Trout Fisting In America #49 – Elections

In theory it’s the only power any of us actually have, those of us without money, without access to power. No wonder the government wants to keep us from voting (note: all links open in a new tab, b/c there’s a fucking lot of them).

Not all of us, just the ones who don’t vote the right way—i.e. the poor, the young, the non-white, the non-male. And not everyone in the government. Trying to keep those people from voting is a republican project, because those voters tend to vote democrat.

Now you might think rigging an election would be the most unamerican thing someone could do, this being the Greatest Democracy Nation On Earth and all that, but to some people the ultimate American achievement isn’t justice, or something so naive as fairness. To them America is about winning. And in America, if you think you can cheat and get away with it then that’s what you do if you want to win. That actually, given this nation’s long history of not allowing everyone to vote, sounds a lot more ‘american’ So if you can rig an election, if you can deliberately purge voters from the rolls in a way that favors your party, you go ahead and do it. Fuck, even if you get caught, they just slap you with a five-figure fine. Don’t take my word for it, just listen to a senator from the state where I live.

When neighboring DeKalb County, another stronghold of African American Democrats, opened an early voting location in a popular mall, Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R) publicly lamented that “this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches.” He later added, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

But tell me again how the Republican party isn’t racist. Or shit, tell me that the Democratic party isn’t racist either. Here’s their reaction to the $18,000 fine, which—and I’m no business major or anything—seems like a pretty cheap price to pay for an election. That’s cheaper than a brand new VW Jetta.

We’re happy that the [settlement] is over and we’re able to move forward,” Erica Pines with the Fulton County Democratic Party told ThinkProgress.

Happy? How can you be happy? And move forward to where? 19fiftyfuckingfour?

And don’t fucking @ me about this, the evidence is easy to find and this entry has more citations than a drunk trustfund fratkid who can’t parallel park. During our last election, 1 in every 4 black people weren’t able to vote in Florida. Nationally, more stringent photo-ID laws kept 21 million people from voting. That’s 11% of the voting-eligible population. Why? Because it costs money to get a fucking government ID and there’s a lot of people in this country who, uh, don’t have a lot of money.

This isn’t a conspiracy. This is a fundamental tenet of the conservative movement as funded by the Kochs, the Mercers, etc. One of the first things our current president did upon taking office was appoint a guy named Kris Korbach (are you shitting me? what’s his middle name? Kevin? Kyle?) to head a commission to investigate voter fraud. Korbach’s been called ‘the most racist politician in Americamore than once and for all we know he took that as a compliment.

Kris Korbach is a man who, back when he was Secretary of State in Kansas and in charge of their elections, threw provisional ballots in garbage cans and intentionally lost voter registration forms. Before we go any further, let’s be as clear as possible. No one has ever been able to prove that voter fraud exists. But voter suppression is real as fuck. It’s not a conspiracy. This is something that Republicans talk about openly, as a strategy, as a way to maintain power.

On the night of Wisconsin’s 2016 primary, GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman, a backer of the law when he was in the state Senate, predicted that a Republican would carry the state in November, even though Wisconsin had gone for Barack Obama by 7 points in 2012. “I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up,” he told a local TV news reporter, “and now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”

Working to keep people from voting is evil. And if you support that, or justify it, or apologize for it, you can call yourself many things, but don’t call yourself patriotic. And don’t tell me how much you love your fucking freedom. 

But there’s more than one way to cheat. How about hacking? Or if not hacking, then at least deliberately leaving your state’s voting systems unsecured even after the federal government warned you they were vulnerable? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Putin had a bug up his ass about sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration, so what’s a little hacking if it helps out my party, right Sec. of State Mark Kemp? That’s right. We’re back in my home state of Georgia where, when citizens file a lawsuit accusing you of election fraud, the very first thing you do is eliminate all the fucking evidence.

Wiping the server “forestalls any forensic investigation at all,” said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist following the case. “People who have nothing to hide don’t behave this way.”

But if voter suppression doesn’t work, and looking the other way while another country (definitely) hacks into your outdated computer voting systems and (possibly) affects the election, you can always just redraw the districts in a way that makes it impossible for Democrats in predominantly Republican states to have any representation at all. The goal was to create veto-proof supermajorities by craving democratic, progressive communities (like mine!) into pieces and surrounding them with so many republican, conservative communities that their votes wouldn’t count. The plan even had a name: REDMAP. It sounds like it’s from The Shining, but this is way more horrific. REDMAP is an acronym (Redistricting Majority Project) that crawled from the diseased worming brain of Karl Rove.

“People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy,” Karl Rove told potential donors to the project at an early fund-raiser in Dallas. “But we’re really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy. Now it’s time to get serious.”

You can, and should, read more here. The takeaway is the plan worked beautifully. It’s how Pennsylvania democrats can get more votes but republicans have 13 of the 18 seats in congress, or how in a 50/50 state like Ohio that keeps us up late every four years, republicans control 12 of the 16 seats. If 50% of your voters are democrats, but 75% of their elected officials are republicans, is Ohio really a democracy? Or take my state, where roughly 45% of us vote for the democrat pres. candidate every four years, but 80%+ of our state senators are republican?

And that’s how you create a government (anti-safety net, pro-war, pro-life, etc.) that doesn’t reflect the will of the people (pro-safety net, anti-war, pro-choice, etc.). You cheat. You do whatever it takes b/c you value power over democracy. So the next time one of these republican chucklefucks gets all teary-eyed and wraps themselves in the flag, or lectures you about how we’re the last best hope for freedom or some shit, do me a favor and puke all over their toupee.

Because we don’t live in a democracy. We don’t even live in a representative democracy. Shit, these days it feels like we barely live in a country.

And if you took the time to read all the links in this article, then you’ll never believe in anything American ever again, assuming you ever did. But please don’t get cynical. The far-right craves your cynicism. They work very hard, and very deliberately, to cultivate it. The only hope is that enough of us keep showing up, and those of us able to afford a driver’s license start showing up, and we vote these frauds out of office. Like I said before, it’s the only power we actually have.

 

Trout Fisting In America appears here every Tuesday (lately on Friday too!). We’re going to keep going until we reach #55, or until the Trout begs for mercy. You can check out previous installments HERE.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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