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[politics] The conspiracy theory of elections - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-11-12 07:55
Subject: [politics] The conspiracy theory of elections
Security: Public
Tags:personal, politics
Note: This is a fusion of recent observations I have made in various posts, with some editing to pull it together.

There's something I've continued to wondered about since election night. Given the Romney
campaign's apparent astonishment at their loss, and other signals such as Karl Rove's near meltdown over FOX calling Ohio for Obama Tuesday night, I wonder if the GOP leadership thought they had the fix in with the voter ID restrictions, voting machine errors and early voting shenanigans in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We have a lot of evidence of that being the intention, such as PA State Rep. Mike Turzai's statement that voter ID laws were going to allow Romney to win the presidency.

My current hypothesis is that the GOP figured either on winning Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio outright through a combination of voter suppression and a certain amount of ballot rigging (especially with the electronic voting machines in PA miscounting Obama votes for Romney), or to lose by a close enough margin that the voting irregularities would given them sufficient smokescreen to launch a Bush v. Gore attack on the outcomes. The clear lesson Republicans learned back in 2000 was that if conservatives can cloud the popular vote sufficiently, a partisan Supreme Court will hand them the presidency regardless of legal merit or national interest. The Supreme Court's own shame-faced disclaimer that their ruling in Bush v. Gore could not be considered as future precedent confirms this right on the plain face of the facts.

Under this hypothesis, the only way they could lose would be if Obama won by a large enough margin to make recounts and challenges moot. And given the GOP's demonstrated willingness to read polling data with the same ideological blinders they use for virtually everything else, that would have been the genuine surprise.

Maybe I'm being a bit too paranoid, but this idea would explain a lot of what's bothering many commentators around the Internet about the apparent utter lack of preparedness on the part of the Romney campaign for a loss. They had the fix in after all, with Rick Scott and John Husted and so forth. Nothing about that would be out of character for the way the GOP has operated in the Atwater-Ailes-Rove era since the rise of Reagan.

Combine this with the current conservative hysteria over the evils that will rain down on the country like Old Testament retribution now that Obama has been re-elected, and you have a very ugly portrait if completely unsurprising of the conservative mind. As I've said before, liberal-progressives were afraid of a Romney presidency precisely because of what he said he would do. Conservatives are afraid of an Obama presidency precisely because of what they imagine he might do. It's two completely different world views, reality and conservative mania, that don't even align well enough that they could reasonably be said to compete.

To that end, I hate to report that there are no black helicopters over my house, no FEMA troops in the streets, the local golf courses are all still open, and all the area churches seem to be open and prospering.

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joycemocha: education politico
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-11-12 16:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:education politico
Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing. Sandy kinda put paid to their electorate, plus they really didn't have the numbers. They counted on a fix but when push came to shove, they didn't have the numbers. I read an interesting news story today about just how P.O.ed the auto industry--both leadership and rank-and-file--was with Romney for his opposition to the bailout and for his misstatements about Chrysler closing down in the US and going to China.

Even when crunching the numbers for my US History kids pre-Florida, it was still a pretty clear Obama vote. While Obama lost a lot of votes, Romney didn't gain that many...and a bunch of votes just didn't appear anywhere.

And as for a counter to the conservative theory of Divine Wrath raining down on the country...um, a hurricane during your convention and a hurricane just before the election? Dudes, if you're arguing divine wrath and intervention, um, you'd better be rethinking just who it's aimed at. Could it be you?

Of course, folks who think in this manner would then be claiming that the hurricanes were sent by Satan......surprised I haven't read that one yet!
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2012-11-13 02:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>> I read an interesting news story today about just how P.O.ed the auto industry--both leadership and rank-and-file--was with Romney for his opposition to the bailout and for his misstatements about Chrysler closing down in the US and going to China.<<

From what I gathered in my readings, these were what ultimately swung Ohio to Obama. (And not just auto industry, but those affiliated with it in any way, like suppliers.)
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2012-11-12 16:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I find it fascinating to speculate on stuff like this, but it can be a dangerous rabbit hole of paranoia without judicial applications of Occam's Razor and such.

I know after 2004 many people were convinced they rigged Ohio. When I asked how 2008 fit into it, the usual response was that their methods could only rig a sufficiently close election, and that 2008 was much more of an Obama landslide than the numbers would suggest.

I have toyed with the paranoid theory that they actually could have stolen 2008 too, but they wanted to let the Democrat deal with the cleanup after the big financial meltdown. This theory was a little scary to me, because it meant that Romney's improved poll numbers after the first debate were not due to either obvious explanation -- Romney's best-of-campaign performance (I still didn't like him, but it was the first time all campaign he seemed remotely presidential) or Obama's lackluster one. It meant Romney's improved standing was rigged BECAUSE of the improved job numbers. They had finally decided the economy was improved enough that they could take back the reins and start the usual right wing mooching and grifting again.

Obviously, it didn't work. Which could prove my paranoid theory wrong, or maybe it just means that they stated the process too late. Maybe "mittmentum" would have become a real thing if it had started in September.

However, I think there's a simpler explanation for their shock: they had started to believe their own hype. They forgot they were lying. So when they rigged their own polls to show Romney ahead, they forgot it was supposed to be for the benefit of Joe and Jane Republican, and even people like Romney and Rove thought they had it right.

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joycemocha
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-11-12 18:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's a good link in a comment I just posted further down...basically, the Obama campaign outorganized the Romney campaign in the swing states.
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Dave O'Neill
User: daveon
Date: 2012-11-12 17:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm more charitable than you I think. I was just thinking about this and I tend to think this falls into a cock up rather than a conspiracy. I actually think this was a combination of self delusion via the Right Wing Media Bubble, and astonishingly poor management from, apparently, a top CEO :)

1) When Obama didn't do so well in the first debate, the left turned on him like a wolf pack on an injured dog. He shook it off and did better. When Romney did badly, the narrative was set that he won anyway.

2) When the polls were pointing to Obama, they were wrong. Not that they were correct

3) Constantly, the GOP made fun of Obama being a 'community organizer', underestimating him, Axelrod and the infrastructure they've built up.

If Bill Clinton has demanded a quid pro quo for his support this cycle, it should be that GOTV machine and all the infrastructure.

I just don't think it was ever about suppression and fraud, it was that this was 2010 part II and there was really no way that all those Democrats were going to turn out anyway.
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joycemocha: education politico
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-11-12 18:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:education politico
Have you looked at this link yet?

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/nov/11/victory-over-suppression/

Essentially, what it comes down to was that the Obama campaign aggressively and accurately IDed committed Obama voters in the swing states where voter suppression was highest, and spent time and money to make it easier for them to vote.

IOW, money may buy you ads, but ads don't win campaigns. Superior groundwork wins. Who better to exercise superior groundwork than a former community organizer?
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2012-11-12 19:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very good article.

The right had a big conspiracy to rig the vote... it just wasn't much of a secret.

Kudos to the Obama campaign. They knew the right way to fight, and did that.

It also speaks to another interesting reason that the Republicans were overconfident in their chances -- the effectiveness of big-money marketing (lots of ads and mailers and so forth) vs. the on-the-ground marketing of GOTV efforts. Ad buys are very top-down and assume a passive electorate that will do what they're told. GOTV is very cooperative, bottom-up stuff that requires personal engagement.

I might be overly optimistic here, but I think it bodes well for the future of the Democrats if bottom-up continues to beat top-down.

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andelku: Apu
User: andelku
Date: 2012-11-12 20:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Apu
Actually, what happened IMHO is the likely voter polls drastically undercounted the youth vote.

Not only was there the time honored only poll people with landlines error (still? after how many election cycles and they haven't figured out a lot of people don't have them anymore?) they would ask the person they reached if they voted in the last election, and if they said no they were not considered a likely voter. It didn't occur to anyone to ask WHY they didn't vote ... like, were maybe 14 years old in 2008?

Therefore, if you were a Romney supporter and looking at only likely voter polls, then you did have reason to hope. There's a lot of talk about "The White Vote" and diversity, but Obama won white people who happened to be under 35* by significant margins. And youth actually turned out MORE than they did in 2008.

(*And white people who happened to be female too, but that's another rant for another day.)
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2012-11-12 20:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Mittens and the rest of the boys cant even take their toys and leave with all of that disappointment.. I am still amazed by their imagined self entitlement to the Presidency that they didnt get.

Why isnt the liberal media showing us those caravans of the Faithful heading towards the borders because Obama got re-elected?

Edited at 2012-11-12 08:31 pm (UTC)
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ulfhirtha
User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2012-11-12 21:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Heh...on that last point, things like Limbaugh's threat to move to Costa Rica if "Obamacare" passed are being remembered. I doubt anyone's moving anywhere as most places they might go have done even better with progressive policies like universal health care, unemployment programs and the like. There's nowhere TO go - save maybe that Libertarian Paradise of Somalia.

Plus if they stay they can still hide all their money in the Caymans.

Edited at 2012-11-12 09:17 pm (UTC)
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2012-11-12 21:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Costa Rica probably wouldnt have Limbaugh...
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Msconduct
User: msconduct
Date: 2012-11-13 02:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
How right you are! I'm in New Zealand, and a friend of mine was responding to all the post-election annoying "I"m moving to New Zealand because America is full of idiots" tweets with "Come on over! I assume you're after our same-sex marriage and socialised healthcare?".
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-11-12 21:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was rather getting the impression that some sections of the Republican Right had forgotten that women have the vote.
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andelku: Apu
User: andelku
Date: 2012-11-13 15:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Apu
Darn that 19th Amendment! Just Darn it to Heck!
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2012-11-13 02:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This thought has occurred to me, especially in light of things like the vote-flipping machines and, right here in Virginia, the GOP operative caught throwing out voter registrations and the local GOP subsequently not pressing charges against him until there was a major negative public outcry.

But along with the groundwork and the angry "WTF?" from so many women over various Republican comments, there were instances late in the election that I thought indicated some desperation on Romney's part. For example, two weeks before the election he threatened to sue to have the military absentee ballot deadline extended. If he really cared about military absentee voting, rather than being nervous by that point, it seems to me he would have tried to have the deadline extended a lot earlier.
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