This is election season has been a wild one. After our disaster of a primary here in Arizona (see also the footage of the hearings) and a number of bizarre occurrences and strange patterns in voting data, I started to feel enraged about what was happening. Blatant voter fraud and suppression were (and are) taking place right under our noses. I felt like I was living in an Orwellian world with Hillary as Big Brother.
But after thinking about this in a more cool headed, rational way, I realize that I am not living out a real life 1984. That being said, the way things are in the United States with money in politics and the very real phenomenon of voter fraud/suppression spell out a picture that is similar to 1984, but different in subtle ways and not as extreme.
Yesterday the exit polls (which are accurate to within 1%) reported that Bernie Sanders won by 73%, whereas the actual result shows he won by only 52%. If this was just one state, we might chalk it up to chance, bad polls, or something else. But this is not one state: this exact pattern of contradiction between exit poll and official result far exceeding the margin of error, with the actual result always more favorable to Clinton, describes our entire primary. More disturbing, Arizona poll worker John Brakey testified that he “witnessed a crime,” and video evidence of the blatant apathy about election audit findings that contradict official results. A suspicious package was found in an Arizona recorder’s office, causing an evacuation that meant the staff was “unable to answer questions about voting eligibility, polling locations and other voting-related issues.” “A polling place in South Bend, Indiana was shut down for a little over an hour during the morning rush after police received a call about a suicidal individual nearby.”
What explains this? I was paging through Wall Street Journalist John Fund’s book Stealing Elections on Google Books last night, and he seems to think that Election Fraud happens when elected people at the state and local levels have a vested interest in how an election turns out. These vested interests can drive politicians to commit voter fraud and to pass laws disenfranchising groups of people that statistically do not tend to vote for them or their party. This is important, because we know that Democratic parties in various states have got a kickback from the Hillary Victory fund, creating a financial relationship between Hillary and State Reps that probably explains why so many superdelegates (who often are state reps) have overwhelmingly lined up behind Hillary Clinton.
Instead of Hillary Clinton playing the role of Big Brother and orchestrating a show election, there are lots of individual actors pursing their own selfish interests to the same end (Clinton’s election), and sometimes even employing immoral or questionable tactics to get what they want. That doesn’t 100% ‘rig the system’ against Sanders, but it does stack the deck against him big time.
So don’t feel like you live in an Orwellian world, but don’t be complacent about the massive injustice going on, either. Every protest, every phone call or letter to an elected official, makes a difference. It already has: Democracy Spring’s protest led to Congress discussing new voting legislation. And we need to keep ourselves ‘up in arms’ (so to speak) for a long time to come: A Harvard / University of Sydney study showed that elections in the United States rank 49th out of 49 countries studied!
So let’s work together and fix the broken system we have. I think Bernie’s “crowd-funding” is a good model for how candidates and political parties should be funded. It’s feasible: if 20 million democrats gave a dollar a month to the democratic party, that would raise $240 million right there. It would also effectively be a way to marry the selfish interests of the politicians to the interests of the people. With crowd-funding, no politician would be even slightly influenced by Big Money. That’s what we need to get done, and I still see some value in #BernieorBust, because the second Clinton would probably be much like the first: would promise campaign reform and a lot of other things, which would never get done, and that’s a cycle we democrats need to break once and for good.