Home > Political Ranting > Armed Rebellion? Hardly. Conspiracy Theories? Absolutely. Whatever, Just Vote.

Armed Rebellion? Hardly. Conspiracy Theories? Absolutely. Whatever, Just Vote.

November 3rd, 2010

In all likelihood, we’ll see happen what people like Nate Silver project, and the Republicans will win the House by 30 or so seats, while the Democrats hang on to the Senate by perhaps two seats.

But just as a thought experiment, what would happen if Democrats do better than expected? What if the Democrats are energized by recent events? What if independents feel turned off by the publicity generated by the crazy Tea Partiers? What if people in states like Alaska and Nevada step up to the polls and ask, “Am I really going to vote for an idiot like this just because I’m not fond of the other guy? What if the minority vote is stronger than expected because of anti-immigrant, anti-minority sentiments on the right? What if the polling guesses about ”likely“ voters (as opposed to just ”registered“ voters) is off? What if Democratic turnout is being underestimated because pollsters still favor land-line over cell phone respondents, and did not correct for it enough? Or what if just fate throws a curve ball?

Like I said, I don’t expect all that to happen, I fully expect to be disappointed and glum after this is over. But, what would the reaction from the right wing be if Democrats managed to hold on to control of the House and held more Senate seats than expected?

So far, not one, but two Republican candidates have openly stated that they would favor violent overthrow of the government if elections were lost by Republicans. Already Fox and other conservative outlets are drumming away at the message that minorities are planning to commit massive voter fraud, despite no actual evidence existing to that effect.

Remember, back in 2008, people expected Obama to win, and he did. But since then, half of all Republicans have come to believe that ACORN rigged the election for Obama through voter fraud, despite the fact that it was patently impossible for them to do so.

As I explained a year ago, in order for this to have happened, Obama would have to have stolen 935,000 votes minimum. This was the total of votes in the states with the closest margins that would have to have gone to McCain to win him the election. But it’s not just a matter of pure numbers–these 935,000 would have to have been precisely targeted in exactly the right states in exactly the right amounts. Realistically, ACORN would have to have stolen millions to get this effect, or else be gifted with a time machine and godlike accuracy.

ACORN, however, only registered 900,000 voters in only 21 states–meaning that even if every voter ACORN registered were fake, and every state necessary for Obama to win were covered by ACORN, and the fake votes were distributed just right, ACORN would still have been 35,000 votes shy.

In short, there was no mechanism for Obama to steal the election–not even close. It simply just couldn’t have happened. And sorry, but a couple of New Black Panther guys standing outside a single polling place in Philadelphia which was mostly a minority station anyway did not account for all the other votes. And yet, not only do 52% of Republicans think ACORN stole the election, a full 73% believe he did not win legitimately.

Republicans don’t need a workable, real-world mechanism to believe in voter fraud. They just need an tissue-thin excuse.

This is unlike Democrats, who in 2000 did not just have a mechanism, they had a smoking gun. There is no dispute that Katherine Harris disenfranchised tens of thousands of legitimate voters–mostly Democrats–with the ”felons list“ which was constructed not just of felons, but anyone with a similar name to a felon, which would disproportionately target black voters in the state. By any count, far more voters were illegitimately removed from the voter lists than were necessary to throw the election for Bush. And if that’s not enough, 2100 spoiled Republican absentee ballot requests were illegally altered by Republican party workers in Seminole County. In short, there is no question that voter fraud in 2000 won the election for Bush–it could not have done otherwise. We forget this because the courts and the public essentially dropped any action due to the chaos it would have caused–but it did happen. The facts are out in the clear, there is no conspiracy theory required. It just happened.

The 2004 vote was a different deal–the conspiracy theorists insist that Ohio was stolen, but there was no smoking gun. As a result, most Democrats will not say Bush stole that election–but those who do at least have a valid mechanism to explain it. Diebold voting machines of the time were demonstrably open to tampering, the president of the company had openly stated that he would do whatever was necessary to win the election for Bush in Ohio–the single state which swung the election–and analysis of voting data is suspicious to say the least. Nothing can be proved, but at least it was conceivably possible that it could have been done. And yet you will not find 73% or even 52% of Democrats who will say they think Bush stole that election. I would guess that not even 10% remember the issue at all.

A majority of Republicans, on the other hand, seem capable in believing astonishingly impossible conspiracy theories, without any facts or evidence to back them up–just hints and innuendo and a few smear campaigns with carefully edited videos not even directly related, and presto–most Republicans buy a story which is demonstrably false.

So back to the present. What would happen if the Dems, against all expectations, actually won today? Not just lost smaller, but actually held control of both houses?

Obviously, there would be no armed rebellion. I think we all know that whole line is just BS to tickle the extremists. But if 52% of Republicans believe Obama stole his election when the polls predicted he would win, and the story saying he stole it is idiotically thin, how many Republicans would believe the already-circulating stories of voter fraud should the Democratic candidates beat the predictions? And more importantly, how would they react?

Fortunately and/or unfortunately, we will most likely never find out. But it’s a disturbing thought.

One thing though: whatever you think the outcome will be–vote. I sent my absentee ballot off a while ago. Don’t give any excuses. And yes, that includes Geoff and Jon and SteveTV and everyone else. This much is not a partisan conviction. Not voting is plain stupid.

Of course, voting Republican is stupid, too. That much is a partisan conviction. But also one with a pretty solid mechanism behind it.

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  1. Troy
    November 3rd, 2010 at 04:33 | #1

    Voting Republican can be smart.

    Like if you make more than $200,000.

    Want to shut down any attempt at following the rest of the developed world into socialized XYZ and want to avoid a repeat of LBJ’s “Great Society” welfare state mistakes.

    Want to preserve Israel’s place behind our defense posture and otherwise continuing disrupting its Arabs enemies.

    Are stridently and/or ardently against any form of gun ownership restrictions.

    Are “pro-life” / anti-evolution / anti-union etc.

    The stupid thing is that other than the trillion dollar wars, Republicans have done precious little to harm me as a white 40yo old fart.

  2. stevetv
    November 3rd, 2010 at 06:50 | #2

    Why Luis! Who do you honestly think I’m supporting? :)

  3. Luis
    November 3rd, 2010 at 10:50 | #3

    Doesn’t matter, when it comes to getting out to the polls. That was my point. Sorry for the grouping… Hope you voted, that’s all.

  4. Troy
    November 3rd, 2010 at 11:14 | #4

    Manchin won. Yeay!

    The polling had him behind and only at 50% at last.

  5. Troy
    November 3rd, 2010 at 15:03 | #5

    Pretty good show today, assuming CA and WA hold.

    As of now the Dem/Green vote is larger than the R vote in IL and CO so even if the Dems lose there it’s not part of the tsunami that was going to sweep theDdems out.


    Mark Kirk
    1,737,629 votes

    Alexi Giannoulias
    1,656,068 votes

    LeAlan Jones
    114,982 votes


    Ken Buck
    689,205 votes

    Michael Bennet
    682,945 votes

    Bob Kinsey
    31,054 votes

    WTG Greens! There’s still votes to count in CO so maybe Bennet will pull it out. Like PA, it’s going to be close!

  6. Luis
    November 3rd, 2010 at 15:30 | #6

    Considering that the seats in Florida and Kentucky were Republican seats, Paul and Rubio winning do not constitute a “tidal wave,” just as O’Donnell’s (fortunate) loss is not a sign that they collapsed. But Angle was favored to win in Nevada and seems to have lost, while Joe Smith is currently losing to the write-in vote–though it is unclear if enough of the write-in is for Murkowski, or if Smith’s trash-the-write-in-by-overcrowding-it tactic worked or not. Reports say that Murkowski is winning it, which, along with Angle and O’Donnell, would represent at the very least a strong blow to Palin’s credibility as a kingmaker, if she ever had any credibility to start with.

    I am rather surprised that the press is playing up Paul’s win as if it were somehow a vindication for the entire Tea Party. Paul was always in the lead, it was a safe election for him. Same with Rubio–the vote against him was split. These were easy wins, hardly noteworthy as challenges for the Tea Party.

    More significant is that Angle was pretty much always in the lead in the polls and was ahead by 3% before today–but currently she’s down by 5 points. That’s very likely the effect of many Nevadans protesting in the surveys, but not being stupid when it came down to it. And for Murkowski to win would be a huge slap in the face to the Tea Party–write-in candidates almost never win, Miller was given a 70% chance of winning and at last polltaking, was ahead by 6%–but now he’s 5% behind the write-in vote.

    So how is this in any way a vindication of the Tea Party? If things go the way they seem to be going, the Tea Party is set to lose three out of five of its most prominent races when it was supposed to lose only one–and the two it won were the safe seats.

  7. Troy
    November 3rd, 2010 at 16:28 | #7

    I am rather surprised that the press is playing up Paul’s win as if it were somehow a vindication for the entire Tea Party.

    yeah, that seat was Bunning’s, the conservative who led the charge against deficit spending by temporarily blocking the unemployment extension earlier this year.

    Colorado is a nailbiter still. Goddamn green party voters. If it’s a bona-fide protest vote, fine, but if they don’t really want that homophobe to take the seat they should lose the purity complex.

    Also the Dems are going to lose one vote immediately because IL was a double election for some strange reason, both immediately replacing Burris’s current term and also the open seat.

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