Will the 2016 Election be Rigged?
Through the whole 2016 election cycle, I think the allegations of vote rigging in this election cycle are the most dangerous. Now saying “the system is rigged” is so broad that it can really mean anything.
Here’s where that’s right: how many people really control most of the wealth in this country? They probably number 10-20 thousand. They mostly work in high finance, and Donald Trump and his economic team are perfect representatives. But included in this number are political elites like Paul Ryan, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton too. Now these people don’t actually buy influence directly. But when you’re rubbing elbows at golf courses and insanely exclusive restaurants with someone who has had a history of donating to your campaign, you’re probably going to listen to what they have to say.
Look at it this way: if you lived in a small town of 10,000 people, how often do you see and interact with your neighbors? How many people do you see regularly? There’s the great problem with our political system that can’t be legislated away. The people who hold the most political, social, and economic power basically live in their own insular community connected by helicopters and jets.
But here we have Donald Trump talk about things like rigging elections. To be clear, he’s not talking about systemic problems like how the Electoral College effectively disenfranchises millions of Americans. He’s talking about actual schemes to stuff ballot boxes.
Let’s talk for a minute about conspiracies. It’s really hard to keep something secret. America was losing the Vietnam War, and America found out. The NSA was spying on Americans, and America found out. Hell look at the DNC emails, anything committed to text these days will almost assuredly be seen by someone who wasn’t supposed to be reading them.
You know how I know that 9/11 wasn’t an “inside job”? Because out of the hundreds of people who would be required to perpetrate it, someone would have talked. We live in a world where a hotel security guard noticing duct tape holding a door open can topple a Presidency. And if the Bush Administration were really so Machiavellian that they killed thousands of Americans, planting some chemical rockets and fabricating fissile materials in a bunker in the desert would have been child’s play by comparison.
So what would it take to rig an election?
Well, elections aren’t run by the Federal Government. They’re run by the Secretary of States of their respective States. So let’s look at the two people running these departments in the most critical swing states, Florida and Ohio. Ken Detzner is responsible for elections in Florida. Lifelong Republican. Jon Husted is responsible for elections in Florida. He is also a lifelong Republican. So in order for Hillary Clinton to stuff ballot boxes or reprogram voting machines in these states, she would have to co-opt these two men, or the people they have appointed.
But what about Voter Fraud? At the rally where Trump intimated that assassination is a viable political option, he also intimated that people would be voting a dozen times for Clinton. Well, how does one recruit mass amounts of people to do this? After all, Voter Fraud is a serious crime that carries with it a 5 year sentence. It’s fairly easy to detect, because people coming to vote would be bound to notice that someone else had signed next to their name when casting their ballot. Do you advertise on Linkedin or something? “$100 to cast a dozen votes, possibility of 5 years in prison and we will deny you exist.” Is that how it works?
It’s clear that electoral shenanigans tend to be very easy to detect. And what reporter wouldn’t want that shiny Pulitzer in breaking the story?
So I’m going to say that what Donald Trump has been repeatedly asserting–that his inevitable loss will be due to a stolen election instead of his own ineptitude–may prove to be the most damaging thing he’s done during this campaign.
Oh, our electoral history has been replete with misconduct, and the Electoral College and First Past the Post system is in ripe need of abolition. But the notion that the Democratic Party currently has the power to tamper with the current Presidential election is ludicrous.
But this is going to be a significant problem in 2017, when the Republican base, having been fed raving lies about a stolen election, tell their representatives that Hillary Clinton’s Presidency is illegitimate. Can you imagine the obstructionism of the GOP then?
It is also worth noting that the Republicans I have mentioned above, as well as their colleagues in statehouses across the country, are hard at work purging mostly urban and mostly black voters from the voter rolls. They are working hard to enact voter ID laws which will disproportionately impact lower income voters. In other words, it’s ironic that Donald Trump is claiming a rigged election. Like most of his pronouncements, it’s a remarkable act of projection. Because every Republican seems firmly committed to ruthlessly stabbing the ideals of fair and representative Democracy in the heart.