The Popular Vote

October 30th, 2012

The question is coming up: what if Obama wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote? In particular, how would conservatives react?

It’s easy to predict of course. Remember, they had no problem at all with Bush being elected despite losing the popular vote and winning Florida by just a few hundred votes despite the illicit felon’s list and the botched-ballot voting in Miami-Dade, both of which leave zero doubt that Florida intended to elect Gore, that Gore would have been the winner had actual intention of voting, not the bungled outcome, been respected. Not only were they OK with that, they were adamantly, even aggressively resolved to make sure it stuck, and suggested that anyone who disputed it was a whining partisan crybaby.

So, naturally, they would, if grudgingly, accept Obama, right?

Of course, you know the answer to that.

They would either completely forget about 2000, or else would use it as a reason to claim Obama didn’t win the election—on the basis of liberals protesting Bush’s election legitimacy. They would equate the Florida scandal with imagined widespread voter fraud, having primed right-wing America into believing that there must be millions of stolen Democratic votes, imagining the current “fraud” to be far worse than anything in Florida—thus erasing any doubts about Bush’s election while assuring themselves that Obama cheated and stole the vote.

Despite, of course, the fact that such theft is virtually non-existent. No matter that the fraud went completely the other way, with who knows how many Democrats discouraged, intimidated, suppressed, or outright blocked from voting this year. No matter that Republicans, controlling more state houses in key areas, gerrymandered the crap out of their states. No matter that early voting has been curtailed or shut down wherever possible to depress Democratic turnout, even while attempts were made to expand early voting for Republican counties. No matter than non-English ballots were distributed with the wrong election date. No matter that even states ordered to cease Voter ID suppression tactics still put up billboards using taxpayer money, in particular in Spanish, telling voters that IDs were still required, while other billboards threaten low-income and minority voters with jail should they dare to vote. Even non-partisan evaluations of how Hurricane Sandy depressed votes in the solidly left-leaning Northeast will be explained away or dismissed.

Above and beyond all of that, many will simply cry foul over the simple fact that he didn’t get enough votes. Despite the fact that back in 2000, many claimed Bush even had a mandate (including, most prominently, Bush himself), and the right wing went along with that—none of that will matter, none of it will register.

If Obama gets elected while losing the popular vote, the vast majority on the conservative side will instantly begin railing about illegitimacy and how he’s not the “real” president. The myth of “voter fraud” will become a legend, a rallying cry. I would not be too surprised if calls for impeachment were to arise and be picked up by some sitting Republicans in Congress, or if there were major surges in calls for more “voter fraud prevention” laws, amid a host of conspiracy theories and renewed calls for secession of the South.

The same people who admonished protesters in 2000 on the principle of maintaining the legitimacy of the process and unifying the country would easily tear that process to shreds and the country asunder—if it’s not their guy who gets rallied around.

  1. Troy
    October 30th, 2012 at 13:49 | #1

    Not to mention the actual Florida vote count process being stopped by the supreme court on December 18, 2008, a month after Republican thugs disrupted the vote recount:

    If I had faith in my fellow Americans to see through all this bullshit I wouldn’t fear the future here so much.

    But I don’t, so I do.

    These motherfuckers are playing for keeps and already wormed their way halfway back into power in DC in 2010, just 4 years after being booted out by a disgusted electorate.

    On another site I read a comment that rather chilled me:

    Jim Harrison said…

    Catastrophes are good news for mediocre intellectuals. The disaster of World War I allowed a collection of marginal characters like Lenin and Trotsky to take over an empire. The much slower, but apparently equally disorganizing disaster of the end of significant economic growth in the United States has created an equivalent opening for the Podhoertzes, the Kristols, and the Ryans, twerps who nobody would pay attention to in a more settled era.

    We’re getting pretty deep into the Age of Bullshit. Looking back, I can identify the Whitewater witch hunt, Starr Report, and ensuing impeachment as past events on this road. Medicare Parts C (“Medicare Advantage”) in 1997 and D (Bush’s giveaway to Big Pharma) in 2003 were other events.

    Oh yeah, the whole Iraq invasion marketing campaign/deception 2002-2006 was a big part of our fall into unreality.

    So far we haven’t suffered from that mistake remotely as horribly as the Germans and Japanese suffered from their mistakes of 1939-41, but the pages of history are still being written on this, too.

  2. Troy
    October 30th, 2012 at 14:01 | #2

    ^ December 12, 2000 not December 18, 2008 in my above, of course. Too mad to think straight!

  3. Tim Kane
    October 31st, 2012 at 00:05 | #3

    There are many inflection points along the way, but to me the clearest one was December 2000. It is quite clear that both the Florida and the popular electorate intended for Gore to become President.

    Had Gore become President, quite likely, there’d have been no 9/11 (Bush reacted against the advice of Clinton to be on guard against terrorism), no war in Afghanistan, no war in Iraq, no massive debt, but instead, the opposite, no massive economic meltdown, no massive tax cuts to the rich, no massive move of $10 to $15 trillion in assets from the demand/commercial side of the economy to the supply side of the economy.

    The later point is perhaps the most important, because it shifted the bargaining power in our society, perhaps permanently, to the 1%. They won’t surrender that power willingly after plotting so long to obtain it.

    There also would likely have been something pro-actively done on global climate change.

    2000, then, is the disaster that keeps on unfolding. This is the result of the Supreme Court. They helped instigate both the Civil War (via the Dredd Scott decision) and America’s current meltdown.

    We now have an underperforming, growing degenerate working class that has only bread and circuses to satisfy itself, and completely manipulated by emotional manipulation from the press. If this situation does not correct itself soon, this country is toast. And since this country is the hub of a ‘hub and spoke’ international system of trade, economics and security, the entire world is going to fly off the rails when we do. Right now, if you have a choice, and are an English speaking person, perhaps in your 20s, your best long term refuge for you and your progeny, would have to be New Zealand. Almost everywhere else is subject to mayhem when the global system melts down.

    On the other hand, if Obama does get elected, there is a chance we might back away from the abyss. I’m not holding my breath, but I do believe that, all things being otherwise normal, an Obama election in 2012 will trigger an automatic Hillary election in 2016 and 2020 – because of the expected 12 million jobs many economists are predicting in the next term no matter who is elected. Hillary, being a fighter and aware from observing international economics of the importance of demand side economic power, might have the leverage to swing the pendulumn back. That all makes this election so amazingly important, and mind boggling to me that Romney is so close as to be in striking distance to destroying the country as we once knew it.

  4. Troy
    October 31st, 2012 at 02:26 | #4

    because of the expected 12 million jobs many economists are predicting in the next term no matter who is elected

    “many economists” = bullshit too.

    Here’s what +12M jobs in 4 years would look like:

    We got that uplift in the late 1990s, but this decade is nothing like the 1990s.

    Now, the baby boom was aged 30-49 in 1995, and today it is 47-66, ie entering retirement age. What this dynamic is going to do for and to the US economy is not something I have fully worked out yet. Support burdens are going to be higher, and seniors will be consuming more, and this will either have to be printed, borrowed, or taxed.

    In some ways this is stimulatory, as it drives spending in the consumer economy, and also jobs since we will need millions more senior care health aides etc.

    The baby boom echo — Gen Y — is turning 30 now so they will be able to take over what jobs the baby boomers retire out of and hand off to the next generation.

    At any rate, it took the $6T mortgage credit bubble to create the Bush job boom, all the Obama years have been is trying to stop the damage from having lost that artificial stimulus.

    is a very important chart to understand — it is systemic debt (government/household/corporate) / GDP.

    It is the leverage ratio of the entire economy, how far down the debt hole we are.

    Households borrowed in the 2001-2008, and government has been borrowing 2008-now, so I don’t understand who is next in line to push that line up again.

    Maybe it won’t go up any more, but without it going up again I don’t see any great jobs recovery coming our way.

    As for the world collapsing this decade or next, I don’t necessarily think that is going to happen either. If the Republicans start walking their kill-the-government talk, then, sure, I see riots and lots of wealth destruction coming.

    But if they just continue their bullshit parade, maybe things won’t actually get so bad here.

    But another thing the 1990s had going for it was very low energy costs, with gasoline going under $1 for the last time when the Asian economies slowed down in the mid-late 1990s. We’re more likely to have $10 gasoline this decade, as the major oil producers continue to consume more of what they produce.

    mind boggling to me that Romney is so close as to be in striking distance to destroying the country as we once knew it

    you can fool all of the people some of the time . . .

    Humans are a very flawed species, in terms of our ability to think straight.

  5. Troy
    October 31st, 2012 at 14:28 | #5

    “In recent weeks, the Texas-based group, with many local affiliates drawn from Tea Party ranks, has been urging poll workers in key Ohio counties—primarily Republicans—to supplement their official state training with TrueTheVote materials.”

    hoo boy. Not quite the same as brown-shirts in trucks cracking heads on the street, but that’s just it, bad history is going to happen not like the past, exactly.

    My life has had a real freefall into unreality for the past 4+ years. I saw the crash coming in 2007, and all the bullshit since has been almost like a war to me in the stress and uncertainty of it.

    The electorate putting Boehner in charge of the House in 2010 was a deep shock to me, something I’ve not really gotten over yet.

    One more week until I get some resolution here. Hopefully.

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