By Stephen Lendman
THEY ARE COMMONPLACE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, at times through what Edward Herman calls “Demonstration Elections,” the title of his 1980 book on sham ones in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam. They also occur regularly in countries like Egypt, where for the past 20 years president Hosni Mubarak has gotten around 98% of the vote when he runs. Sadam’s Iraq, much of the Middle East, and elsewhere work the same way, holding mock elections pretending to be real, while in the West, especially America, real elections are, in fact, mock ones.
[print_link] Of course, elections held in occupied countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, install puppet regimes, not legitimate ones, both countries run from Washington, not Baghdad or Kabul.
America’s history is rife with electoral fraud, in 1824 for example, the one called the “Corrupt Bargain.” Four major candidates were involved, all from the same Democratic-Republican party, today’s Democrats who are also Republicans who are also Democrats in our one-party state with two wings – plus the lunatic fringe Tea Party offshoot likely to send extremist morons to Congress, joining legions of others already there.
When all 1824 votes were tallied, no winner emerged, so under the 12th Amendment, it fell to the House to decide from the top three. On February 9, 1825, after a month of furious lobbying, members chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson (later elected president in 1828 and again in 1832), Henry Clay and William Crawford. Outrage followed because deal-makers prevailed over voters. It showed up when Adams nominated Clay as Secretary of State, infuriating Jackson supporters. Thereafter, Clay was dogged for striking a corrupt bargain, depriving Jackson, the highest vote getter of the four.
The 1876 election was even worse because Democrat Samuel Tilden got today’s equivalent of over two million more votes than Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, and with 20 disputed Electoral College votes uncounted led by 184 – 165. Yet a secretly struck “bargain of 1877” to abandon Reconstruction and sell out freed Blacks handed the election to Hayes.
Another example was Lyndon Johnson’s 1948 senatorial primary win – until the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the most blatant example of electoral theft in US history, according to some observers. Historian Robert Caro is one, documenting how Johnson miraculously overcame a 20,000 vote deficit to gain an 87 vote victory. According to Caro, it wasn’t “the only election….ever stolen, but there was never such brazen thievery,” and as they say, the rest is history.
With today’s modern technology, electoral fraud is easier than ever, Stephen Spoonamore, a leading cyber crime expert explaining how the “structures” of Diebold and other electronic voting machines are inherently flawed. As a result, “There is a very strong argument” that the 2000 and 2004 elections were “electronically stolen, the hanging chads were just a distraction.” Diebold machines especially “are brilliantly designed (to) steal elections,” so losers are declared winners, and not just for president.
Clear evidence shows the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, the Supreme Court initially complicit by halting the Florida recount on spurious grounds, and handing the election to Bush. Months later, when it was too late to matter, the final tally showed Gore carried Florida and the election.
The 2004 election was worse because technology stole it with electronic ease. Again Florida and Ohio made the difference, depriving winner Kerry of the presidency. In both elections, media reports produced a daily flow of disinformation masquerading as real news, hailing the illegitimate winner when final results were announced, few knowing at the time they’d been scammed.
The 2008 election mirrored 1976, a year Carter was picked to win, Ford to lose, for a one-term post-Nixon interregnum before Republicans regained command. After eight years under Bush, a planned change of pace anointed Obama. The McCain/Palin ticket was absurd. Discord rankled Republican ranks. Many party faithful despised McCain because of his temperament, unpredictability, legendary temper, and genius for making enemies. As for Palin, AP said she knew more about fishing than world and national affairs. Others called her an extremist, bigoted moron. In combination, they cinched an easy Obama win, decided, in fact, before voters went to the polls
American democracy is pure fantasy, elections and their run-up mere kabuki theater, political consultants, PR wizards, and the major media sharing lead roles. Everything is pre-scripted. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process. Party bosses choose candidates. Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined, and cheated voters get the best democracy money can buy.
Much of this surprises few, at least those thoughtful enough to understand realpolitic’s darker side. What may surprise is another kind of electoral fraud, taking place in condominium board elections, at least in Chicago, a city known for corrupt politics since the 19th century.
Endemic in more recent times, it’s because lax Illinois campaign finance laws allow it. State residents say it’s just the way it is, and since 1972 alone, three governors (besides Blagojevich), state legislators, two congressmen, 19 Cook County judges, 30 aldermen, and many others were convicted of corruption.
Since 1970, in fact, around 1,000 public officials and complicit businessmen were caught and convicted, proving former Chicago alderman Paddy Bauler right when he said, “Chicago ain’t ready for reform.” Over time, only its form, methods, and stakes have changed under a one-party system run by Democrats governing like Republicans.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.