“Democracy was invented as a device for reconciling government with liberty. It is clear that government is necessary if anything worthy to be called civilization is to exist, but all history shows that any set of men entrusted with power over another set will abuse their power if they can do so with impunity. Democracy is intended to make men’s tenure of power temporary and dependent upon popular approval. Insofar as it achieves this it prevents the worst abuses of power. (Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, 1959)
“No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by group leaders in who it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.” (Edward Bernays (“Father of Modern Advertising”), Propaganda, 1928)
“The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.” Prof. Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966)
Bernays words, that no serious sociologist believes in the voice of the people, neatly sums up the general attitude of our leadership class regarding elections: they are a necessary evil, but in no way should be allowed to influence public policy (as Professor Quigley makes clear). Consequently over the centuries American elections have always been the object of fraud and foul play. The only time the voice of the people is allowed to make a real choice is when the same people in power control both candidates. Then the votes can be counted and a winner legitimately declared. Thus I have no doubt that Nixon beat Humphrey in 1968.
Here is the only thing we need to know about our elections: It is extremely important that we believe in them. Consequently, we are given candidates who run for months out of the year for an office that generally pays less than their quarterly dividend checks. It is all kept high-profile with contentious debates, campaign rallies and stump speeches, intense television coverage, polls and pundits pontificating. All of it is fake.
There does exist down at the county levels in our country a large work force dedicated to registering voters and counting votes. These hundreds of thousands of people are like you and me, sincere and wanting to do a good job. There has never been a serious attempt to corrupt the ordinary people who work elections, all of the nice ladies of League of Women Voters and poll watchers and all of that. It is not necessary. All of that work they do, good and honest and sincere, is easily bypassed.
But it must have been harder in the past than now to steal an election. When I think of famous elections that were stolen – Truman in ’48, Kennedy in ’60, Bush in 2000, the country was still largely voting on paper ballots. Election fraud required mob muscle and stuffed ballot boxes and cemetery voting. Now it can be done automatically, without all the hassle.
Paper ballots are indeed the true depository of the vote, so we really ought to pay more attention to them. We don’t. We store them away and make it illegal to look at them after election night. With good reason. If they were never counted properly, then “recounting” them is a contradiction of terms. It cannot be allowed.
As a consequence over the decades there have been laws passed designed to prevent recounts. After election night itself, when vote counts are at best mere estimates, elections are certified by Secretaries of State, usually after what they call a “canvas” wherein local officials all sign off on the final tally. Such a nuisance!
The 2000 Florida vote count appears at this time to have been a psyop designed to create public demand for a better counting system. It was the impetus behind HAVA, the Help America Vote Act, a law passed in 2002 allegedly to clean up after the 2000 debacle. It mandated that all states use electronic voting machines, surely one of the biggest swindles ever pulled in the history of the republic. Shortly thereafter, exit polling began to detect large deviance in vote count from what it should be, first in Georgia in 2002, and widespread in 2004.* To fix this problem, exit polling was eliminated. It is back now, but under control and so no longer used to expose fraud, merely part of the illusion.
As a younger man, quite naive, I still believed that votes were counted, and was upset that electronic machines were making headway despite their monumental shortcomings. A Montana resident, I wrote to my state representative using my CPA credentials in hopes of gaining confidence. I told him that in any accountable system we would have the following:
- A registration process that assured that all who vote are eligible, and vote only once.
- Paper ballots.
- Safe and secure storage of ballots under lock and key with guards posted.
- Selective auditing of outcomes using statistical sampling techniques and matching paper ballots against machine counts.
- Where there is deviance between paper and machine counts, more intense scrutiny and a more widespread audit.
- If enough deviance found, a total hand recount of all votes cast.
The answer I got was interesting. Essentially it was “nah.” But it was a powerless kind of “nah” in that he knew I was a serious man and had raised serious issues. It was a sigh of resignation, nothing could be done, out of his hands. He was an elected official, but he could do nothing to ensure election integrity.
That’s all water under the bridge, and I have since stopped voting in all contests except local issues where I hope (against hope) that votes are counted for real.
So I observed the 2016 Presidential election with full knowledge that votes would not be counted, that the whole thing would be a TV show and nothing more. When I learned after that there were doubts and challenges to the outcome, I knew they would amount to nothing, but wondered how they would avoid actually counting ballots. Jill Stein, probably an Intel asset on assignment to make the election look real, demanded a recount in three states:
- Wisconsin, where election officials ruled that a recount would be allowed, but only a “machine recount!” (Translation: The very instruments that were used to fake the election would be used to fake the recount.)
- Michigan, where a federal judge ruled that there could be no recount.
- Pennsylvania, where a federal judge ruled that there could be no recount.
That’s pretty heavy-handed, an openly corrupt system held in place by brute force of corrupt judges. In any kind of truly accountable representative system, if such a thing exists, there would be no need to have court challenges about recounts – they would be automatic as outlined above, by a built-in auditing system to assure election transparency.
This is how absurd we have become. But let’s step it back too – the idea that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton rose up from the grassroots to lay claim to high office is also fiction. Our candidates are selected for us years, if not decades prior to any election. No one is elected who is not first selected.
What has changed? While fair elections have always been a crap shoot, they were possible in the old system. That is no longer the case.
*Given the choice between Bush and Kerry, an imbecile and a mole, I lost interest in studying election fraud. It did not appear to matter!