As Inauguration Day for President Barack Obama neared, it was hard not to recall the voter fraud of 2000 and 2004 that outright stole the elections of those for George W. Bush.
BBC investigative journalist Greg Palast proved that George’s brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Florida Elections Unit Chief Clay Roberts, along with ChoicePoint Corporation rigged ballots the first time and it worked so well that they went back and did it again for the next go ’round. The allegations charge that, in 2000, among other skullduggery 57,700 people — primarily African American and Latino Democrats — were incorrectly listed as felons and barred from voting. The Republican-run U.S. Supreme Court helped out in the hijacking by halting the recount: Independent recounts show Al Gore otherwise would have won.
You have to give it to Bush for unmitigated gall. He got in front of the entire world for his inauguration and said with a straight face, “I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America’s leaders have come before me, and so many will follow. We have a place, all of us, in a long story — a story we continue, but whose end we will not see.
“It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slaveholding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.” Then, doubtless went home and had a good laugh at how the presidency was a blatantly thieved by the GOP as the Jesse James gang holding up a bank or a stagecoach in broad daylight.
In 2004, he got more than 100 percent of the registered Republican votes in 47 of 67 Florida counties, 200 percent in 15 counties and over 300 percent in four counties. How in the hell do you get twice and three times as many votes as there are voters?
Had this happened in some African or Latin American country, CNN and everybody’s brother would’ve cast discerning eye and scathing disdain on the shameful corruption committed in this-or-that backward country run by unscrupulous power-mongers. The general media didn’t say jack about it happening here.
Have you the first idea exactly how many different kinds of pure, unbridled hell Black folk would’ve raised had the Republicans tried to pull that sort of sugar-honey-iced-tea again? And don’t think it didn’t cross their minds.
According to ThinkProgress.org, “Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), in 2011 proposed rigging the presidential election for Mitt Romney by allocating electoral votes based upon which candidate carried each individual congressional district, rather than upon who takes the state as a whole. Thanks largely in part to Republican gerrymandering, if Corbett’s election-rigging plan had been in effect last November in the Republican-controlled states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Romney would have won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by nearly four points.”
Oh, yeah? That may be. However there’d’ve also been coast-to-coast riots for the first time since the 1960s. Only it would not have been only street folk, run-of-the-mill, down-and-out, fed-up, what-we-got-to-lose Blacks. Even the good ones that White liberals love to trot out at chic, upscale affairs to show just how liberal they are would be out on the avenue tearing their behinds (especially the Black women who crazy ’bout Obama ’cause he’s so pretty and, if he looked like Yaphet Kotto, would’ve said, “Sistah, girl. Maybe it’s not time for a Black president yet.”).
For the first time in American history, they would have had to do the whole damn thing all over again. Or angry Black people would’ve paralyzed this entire country’s workings so badly and thrown the nation into such disarray that, never mind Russia or China, Nicaragua could waltz in and take over the government.
Anyway. Whether you’re an Obama fan or not, one thing for which you have to give the man credit. His mere candidacy kept the presidential election process clean. There’s no telling, of course, what them conniving Republicans will get up to next time. And, as precedent plainly shows, are liable to get away with it.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.