to manufacture consent, to use Noam Chomsky’s words.
The Associated Press call of the primary 12 hours before the precincts opened in New Jersey adding Super Delegates, which they were told by the Democratic Party not to do, is also part of this normalization of voter suppression. It is ugly, it is way too obvious, and it is what you expect in other countries, not in the United States. This was not a rush to beat other media. Yes, we have heard that excuse already. Other media rely on the AP for this one.This was pure, manufacture of consent in an attempt to suppress turnout, so we can add 5 more states to that list. These are, California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.
We have now crossed a point when the United States has lost any moral authority to accuse other countries for having a dirty electoral system. What we saw this primary season is precisely this.
Younger Americans are way ahead of their elders thinking that we have a corrupt system, that cannot truly be trusted. This is also part of the process. That awareness enters the mind, and that radicalizes people. Oligarchies usually seed their own demise with these tactics. They usually think they can beat the odds. This is a historic process, and as youth become more aware, youth tend to not believe anything their government tells them. We are in for some interesting times.