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What really happened in Ohio.
November 21, 2004 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Who Lost Ohio? As more evidence comes in disproving voting fraud in the 2004 Presidential election, perhaps the real lessons for Democrats can be gleaned from this NYT (Reg required, of course) feature on ACT, a Democratic 527. Lavishly funded by George Soros and unions, this high tech organization turned out a record number (2.66 million) of Democratic voters in Ohio, but were out-organized and beaten by a grass-roots Republican effort operating below their radar. [MI]
posted by mojohand (57 comments total)

 
Money quote: "Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers....If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America's industrial centers -- and in its populist heartland as well -- then they would win on math alone. Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. ...turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds. "
posted by mojohand at 10:56 AM on November 21, 2004


I already declare this to be another instance of:

Metafilter: No, you're wrong!
posted by taumeson at 11:07 AM on November 21, 2004


There was almost certainly not any systemic fraud. If there were, it would have showed up in more than just two counties.

Because fraud is only important if it swings the national elections.
posted by rdub at 11:10 AM on November 21, 2004


i hear troutfishing coming... lube up your scroll wheels.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:22 AM on November 21, 2004


Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. It was stupid of me to add the distraction of Kevin's fraud link. Pretend it's not in there, and pretend that just maybe there's possibly something more behind the Democrat's inability to win Presidential elections than Diebold. Then perhaps, the NYT piece may be worth consideration.
posted by mojohand at 11:25 AM on November 21, 2004


From the second link's reference, Andrew Gelman:

A glance at the first graph above makes it clear that the swings-toward-Bush-that-don't-fit-the-general-pattern-in-the-state are a feature just of Broward and Palm Beach counties--not of all the e-voting counties. If you remove the two big red circles from the left of the plot, there doesn't seem to be much going on.

Funny, if you remove Florida and Ohio, there doesn't seem to be too much going on either. Again, if you were going to cheat, would you cheat everywhere possible, or just enough to get by?

That said, I think Republicans won this national election through superior numbers / voter mobilization. Despite this fact, I'm pretty certain that there were irregularities and even fraud, just like there have always been.
posted by rdub at 11:27 AM on November 21, 2004


Poor Republicans, trying so hard to use statistical analysis and other tricky math to prove that Diebold didn't steal Ohio and/or Florida. Wouldn't this be so much easier if you just recounted all the votes by hand?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:27 AM on November 21, 2004


There was almost certainly not any systemic fraud.

1. The war and the reasons given for initiating it.
2. The notion that men and women marrying those they love is a "threat" to marriage requiring Constitutional protection.
3. The GOP-funded effort to undermine Kerry's honorable war record.
4. The dismissal of science in such matters as global warming and AIDS education.
5. The...

Oh, sorry, I forgot we were just talking about "systemic fraud" on Election Day.

Of course, if African Americans have to wait five hours to vote because the official in charge of allocating voting machines to districts also runs the local Bush-Cheney campaign....

Oh sorry, I forgot that this was all about Kerry's inability to transcend the flip-flopper label.
posted by digaman at 11:31 AM on November 21, 2004


Republican voters in Buttfuck, Ohio pop. 2500 didn't have to wait in line for 8 hours and had properly working voting machines.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:31 AM on November 21, 2004


.. or what digaman said.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:32 AM on November 21, 2004


My apologies to Matt and anyone else who cares. I truly thought (and think) the the Matt Bai feature was thought-provoking and worth reading by those who don't see the NYT Mag.

But I buggered up the FPP, and now we're off to the races. Again, I'm really sorry. Please kill this thing before it grows.
posted by mojohand at 11:38 AM on November 21, 2004


mojohand: pretend that just maybe there's possibly something more behind the Democrat's inability to win Presidential elections than Diebold.

I agree with you 100%. I suspect we may differ in our political opinions, but, I also have the suspicion that even if Diebold played a hand in this election, I think the Democrats blew it. I've liked your old FPPs, and the NYT article was a good link.

That said, I suspect that when a gold medal winner in a footrace gets disqualified for cheating, the fact that he probably would have won without the doping (based perhaps on statistical analysis of his performance in previous races) doesn't count for much. We wouldn't be telling the second place guy - "get past the fact he was cheating, you really didn't do well enough to beat him if anyway."

If a student gets caught cheating, he's usually flunked - even if he'd have an A mark without that assignment.
posted by rdub at 11:41 AM on November 21, 2004


What's most amazing is that Ralph Reed was giving interviews all throughout the summer telling anyone who'd listen that the Democrats weren't using their 527s right, and the Republicans were. He said that it made more sense to have voter mobilization be monopolized by the official organization (the national campaign and the state parties) while the 527s went on the air with targetted ads, and the Democrats were making a big mistake by allowing their voter mobilization to be handled on a disorganized and a la carte basis by the 527s.
posted by MattD at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2004


Yes, MattD, but doesn't all the "advice" that Republican pundits give the Democrats boil down to the self-serving "you can't beat us because you're not like us"? I would always take that kind of "here's why you're losing to us" talk as more likely "here's how you can lose to us even worse", especially from the political Decepticons of the GOP.
posted by wendell at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2004


Dave Neiwert posted on the Democratic party's rural problem last week. As a foreigner i stil have trouble believing that the situation can really be that bad, but if it is, and rural dwellers continue to vote against their own best interests.. well.. wow.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:16 PM on November 21, 2004


[ Resources - Wikipedia, 2004 Election Controversy, Wikipedia, 2004 Election, Evidence of Electoral Fraud - A Reading list]



"Above are maps of electronic voting machine incidents reported to the EIRS. On the left are county maps of Florida and Ohio, showing the Democratic-voting counties in
shades of blue proportional to the population, and on the right are maps with the machine incidents in yellow, orange, and red. Electronic voting machines were primarily placed in Democratic counties. In Democratic counties in Ohio with voting machine problems, there were, on avg., over 8 times as many machine problem reports per voter than there were in other counties." ( Wikipedia, 2004 Election Controversy )



"here are bar graphs indicating the differentials between Exit Polls and Machine Tallies for nine e-voting and paper ballot states. The discrepancies appear to affect the e-voting states to a significantly greater degree than they affect the Paper Ballot states." ( Wikipedia, "2004 Election Controversy" )

..................................

"After the 2004 U.S. presidential election there were allegations of data irregularities and systematic flaws which may have affected the outcome of both the presidential and local elections. Unofficial results currently indicate a George W. Bush victory over John Kerry. Allegations range from significant exit poll and other data irregularities potentially characteristic of fraud, to complaints voting was not conducted equally for all citizens, for example, uneven voting machine distribution which might lead to long voting lines and disenfranchisement." ( from Wikipedia, "2004 U.S. presidential election controversy" )
posted by troutfishing at 12:20 PM on November 21, 2004


I truly thought (and think) the...

i have a cousin in nigeria who wants to talk to you. looks like a good business deal. email's in the profile.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:30 PM on November 21, 2004


"......in Florida: "the total estimated excess votes in favor of Bush associated with Electronic Voting...is 130,733." - Also, Kevin Drum either misrepresents or mischaracterizes the size of the possible vote skewing from the Berkeley study.

The Berkeley study expressed two possibilities - if those 130,000+ votes were just conjured out of thin air, then Bush would still retain a healthy lead. BUT...... if those votes had been mislabelled Kerry Votes, then Bush's 300,000 vote lead in Florida begins to get pretty slender.

I don't think Drum is stpud, so I have to assume he's disengenuous
posted by troutfishing at 12:34 PM on November 21, 2004


Exit polls, pre-"adjustment", diverged wildy from recorded vote totals in a number of especially important states. Warren Mitsoky is the guy whose firm - with an army of AP stringers - did the exit polling. Mitofsky acknowledges the "anomaly" of the exit poll skewing 1.9% more towards Kerry than the recorded vote totals, but his proferred explanation - "voter non-response bias" breaks down (see below)

Mitofsky's given explanation, in his "exclusive" interview with "mayflowerhill" is dubious at best and is even, at worst, disengenuous, and his discounting of touch screen vote rigging ( and failure to even mention optical scan and central tabulating computer vote rigging as possibilities ) betrays an ignorance of research that's been done on possible vote rigging mechanisms and on demonstrating massive security breeches in E-voting systems.

In some states, early exit polls sync up fairly well with final vote counts. But, in a number of key, "battleground" states, those early exit polls did NOT sync up especially well with final vote counts.

Please be clear on this....

Mitosfky acknowledges an AVERAGE 1.9% discrepancy in the National Election Pool data from recorded ("actual") vote results ( The NEP exit polling showed a 1.9% greater lean towards Kerry than the vote counts. )

But - note - that's an AVERAGE of 1.9% : the average is not the issue though. In some states, the exit polling synced up fairly well with actual vote counts. In other states - the important ones - exit polling diverged quite widely ( from vote counts ).

Mr. Mitofsky's tentative explanation for the AVERAGE divergence of 1.9% is "non-response bias". Well, maybe.... except that the average deviation is not really what is at issue. Now - I don't have the professional credentials to assess this, but the "non response bias" hypothesis would have to also posit that the "non response" effect varied dramatically from state to state. This strains my credulity. I can accept the possible validity of "non response bias", but to ALSO propose that the effect was greater in states which were crucial battleground states is...... ummmm.....

Dubious, to say the least.

Leaving aside the issue of who is actually DOING the exit polling, except to note one that the NEP has shown considerable bias in the past, as reported by the Washington Post * , I've yet to see an explanation which explains why exit polling - which is considered by UN election observers to be generally accurate ( assuming that those doing the polling are not trying to skew the results and except in the cases of nations which have undergone or are undergoing political destabilization ) - is so wildly inaccurate when applied to American voters that it produces results that diverge by as much as 5-7 percentage points from recorded vote counts.

The early exit polls - which seemed to show a broad Kerry sweep ( or at the very least, a close tie between Kerry and Bush with Kerry taking a majority of electoral votes ) - were "adjusted" to sync up with actual recorded vote counts. Meanwhile, the "unadjusted" exit poll results have not been released.

Why not ?

Do the laws of physics operate differently on US soil ? Is the behavior of America voters so singularly different from that of voters anywhere else in the World that is like that of a different species, "Homo Sapiens Sapiens Americanus Democraticus" ?

That strains my credulity, as do explanations offered up to discount this anomaly -( "voter response bias" - see my analysis above ) American voters lie to exit pollers, we are told....... but not nearly so much elsewhere around the Globe or - at least - never anywhere or in recent history at a scale such that it would have caught the notice of statisticians and elections monitoring professionals.

Americans we are also told, lie and refuse to talk to pollsters selectively - on a state-by-state basis, in accordance with the re-election needs of George W. Bush

We are, in effect, told here that Americans constitute - in keeping with recent unilateralist US government foreign policies and actions - a law unto themselves, a special type of "faith based" electoral reality in which the usual metrics - that seem to work just fine for all other Democracies around the globe - simply do not apply on American soil.

Welcome to your new "faith based" Democracy.

Meanwhile.,.....

".....this fraud fight strikes me a lot like fans--not even the coach--demanding the refs reverse a single call on the instant replay when the team lost by three touchdowns anyway." -

Such arguments beg the question.

The question - in this case - amounts to this : because of widespread election "irregularitiies" (see below ) and for pervasive partisan political influence over the machinery of the US electoral process, reasonable people DO have grounds for questioning the veracity of the official vote totals.

Partisan influence over the voting process extends even to the actual electronic voting equipment used in the voting process and central vote tabulating computers - which have been roundly criticized by computer security experts as easily hackable, at a number of levels. Diebold is capable of producing electronic banking and ATM equipment which allow for an audit process : not so with electronic voting equipment.

Were 2004 vote counts hacked ? - paper trails are, in many cases, lacking. We have no way of conducting an actual overall audit and, until the level of accountability applied to routine ATM transactions is applied to the US electoral process, a wide sector of the American public will continue to harbor doubts that their votes mattered and were counted.

BUT.....setting that issue completely aside, the 2004 election was marred by widespread "irregularities" which had nothing to do with computer vote-rigging :

1) "Voter supression" seems to have occured on a broad scale and by a wide variety of methods.

2) The discounting of "spoiled" ballots - in key contested areas using paper ballots - was extremely high in minority areas.

Even without "anomalies", the aforementioned factors constitute a type of de-facto election rigging which, if those occured in elections anywhere else on earth, would be likely be considered by UN election observers as invalidating those elections - quite irregardless of other types of manipulation of the election results.

Americans are now living in a Democracy which has standards for electoral integrity that are lower than most third world countries.

That's not good enough.

* ( full story : http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/nation/columns/kurtzhoward/ ) "Are the media biased against Howard Dean? Those who think so are getting some new ammunition today. The New Hampshire exit poll that the major networks are using today asks mostly straightforward questions: Are you male or female; white, black or Hispanic; liberal, moderate or conservative? Who did you vote for? When did you decide? Did you pick your candidate because you think he can defeat George Bush or because he agrees with you on the major issues? But on one of the two questionnaires being used, there's this zinger: "Regardless of how you voted today, do you think Howard Dean has the temperament to serve effectively as president?" That, of course, raises the possibility that he might not, and the results could be cited endlessly in the primary coverage. No other question asks for voters' views on Kerry, Edwards, Clark or any other candidate. Dean spokesman Jay Carson calls it "the do-you-think-he's-a-bad-guy question. It certainly seems a little bizarre."
The survey was drawn up by the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP."
posted by troutfishing at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2004


How anyone can rule out the possibility of fraud in the face of so much doubt especially when everyone was predicting this exact scenario for years, or insist that it's moot because the differential is less than the margin of victory, is beyond me. We need more and more challenges like Nader's, and they ain't coming from the DFL. Thanks troutfishing for not letting the question die here (and good call Krrrlson!) . I think I have some reading to do.
posted by ism at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2004


Firsthand accounts of voter suppression in 2004 Ohio Presidential Election

What Really Happened in Ohio : an analysis in how a lack of voting machines in Democratic areas woulds throw the election in Ohio to Bush.

And, here's an actual look into how voting machines were apportioned in Franklin County, Ohio : areas with heavy Kerry support were starved of voting machines. This absurdly obvious method of vote-suppression may have been the key factor throwing the election in Ohio to Bush - all the Bush votes got through in Republican areas because polling places there had plenty of voting machines, but votes in Kerry-heavy areas were monkeywrenched by too few voting machines compared to voters. This resulted in machine breakdown, and in absurdly long lines - with 6 and 7 hour waits, in some cases, which led many discouraged voters to give up and go home.
posted by troutfishing at 1:23 PM on November 21, 2004


i hear troutfishing coming... lube up your scroll wheels.

Wow, Krrlson, your sole contribution to this thread was to tell people in advance not to read someone else's comment. Given your apparent unhealthy obsession with troutfishing, perhaps you've already had enough fun with lube for one afternoon.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:25 PM on November 21, 2004


Golly, thanks. I am now clinically incapable of feeling shock.
posted by majick at 1:35 PM on November 21, 2004


Hey now... watch it with those numbers. The ballets have not been counted and a vote has not been cast. The greens/libertarians need another 1500 observers (in addition to the 600 they already have) to conduct the Ohio recount that should start 12/6. The electoral vote doesn't happen until 12/13. The effort to "count all votes" is far from dead. I have been going to FUGW.org and watching the progress. Hey, politics is no longer a spectator sport and Katherine Blackwell is gona have to smile for the camera a lot this time around.... Now why is this not big news on the TV?
posted by 0of1 at 1:48 PM on November 21, 2004


Wow, Krrlson, your sole contribution to this thread was to tell people in advance not to read someone else's comment.

Normally I would assume that the person who posted the aforementioned had enough brains to realize I was facetiously referring to troutfishing's penchant to post huge comments on election fraud, rather than the validity of his argument. In your case, however, I will gladly make an exception. That's good news for you, because otherwise it would mean you were being disingenuous.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:00 PM on November 21, 2004


Americans are now living in a Democracy which has standards for electoral integrity that are lower than most third world countries.

Do you have evidence to back up this opinion?

Of course you don't.
posted by oaf at 2:23 PM on November 21, 2004


Maybe it was just my stupidity in throwing gasoline onto the voting fraud issue, but I'm still struck by how few of you want to engage with the ideas in Matt Bai's article. The Democrats described were as energized, organized and well funded as they could ever hope to be. And yet if you don't want to believe they were defeated, you'll at least have to acknowledge they were matched by a grass-roots (albeit supported by the national GOP) effort by Ohio voters the Democrats were so utterly out of touch with they had no idea these voters existed, let alone were so well organized.

As someone who wants to see a fully competitive Democratic Party, this unwillingness to deal with unpleasant facts is deeply discouraging. I hope it's just the wounds are to fresh.
posted by mojohand at 2:41 PM on November 21, 2004


Whoops. The "unwillingness to deal with unpleasant facts" was meant to mean here at MeFi, not the Ohio ACT people, who appear to be grown ups.
posted by mojohand at 2:45 PM on November 21, 2004


Mojohand - I totally agree, but am no longer surprised by most of the cognitive dissonance around here, especially when it involves the letters G, W and B.
posted by loquax at 3:02 PM on November 21, 2004


oaf - why yes, now that you ask (it's a reasonable question).

See The Institute For Democracy and Electoral Assistance, which has developed a series of guidelines for elections - many of which the recent 2004 US election would not have been in compliance with.

Also see : Code of Conduct for the Ethical and Professional Administration of Elections

A quick read ( and there are a number of pdf docs. I haven't looked at on the IDEA website ) suggests that the US 2004 election failed IDEA guidelines across a wide spectrum of requirements.
posted by troutfishing at 3:07 PM on November 21, 2004


The ballets have not been counted

Start here.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:31 PM on November 21, 2004


mojohand, advice to democrats telling them to be more like republicans isn't worth paying attention to.

If 4 million evangelical hate-mongers can mean the entire world to Karl Rove perhaps playing the 'energize the base' game is the way to go. People's opinions are easier to change then they might think, but you have to do it without them noticing. Just like they didn't notice the utter stupidity of Limbaugh as background noise, and can't now explain why they are pretty sure that Saddam Hussein had sometihng to do with the WTC attacks.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:18 PM on November 21, 2004


Normally I would assume that the person who posted the aforementioned had enough brains to realize I was facetiously referring to troutfishing's penchant to post huge comments on election fraud, rather than the validity of his argument.

Because in no way would your own prior form indicate otherwise.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:43 PM on November 21, 2004


We've had several posts talking about voter fraud. This one try's to find other reasons the democrats lost ohio.

Why is it so hard to separate the two? Even if you say there was fraud, if the democrats do as well as the metafilter poll predicted, as the kerry camp thought they would, the numbers wouldn't make a difference. But instead of taking the post and agreeing or disagreeing, it's turned into an opportunity to push the fraud angle again.

Poor Republicans, trying so hard to use statistical analysis and other tricky math to prove that Diebold didn't steal Ohio and/or Florida. Wouldn't this be so much easier if you just recounted all the votes by hand?

Poor democrats, trying so hard to use statistical analysis and other tricky math to prove that Diebold didn't give Ohio and/or Florida.

That sentence, though as rhetorical as yours, makes more sense. It's the loser who looks as if they're whining that would be considered "poor".

Now why is this not big news on the TV?

Because it's not big news. Metafilter does not make it big news. Some guy/girl named troutfishing linking to dailykos doesn't make it a big story. Dailykos? Are we going to start linking to instapundit now?

It's going to take Kerry or someone higher to actually make some noise. Obviously, if he thought he had a case he would. The times already did a piece on the blogs claiming voter fraud, and basically dismissed it.

Or are they part of the whole "conspiracy" too?
posted by justgary at 6:45 PM on November 21, 2004


Poor democrats, trying so hard to use statistical analysis and other tricky math to prove that Diebold didn't give Ohio and/or Florida.

justgary, You forgot this part:

Wouldn't this be so much easier if you just recounted all the votes by hand?
posted by Space Coyote at 7:20 PM on November 21, 2004


justgary - The history of the 2000 election is worth bringing up here : the NYT eventually acknowledged - 3 or 3 1/2 years after the fact - that the 2000 election would have gone to Gore but for various types of fraud and voter disenfranchisement in Florida. I've been hunting for the NYT's key "admission: op-ed ( I'll find it soon enough ), but I think the following substantiates my case well enough :

( NYT Od-Ed, April 24, 2004 ) "More disturbing than these equipment breakdowns was the failure of machine manufacturers to have voting machines properly certified. It is not hard to program a computer to steal an election. A crucial safeguard is review of the software and hardware by federal and state monitors. But according to the report, the manufacturers regularly flouted the certification law. Many changes were made at the last minute, introducing the possibility of vote tampering, or simple malfunctions. "The result was a choice between using equipment that had not been fully tested and approved, or using no equipment at all," the report found.

Mr. Shelley's second report singles out Diebold, a leading manufacturer, as particularly blameworthy. Among other serious charges, it says that last year Diebold installed uncertified software in all 17 of the counties it served without notifying the secretary of state, as the law requires.

The answer to all of these problems is a "voter-verified paper trail," a paper record that the voter can check for accuracy"


( NYT Op-Ed, Jan 23, 2004 ) "There is every reason to believe that if federal elections can be tampered with, they will be, particularly when a single hacker, working alone, might be able to use an online voting system to steal a presidential election"
posted by troutfishing at 7:49 PM on November 21, 2004


"Even if you say there was fraud, if the democrats do as well as the metafilter poll predicted, as the kerry camp thought they would, the numbers wouldn't make a difference." - doesn't fraud involve messing with the numbers for unfair advantage ?
posted by troutfishing at 7:51 PM on November 21, 2004


Wouldn't this be so much easier if you just recounted all the votes by hand?

I didn't leave it out on purpose. It, like the rest of it, works with either side.

Troutfishing, I'm in no position to say your numbers are wrong. You've obviously studied the numbers. My point was more that there are other reasons the democrats lost, and this thread tried to point to them, but seemed to be ignored, as if fraud causing the loss is certain with no other reason worth looking at..

Honest question though. If you really think fraud had something to do with the loss of the election, why are we not hearing from Kerry or someone high up in his camp?
posted by justgary at 8:06 PM on November 21, 2004


justgary - I don't have an answer for Kerry's stance, but here is his last statement : :"...You moved voters, helped hold George Bush accountable, and countered the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio.

    And your efforts count now more than ever. Despite the words of cooperation and moderate sounding promises, this administration is planning a right wing assault on values and ideals we hold most deeply. Healthy debate and diverse opinion are being eliminated from the State Department and CIA, and the cabinet is being remade to rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security, and walk away from critical allies around the world.

    Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted - and they will be counted - we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles - it is a time to stand firm. "


Kerry lawyers are still at work in Ohio and Florida.

Meanwhile - I agree that the Democrats should have stomped Bush.... but the reason they couldn't is very simple: Republicans have the trump cards in terms of media dominance, control of the voting machinery in Florida and Ohio, and also in one realm the Democrats needn't have relinquished - though they are starting to get a clue : language, and "framing" ( referring to George Lakoff ).

Democrats won't easily reclaim ground in those first two areas but, in the area of language, meaning, and symbolism they're now working overtime.
posted by troutfishing at 8:36 PM on November 21, 2004


Wouldn't this be so much easier if you just recounted all the votes by hand?

I didn't leave it out on purpose. It, like the rest of it, works with either side.


Sorry, did I need a <sarcasm> tag? I'll reiterate the same old point: I promise to you that if all the votes could be manually recounted, and they proved that Bush won fair and square, I would never make even one more accusation that the election was stolen. But the votes can't be counted; openly partisan Diebold saw to that, so you're just going to have to suck up my whining for the next four years, because the Republicans have ensured that the truth can never be known.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:55 PM on November 21, 2004


( FUB - welcome.... )

"Republicans have ensured that the truth can never be known." - Aren't they so Postmodernist ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:11 PM on November 21, 2004


But the votes can't be counted; openly partisan Diebold saw to that, so you're just going to have to suck up my whining for the next four years, because the Republicans have ensured that the truth can never be known.

I couldn't care less about your whining. The general population won't hear you, but you'll fit right in at metafilter (the more things change...). Besides, it's gonna be minor compared to the past four years.

Seriously, whining is a waste of time, doesn't change a thing. Whatever gets you through the next 4 years.

Kerry lost either because of voter fraud or media dominance so I guess Kerry ran the perfect campaign. Poor guy.
posted by justgary at 10:13 PM on November 21, 2004


justgary - you're going over the edge : relax.

FOB's points are underscored by evolving world democratic standards (see my links above, in reponse to oaf's challenge ) . The US religious right has made political gains, but those gains can coesixt with electoral fraud : no illogic there.

If one "whines" about neglect of truth, is the promotion of lies therefore righteous ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:33 PM on November 21, 2004


I think far too many people here are dismissing mojohand's point. Yes, the widespread and well-documented Republican conspiracy to supress legitimate votes was important in this election, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there was out-and-out vote tampering after the fact. But none of that would have mattered if Kerry was going to win it in a walk - it's almost impossible to get away with that kind of thing unless the vote is relatively close. And it was; all the polls showed a dead heat for pretty much the whole month leading up to election day, and it was finally decided by one state. Many people think the Dems should have been doing much better than that - so what happened?

There are a lot of theories, but having worked a lot on the get-out-the-vote effort here in Arizona, arguing that the Republicans used 527's and grass-roots organizing better than the Dems rings very true to me. MoveOn was sending untrained people out alone at night in neighborhoods the local Democratic organizations were already canvassing. Meanwhile, every single e-mail I got from the Kerry campaign begged me for money - over and over and over and over. Were those really the most effective use of manpower and netroots?

A study has shown that the Bush campaign e-mails had a far greater percentage of "organizing" content than the Kerry ones did. E-mails telling people to have events, to encourage their friends, neighbors, relatives to vote - to organize. Something like 50% of the Bush e-mails were on these themes; meanwhile 90% of the Kerry e-mails were fundraising. Should the Dems have spent more time and effort on getting out the vote by e-mail? MoveOn does great ads - voted on by huge groups of people, rather than a focus group, so you know they resonate. So why didn't I see any? Was the canvassing they did even worthwhile?

These are reasonable questions to ask. Now, maybe the constant fundraising was necessary to keep up with the legendary Bush cash machine. Certainly Kerry raised a record amount - heck, I contributed more than I can afford, and I've never given any money to any campaign before. Maybe MoveOn needed to get its people doing something participatory so they would stay focused and involved. But ... could any of it have been done better?

This is not saying the Democrats should behave like Republicans. This is not saying we should try to appeal to bigots or fanatics. It's saying that it's probably worthwhile to analyze our organizational tactics - how we do things, not why or for what. Were the homophobic ballot initiatives a masterful Rovian scheme? OK, then how can we use ballot initiatives that get out the liberal vote? Can negative campaigning be judo-flipped, or do we need to take the gloves off and do some of our own? How did the Republicans get such a large turnout, and why did it come as such a surprise - can we do the same? How did they use 527's, netroots, and ground campaigns, and was it more or less effective than what we did?

These are questions that need answers, and fast.
posted by kyrademon at 10:56 PM on November 21, 2004


kyrademon - great comment.

But, trying to organize dems/progressive is like heding cats.

Maybe, first, distract them w/catnip ?
posted by troutfishing at 11:00 PM on November 21, 2004


Ooops - "herding cats", that is.
posted by troutfishing at 11:01 PM on November 21, 2004


If one "whines" about neglect of truth, is the promotion of lies therefore righteous ?

I am relaxed troutfishing. All I'm saying is that whining is useless. I don't believe the entire media is liberal as you do, but if you're right then maybe something needs to be done about it (which I guess would be air america).

If someone tells me they're gonna whine for the next 4 years, that's not constructive. Maybe by whine, they mean 'try and change the voting process where a paper trail will be available next election'. I'm all for it. But if the left is just gonna whine about voting fraud and not examine all aspects of losing to a president with a negative approval rating, they're gonna be whining 4 years from now.

kyrademon basically said what I've tried to get across, much better than I did.
posted by justgary at 11:46 PM on November 21, 2004


Throwing all legitimate complaints into the category of 'whining' is intellectually lazy and childish. Are you a child, justgary? Or could you perhaps stop sounding like sean hannity on that point for a while and maybe realize that, whoever did win the last US election, wouldn't it be better to know about any fraud that did take place so it can be prevented te next time?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:21 AM on November 22, 2004


i saw with my eyes ballot stuffing in Clark Co., Ohio so there definitely was cheating, i would guess it was very widespread across the state. it makes me wonder if there ever has been a fair election? the lack of integrity on the system's part would explain why Nixon and Reagan were elected to 2 terms. the democrats used to cheat in the days of Chicago's Dailey but that was a while back and since that is common knowledge so i would guess they fessed up to it, while the repugs have no honesty, just a mad desire to hold on to power by any means necessary.
And if it is true that the military voted 3 to 1 for bush (who knows with all the lies), as that one asshole said in F911, "let the motherfuckers burn!" but then again if you're in the military you don't have much light upstairs, only idiots and desperate people enlist.
posted by joemeek at 5:05 AM on November 22, 2004


i saw with my eyes ballot stuffing in Clark Co., Ohio

Um, are you planning on telling anyone but us?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:10 AM on November 22, 2004


justgary - If you are accusing me of whining, why not do it directly ?

I'm citing evidence - and I'll continue to do so until US mainstream media starts to grow a spine and report on this.

If you think that it's inappropriate to cite evidence suggesting widespread electoral fraud that might have swung a US Presidential election, perhaps you would be happier living in Cuba.
posted by troutfishing at 7:48 AM on November 22, 2004


justgary - If you are accusing me of whining, why not do it directly ?

Sorry, trout. I think he was addressing me, since I did state that I would whine until all the votes could be counted. Thanks for stepping into the thread, though. You've made my points far better than I could have. You're one of the most eloquent MeFites around, and I really mean that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:12 AM on November 22, 2004


Here's the really fascinating thing -- Matt Bai mentions that very little of the anticipated Republican challenging efforts were actually seen on election day, and that some of the ACT people were wondering if it was a strategic feint.

There was also a story on Florida in the New York Times a bit ago that mentioned that hypothesis -- Republicans never intended actually to have challengers, but wanted to trick Democrats into parking a ton of resources into countering non-existent challenges.

That actually squares up with the third swing state, Pennsylvania. Republicans rented a fleet of 200+ vans and parked them in the most conspicuous imaginable place (with a tent at the center), and had huge, well-attended lawyer training sessions which bandied about a figure of 800 lawyers for the state effort.

However, come election day and it turns out that they hired at most a couple dozen drivers for those 200+ vans and deployed at most 20% of the poll-watchers. That left the legal teams to spend half their time getting lost, a third of their time finding places to park, and the balance of their time chatting with their few poll watchers -- who, of course, were strictly instructed never to challenge anyone or otherwise make any trouble, as had been the legal observers.

In the course of my own legal observer duties, I saw precinct after precinct with Democratic lawyers standing outside the door, and roving team of SEIU voting protection squads doing nothing all day long. It made me feel like I was one of the skeleton crew of officers assigned to Patton's fake Corps which they put up before D-Day and nominally targeted at Callais, and which persuaded the Germans not to put all their resources into repelling the Normandy invasion.

(Which, I guess, makes the exurbs of Ohio Normandy and the inner city neighborhoods of Cleveland Callais?)
posted by MattD at 8:47 AM on November 22, 2004


But, trying to organize dems/progressive is like heding cats.

I'm sorry, troutfishing, but this sounds like complete bullshit. I hear this meme again and again with regards to the left or academia or whatever, but it honestly doesn't resonate. How did the right do it? Certainly there isn't much in common between the Christian Coalition and the fiscal conservatives and all of the other groups the GOP caters to.

I feel, personally, that the left does a piss poor job of even trying to mobilize. The left's handwringing seems to leave it paralyzed, subject to infighting and excuses. I feel like we're a coalition of slackers and pedants.

That said, this is entirely different problem that voting impropriety. This affects all parties and undermines any sort of trust in democracy.

Fix that, then the lobbyists, and we'll start to look like a government for the people.
posted by Human Stain at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2004


FOB - Thanks.

MattD - That's a really interesting point. Getting

Human Stain - Well, I agree with your overall point, but I still think organizing Democrats and progressives is like herding cats. " I feel like we're a coalition of slackers and pedants.
" - I feel like you're just reiterating my point here.

I think thos aversion has something to do with an aversion to chains of command ( which have their uses ) .

Then again, maybe it's all in the Amygdala.......

:?
posted by troutfishing at 11:12 AM on November 22, 2004


Oops. Once again :

MattD - That's a really intriguing anecdote. Getting Dems. to think in complex strategic and tactical terms - in the abstract - and then getting them to actually carry out those strategies and tactics is like trying to herd small, highly independent migratory ruminants.
posted by troutfishing at 11:15 AM on November 22, 2004


Federal judge in Toledo says no to recount
posted by Otis at 5:12 AM on November 24, 2004


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