Friday, September 12, 2008
My confidence in an Obama win has been based on the perception that he's, well, simply more popular. But it was a bit silly of me to assume that popularity translates to electoral wins in the New American Century. Mark Crispin Miller says something true:
...that is why the Bush machine put Sarah Palin next to John McCain. By arousing the hard core of vocal Christianists, they prepared the ground for the eventual redeployment of the same canard with which they justified their last unlikely "win": that millions of believers did the trick.
In fact, that claim will be the secondary "explanation" for McCain and Palin's "win." The first, of course, will be Obama's race, and the sad "fact" that America's just not ready to vote for a black man." We will hear endlessly (as we have already) about "the Bradley effect," and how it struck again, with millions of white folks who had openly approved Obama suddenly deciding, in the sanctum of the voting booth, to vote like Klansmen, thereby electing John McCain.
And, if Obama "loses," we will also hear a lot of other "explanations," each of which will suit the interests--the politics and/or pet theory--of the person(s) offering it.
We'll hear from Clinton people that he lost because he didn't put her on the ticket. We'll hear from Michael Moore, Ralph Nader and The Nation that he lost because he ran too corporate-friendly a campaign. We'll also hear from Mark Penn and the Wall Street Journal that he lost because his campaign was too "populist."
George Lakoff will tell us that Obama lost because he failed to frame the issues properly, Thomas Frank will note that all those Kansas-types are still too dim to know what's good for them, and Thomas Friedman (among others) will point out that Obama lost because he never made that crucial "gut" connection with "Joe Six-Pack" (whom Friedman and those others know so well). Meanwhile, many others will ascribe Obama's loss to all the lies and slanders heaped upon him by McCain's campaign and its confederates, who, we'll hear repeatedly, "Swift-boated" him to death, just as they did to Kerry (as if Kerry really lost the last election).
Some of those assertions will be partly true--and all of them are sure to be irrelevant. For if McCain and Palin "win," that victory will either be a miracle (which is, of course, how some of their supporters will explain it) or just another massive rip-off, perpetrated right before our eyes. And no such miracle is likely; for there is still no reason to believe that that old man and his demented running mate have any broad appeal. The polls now putting them ahead are highly dubious, based on a ten-point over-sampling of Republicans, and crafted without any calls to cell phone users (who comprise a large part of Obama's base).
Otherwise there is no evidence of any large-scale movement toward McCain and Palin--who have to trek to theocratic enclaves, like Colorado Springs, in order to draw cheering multitudes, while Obama/Biden draw them everywhere they go. With Democrats all in a panic, let's recall how few Americans turned out to vote in the Republican primaries, and how few new voters the Republicans have registered to date. Compare that feeble record with the vastly larger numbers who came out for Obama (and for Clinton), and all those whom the Democrats have registered to vote. Since then, the prospects for McCain have not improved, regardless of the spin on Sarah Palin--for this economy is in the crapper, and he has said repeatedly that he just doesn't know about such things. That issue, and his wild commitment to a war that most Americans oppose, make his victory in November quite improbable, to say the least.
And there you have the reason why the GOP must, once again, deploy its giant criminal machine: to cut the Democrats' vast popular advantage. And it is happening right now, as you sit reading this, as each day brings in new reports of voters purged, machines "malfunctioning," ballots slyly misdesigned, and other measures meant to benefit McBush's party. (The fraud is not occurring "on both sides.") Such evidence is far more solid than the nervous speculation that Americans might vote on racial grounds--or the fantasy that Sarah Palin's co-religionists could really win it for McCain.
The theft of this next race is only possible because the Democratic Party and the media, and principled Republicans, have shut their eyes to this regime's crusade against American democracy. And now the only way to stop it--or, if it does happen yet again, resist it-- is to face it at long last, and talk about it openly. It's therefore not enough to raise more money for the Democrats, and not enough to get more voters registered, and get them to the polls; and not enough to spread the word about McCain and Palin, or to try to get the media to do a decent job; and not enough to fight the smears and lies about Obama, and to demand that he and/or the Democrats get tougher.
While all of those activities are crucial, they'll amount to nothing if the race is finally rigged, and most Americans don't know a thing about it. And so, whatever else we're doing, we must also speak out loud and clear about that possibility. Otherwise, if that disaster should befall us, we will be as much to blame for it as those Republicans who pulled it off, and all those Democrats who let them get away with it.