Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Are Republicans All Sore Losers?

The question isn’t rhetorical and isn’t meant to be simply partisan, but a disturbing pattern is emerging.  Observe:

2000: U.S. Presidential election.  VP Al Gore has won the popular vote, but things are too close to call in FL and the electoral college will  be decided there in this close election. An early network calls it for Gore, but has to back off because it is clear that Bush is gaining.  Later Fox News calls FL for Bush, but the Associated Press never calls the election for anyone. It became clear that a recount was in order, but Bush sent lawyers to challenge everything and bused in fake “protesters” at the recount to intimidate canvassers, etc. Eventually, he sued in the U.S. Supreme Court to have the count stopped and him declared the winner.

2001: GOP controlled Congress passes the “Helping America Vote” act which creates touch-screen computer voting machines with NO PAPER TRAIL for recounts; machines which computer experts show can be easily hacked to give a different result than the actual voting.  Only after many mistrials with these machines in 2002 and 2004, do most states insist on paper trails.

2004:  Another close Presidential race that will all come down to one state, this time OH.  There were many shenanigans including removing voting machines in poorer neighborhoods, running out of ballots, closing polls early, always in Democratic districts.  Rather than go through a repeat of 2000, however, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) simply concedes defeat, although it is not clear who really won OH.

2004 b: In the Washington state Gov.’s race, there is a virtual tie between Christine Gregoire (D) and Dennis Rossi (R).  After both a machine and hand recount, Gregoire is declared narrowly to be the winner. Rossi sues in local court and then appeals to the WA state Supreme Court to try to get this reversed.  Gregoire is only seated as Governor after several months. (Rossi immediately planned a comeback in ’08, but Gregoire won more decisively then–although still narrowly, it was outside the need for a recount.)

2008: When it becomes clear that Sen. Barack Obama(D-IL) is likely to beat Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) decisively for the presidency, Republicans claim that the community organization ACORN is “stealing the election” by means of a voter registration fraud. (ACORN registered over 1 million voters, but Obama won by 9.2 million votes.) They attempt to interfere in the elections of several swing states.

2008b: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who won his seat in 2002 by beating a dead man (barely), the late liberal champion Paul Wellstone (D-MN), is in a statistical tie with challenger Al Franken (D-MN)–which will automatically trigger a recount according to MN law. Coleman calls on Franken to concede and declares himself the winner.  After 2 recounts, Franken is ahead by 225 votes. Coleman sues and the result is Franken is declared the winner by 312 votes. Coleman plans to appeal.

2009: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was nominated by Pres. Obama to become Secretary of State.  Gov. Patterson (D-NY) appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY-20) to fulfill her term until a special election is held in 2010. So, a special election must be held to replace Rep. Gillibrand.  Even though the NY 20th is a very Republican-leaning district and State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-NY), the GOP nominee, is the NY Sen. Minority Leader who starts out the race with a 21 point advantage, we once again have a virtual tie.  Everything will be decided by absentee ballots.  With Murphy (D) ahead by 178 votes and the only remaining votes left coming from areas that lean more Democratic, Tedisco yesterday ran to court and asked to have the ballot counting stopped and himself declared the winner–even though he is 178 votes behind! UPDATE: NY state has no recount law.  After the absentee ballots were in, the machine and paper ballots were counted thoroughly.  Final result: Patrick Murphy(D)  is ahead of Jim Tedisco (R) by 273 points.  All that’s left are the 1,300 challenged ballots (most challenged by Tedisco) and most in counties that favored Murphy.  So, it is mathematically impossible  for Tedisco to win. He lost in a close race despite the fact that NY 20 has 70,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats and Tedisco began with better name recognition and a 21 pt. lead and RNC Chair Michael Steele put his rep. on the line saying that a Tedisco win would be proof that Republicans are making a comeback and Obama and the Dems are on the way out.  But still, here’s Tedisco insisting that the court declare him the winner while  he’s 273 points behind!

See the pattern? If you beat Republicans decisively like Obama did, you must have stolen the election.  If it is close, Republicans rush to the courts (seeking conservative, Republican judges) to have the will of the people overturned or to have ballot counting stopped so that the will of the people is not known.  (Karl Rove was the master of this use of the courts. Long before he helped G.W. Bush get “elected” in 2000, he prevented a Democrat in a close election in court for 11 months [!] before a conservative judge ruled for a Republican that was nearly 500 votes behind!) That’s not to mention the standard Republican tactic of voter suppression, gerrymandered districts, purging voter rolls (Oh, your name is only similar to a convicted felon? So sorry. Maybe you can vote next time!), robocalls giving false information about where to turn out, etc.

So, if the Republican wins, that’s democracy. If the Democrat wins, there must have been a mistake or a crime, so we must use whatever means necessary to overturn the results because Republicans are the natural rulers and must not be thwarted by the inconvenience of more people voting for their opponents?

Please, tell me these are flukes and not a pattern of absolute Republican subversion of American democracy!  In the words of Rachel Maddow, “I need a talking down.”

April 17, 2009 - Posted by | democracy, elections, U.S. politics


  1. Is there one too many “All”‘s in the title?

    Is this indicative of a pattern?

    Comment by Chuck | April 17, 2009

  2. Good catch, Chuck. Thank-you, I’ve corrected it.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 17, 2009

  3. You’re quite welcome.

    Comment by Chuck | April 17, 2009

  4. http://cushawnb2009.wordpress.com
    I think something you need to realize is that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are beginning to blend together and become almost identical. A lot of people are leaving the Republican Party, but not joining the Democrats. Instead becoming Independent. I personally was a diehard Republican all my life, until recently. George W. Bush became a fiscal socialist. John McCain was a poor candidate with no real foundation. I am now a Libertarian, and I STRONGLY oppose Barack Obama as President. Yet I suspect I would have done the same with McCain. There will come a time soon when a third party will rise to power because the R’s and the D’s are utter failures. Obama, Biden and Pelosi are insane.

    Comment by Shawn Lessard | April 18, 2009

  5. Shawn, you are only partly right. Many people ARE leaving the Republican party for the Independents. But the Democratic Party is growing faster than both. The Republicans are only 25% of registered voters now and shrinking. They are the 3rd in line behind Democrats and Independents.

    I have a love/hate relationship with Libertarians, friend. 🙂 I mostly agree with ya’ll on issues of civil liberties. And, if most Libertarians agree with Ron Paul on closing all those foreign military bases, I’m with you there–though I think we have to phase this back. But I find Libertarians to be so wrongheaded on economics that they may John McCain and Phil Gramm seem brilliant.

    But I agree with you that we may get a strong third or even fourth party. If the GOP self-destructs, the Libertarians may rise up or the Democrats may split. Or we may see coalitions with the Greens on the Left luring away progressive Democrats like me and Libertarians on the right luring fiscal ConservaDems. There are many possibilities.

    I like having Libertarians on my side about same-sex marriage, drug policy (although most of you go FARTHER there than I can), prison reform, free speech, ending domestic spying, cutting the military budget, etc. But I know I’ll have to fight libertarians on economic justice matters.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 19, 2009

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