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Hullabaloo


Thursday, November 01, 2012

 
Destabilizing the fundamental mechanism of democracy

by digby

Boy, I sure am hearing a lot of complacency among liberals right now about the awesome superiority of the Obama GOTV operation and the lousy GOP effort by comparison. That may be true, although there's some reason to believe that the right has organized pretty well outside the presidential campaign.

But this sort of thing is designed to delay voting for legitimate voters in the hope that it will create chaos at the polls and force people to give up.  If it's close it will serve as fodder for their predictable claim that the vote was stolen and/or to contest the results:
A new ThinkProgress investigation has found that in Iowa, Romney poll watchers are being trained to watch for voters who show up without a photo ID, even though no voter ID law exists in the state.

In a training video for Romney poll watchers in Iowa, the narrator tells volunteers to be on the lookout for anytime “a voter fails to show a voter ID and they are still permitted to vote.” If that happens, he says, “alert the legal team so they can handle the problem.” The text of the campaign’s slide, however, says something contradictory, instructing volunteers when poll workers should check the voter’s ID. Despite the mixed messages, the slide ends with: “If an election worker is not checking photo ID, please call the legal hotline immediately.”
NARRATOR: Naturally, you’re probably wondering what irregularities may come up throughout the day. We’ll walk you through some quick examples. First, there may be an instance where a voter fails to show a voter ID and they are still permitted to vote. If you notice this, use the legal help button to alert the legal team so they can handle the problem and you can get back to checking voters.
This video is part of Romney’s massive nationwide poll-watcher effort on Election Day. The campaign is training 34,000 volunteers to fan out in swing states across the country and monitor for voter fraud. Romney personally touted Project ORCA in a video released Wednesday evening, telling poll watchers that they’ll “be the key link in providing critical, real-time information to me.” Because of the program, Romney said, “our campaign will have an unprecedented advantage on Election Day.”
The "critical, real-time information" is unlikely to be about which Grandmas haven't been taken to the polls yet, I'm afraid. They are looking for ways to gum up the works and create a voter fraud narrative.

The Republican Party had convinced itself that the Reagan election ushered in a thousand year reign and that Democrats simply could never win again.  When that proved to be false in the 90s they started this scheme to destabilize and delegitimize the people's choice --- the most fundamental mechanism of our democracy.  First they tried to force Clinton to resign from office through a series of trumped up scandals and then impeached him for a personal indiscretion. The following years brought the debacle of the 2000 election, unprecedented gerrymandering in out years, the politicization of the Department of Justice voting rights division, the firing of Attorneys General who refused to interfere in elections and prosecute bogus voter fraud issues, the institutionalization of "voter ID", and now this. Another close presidential election will further put their plans to the test.

One can only hope that the Democrats are prepared for how the nation will react in an era of extreme polarization. After all, if Republicans already believe that President Obama is a hardcore socialist muslim backed by the powerful vote-stealing Black Panthers so it's fairly sure that they will see any contested election in that light.  And the rest of use will see this plan at work and be gaslighted by the press and the political establishment just as we were last time. The fact is that the system has already been successfully destabilized. On purpose.  By the right. And I'm not sure how we fix it.

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