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Time for change

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How Clinton Won the Nevada State Convention

We have heard s reports from Clinton supporters that Sanders delegates to the Nevada State Convention last night were poor losers and acted outrageously, etc. etc. etc. Well, from everything I have read and heard about how the convention was run, there were very good reasons for their “rude” behavior.


The state convention

I’ve heard bits and pieces from various sources and cannot find a single coherent source that explains everything. Here is a video that gives you some idea of the chaos involved, but surely doesn’t put it together into a coherent story. These are what I consider to be the essential issues:

There were clearly more Sanders delegates at the convention than Clinton delegates. The Clinton delegates proposed a set of rule changes for the convention that, according to the Sanders delegates would make it easy for them (the Clinton campaign) to pick up some extra delegates for the national convention. A “voice vote” was taken, and it was ruled that the rule changes would go into effect. The Sanders delegates vociferously objected to the ruling, clearly unconvinced that the “voice vote” was legitimate. But to no avail. The rule changes went into effect.

There were 64 Sanders delegates who were decertified from the convention. The news article I read on the subject said simply that the decertified Sanders delegates felt that they were wrongly decertified. The main reason for the decertification was that they were said not to be registered as Democrats. That came as a complete surprise to the decertified delegates. Related to that, I read a DU post last night from an Iowa Democratic delegate (and I hope he or she responds to this OP) saying that he also was decertified from the Iowa caucuses, along with several other Sanders delegates, because, he was told, he (and many of the other decertified delegates) were registered as Republicans or otherwise not registered as Democrats.

I have also seen reports of Sanders delegates being locked out of rooms when crucial votes came up at the Nevada State Convention.

So it appears to me, on the basis of the strong armed tactics used by the Clinton campaign to win the Nevada caucuses, that some “rude” behavior by the Sanders delegates was not only warranted but was obligatory on their part as a protest in an attempt to represent the interests of those who elected them.


A word about the County Conventions where Sanders took a temporary lead in delegates

A discussion of this issue would not be complete without including the county conventions where Sanders took a temporary lead in delegates. There are Clinton supporters who have called this unethical, and I’ll bet that they will also say that because of that, whatever methods they used at the state convention to win would be justified in order to rectify the situation. So let’s take a closer look at this:

The reason given for Sanders taking a lead at the county conventions, in particular Clark County, was that hundreds of Clinton delegates either didn’t show up or flipped their vote to Sanders. If that was the end of the explanation, perhaps it would still be a good enough explanation, because if Clinton delegates didn’t want to take the time to attend the convention or changed their mind about who to vote for, then what does the Clinton campaign have to complain about?

But I doubt very much that that is all there is to the story, though I have seen no deeper explanation in writing. It strikes me as somewhat odd that hundreds of Clinton delegates would not show up at the county conventions, and unbelievably odd that so many would switch their votes to Sanders. After all, they were elected to represent Clinton. How could they possibly excuse such behavior?

The only plausible explanation that I can think of is that either prior to the convention or at the convention revelations were made about how Clinton “won” the original voting in the Nevada caucus, and that those revelations were so striking that many Clinton delegates were sickened by them to the point where their consciences would not allow them to vote for Clinton at the county conventions. What other reasonable explanation is there?

What revelations could there have been? Here’s one:

She needed pure corruption, intimidation and manipulation to squeak out an unimpressive win in Nevada…. That got Hillary a few hundred extra votes and put her over the top in Nevada…. she needed union and casino bosses {who supported one candidate} to basically order their union employees to take half their day off, and pay them to vote.



What this all means

The purging of Sanders delegates at the Nevada state convention is reminiscent of similar and massive purging of would-be voters in Arizona, New York, and many other states in the Democratic primaries this year. The main difference, I think, is that when you mess around with this kind of thing at a caucus you’re dealing with people who are very highly motivated to see democracy run properly and who are likely to be determined to spread the word around of the methods used to subvert democracy.

There is a revolution brewing in this country, even prior to Bernie Sanders’ announcement of his intention to run for President. That revolution is reflected by favorability ratings for the U.S. Congress running at record low levels, usually between 10 and 20% and sometimes dipping into single digits, and 45% of voters who do not consider themselves to be either Democrats or Republicans (42% independents and 3% other).

The many and massive “irregularities” occurring in the Democratic primaries this year are not reflecting favorably on the Democratic Party, and there has been a lot of talk going on about a mass exodus from the Democratic Party following the Democratic convention. The happenings at the Nevada State Convention have just added a good deal of fuel to the fire.
Posted by Time for change | Sun May 15, 2016, 05:14 PM (90 replies)

Sanders Regains Stolen Colorado Delegate

Bernie Sanders won one more delegate in Colorado than first projected after the Colorado Democratic Party admitted this week that it misreported the March 1 caucus results from 10 precinct locations. The party discovered the discrepancy a week after the caucus but did not correct the public record. Hillary Clinton's campaign discussed the error with state party officials last week, but the Sanders campaign apparently didn't realize the issue until being informed Monday evening by The Denver Post.


http://www.denverpost.com/election/ci_29755029/colorado-democrats-admit-mistake-that-cost-bernie-sanders

The event discussed in this Denver Post article only results in a net gain for Sanders of two delegates. As such, it may not seem to be a big issue. But I think it is because it clearly shows what the Clinton campaign and her supporters in the Democratic Party think of election integrity.

This was not just a “mistake”, as the article tactfully puts it. It may or may not have originally been just a mistake. But the Democratic Party knew about it for several weeks and did nothing to correct it. The Clinton campaign also knew about it but said nothing about it. Nothing was done to correct the “mistake” until an independent party, the Denver Post, informed the Sanders campaign about it. That makes it a stolen delegate rather than merely a mistake, regardless of whether or not it was initially just a mistake.

As such, it should provide even further urgent reason for a thorough investigation, including extensive hand counted audits to compare with machine counts, in all states where evidence of election fraud exists, whether that evidence consists of exit poll discrepancies with the official vote count, inadequately explained voter purging, disappearing Sanders votes associated with electronic machines, fake audits that add votes to Clinton and subtract them from Sanders to make the hand counts match the machine counts, or whatever.
Posted by Time for change | Sat May 14, 2016, 03:45 PM (22 replies)

How Strongly Do we Believe in Fair Elections?

In the past several weeks I have posted many posts on DU which have included evidence which I consider to be highly suggestive of election fraud against Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. This evidence includes: massive voter suppression/purging in Arizona (and evidence that the purging was targeted at Sanders) and New York and other states; a fake audit of voting machines in Illinois, in which public citizens observed the auditors changing their hand count of the vote to match the machine count by subtracting Sanders votes and adding Clinton votes to their initial hand count (and they provided sworn testimony to that effect); huge discrepancies between exit polls and the official vote counts, in which Sanders almost always does considerably worse in the official count than predicted by the exit polls; screen shots from the Delaware primary that showed Sanders’ vote DECREASING as the number of reporting precincts increased, and; the fact that Sanders does so much better in precincts that are hand counted and in caucuses, where election fraud is so much more difficult.

For all this, I am repeated accused by Clinton supporters of being a “conspiracy theorist” (as if conspiracies to steal election in our country could not possibly occur) and worse.

But I believe that those accusations are all unfair, because I have never advocated that any vote counts or delegates be revised on the evidence that I present or any other evidence alone. All I am advocating is extensive hand counted and publicly observed audits (as was done in the Florida 2000 Presidential election, and nobody on DU that I am aware of had any problem with that) of all states that exhibited substantial exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count or exhibited other evidence of election fraud. Such audits should reveal whether or not there are extensive discrepancies between the hand counted audits and the machine counts.

Anyone who knows anything about our election system knows that our electronic voting machines can be easily manipulated for election fraud. Why shouldn’t we at least have a system for auditing them with hand counts at the slightest evidence of fraud?

What is so terrible about that? The results of such audits should do away with the need to theorize about whether the Democratic primaries have been rife with election fraud. They should put an end to all “conspiracies theories” on the subject. I don’t see any valid reason why either Sanders supporters or Clinton supporters should be against that, except that maybe it might make their candidate look bad. At worst, it will cost some money and effort. At best it could help save our democracy.

I am conducting a poll on this because I would very much like to know where DUers stand on this issue, which I consider to be of the utmost importance to our democracy:


Posted by Time for change | Sat May 14, 2016, 11:46 AM (34 replies)

Disappearing Sanders Votes in the Delaware Primary

I had some communication with an IT computer person who detected some vote “glitches” in the running of the Delaware Democratic primary in Sussex County, and has screen shots to document it. So I looked it up and found identical findings plus more – disappearing Sanders votes.

In Sussex County Delaware the “glitch” was quite remarkable. With 16% reporting from Sussex County, Sanders was ahead of Clinton by 6,247 to 1,250. But later that evening, with almost 40% of the vote reported, Sanders’ count went DOWN to 2,383, a drop of 3,864 votes, while Clinton surged ahead of him. Even near the end of the evening, with 96% of the vote reported in Sussex County, Sanders’ vote total didn’t get back to what it was before his votes disappeared.

Sanders also experienced a decrease in Delaware votes statewide during the course of the evening. And similar findings were reported from Broome County, New York.

Of course, if these were the only such instances of vote flipping, it wouldn’t amount to much in the total picture. But everyone who knows anything about our election system knows that the electronic machines that count our votes are not monitored adequately for accuracy, and unless they are accompanied by a paper trail they cannot be verified. But even when paper trails are available, they are seldom used (as in hand counted audits) as a double check on the election results. And even when they are used and discrepancies are found between the hand counts and the machine counts, no remedial action is generally taken, as in a hand counted audit in Chicago, where public observers gave sworn testimony that the auditors found substantial discrepancies between the hand and machine counts, and then changed their own hand count to match the machine count, by subtracting Sanders votes and adding Clinton votes.

It is also worth noting that the disappearing Sanders votes in Delaware is reminiscent of the 2004 stolen Presidential election, which went to George W. Bush, though there were no screen shots available to prove what happened. I recall a group of TV news commentators discussing the Ohio vote situation near the end of the vote counting process. There was a big map of Ohio on the screen, and the commentators were giving a detailed analysis of how bleak the situation looked for Bush. The Republican commentator, whose name I can’t remember, seemed very depressed. Then suddenly the whole situation switched around and Ohio was called for Bush. Final exit polls predicted a Kerry win in Ohio, and many other states also showed huge exit poll discrepancies, all favoring Bush in the official count compared to the exit polls. But TV commentators either ignored that issue or when forced to discuss it assured us all that the exit polls couldn’t be trusted (implying that the official vote count could be trusted). Investigations in Ohio proceeded slowly, and several years later, Karl Rove’s IT guru, Michael Connor was subpoenaed to appear in court to be questioned about how he manipulated the Ohio vote electronically late on Election Night 2004 to give the election to Bush. An affidavit was signed to that effect. But shortly before Connor’s pending court appearance he died in a plane accident.

Nobody knows how extensive this kind of thing has been in the Democratic primaries this year because no systematic assessment of it has been done. But judging by the massive discrepancies we’re finding between exit polls and official vote counts, generally favoring Clinton by huge amounts in the official count, the problem is quite extensive indeed – so much so that Sanders could very well be ahead now in pledged delegates in the absence of vote flipping (not to mention voter purging, which was found to be extensive in Arizona and New York especially, but also in other states).
Posted by Time for change | Fri May 13, 2016, 11:40 AM (97 replies)

Please Let’s Give Democracy a Chance

Our country is locked in a vicious cycle characterized by almost unlimited money in politics, exacerbated by a psychopathic right wing Republican majority on our Supreme Court. The result is a government that has turned so far to the right that our country is hardly recognizable as a democracy any more. It is better characterized as an oligarchy, meaning that it is ruled by a small elite of wealthy and powerful individuals, where the vast majority of Americans have very little say in how their country is run. Both major parties are at fault, and yet they are currently the only viable parties in our country.

Some of the most powerful institutions in our country today are a military industrial complex that profits from war so is always eager to start another one; a fossil fuel industry that denies the reality of a climate change that threatens to make life uninhabitable for most humans and is gradually becoming irreversible; a financial industry that has cheated the American people out of trillions of dollars in the past few years, causing levels of income inequality not seen since the 1920s, but is considered “too big” to be prosecuted and instead is bailed out of its crises by the American taxpayer; a health care industry that works more to make profits than to help the sick; a prison industry that lobbies Congress to produce more prisoners and has resulted in by far the highest imprisonment rate in the world; a right wing corporate national “news” media that contributes to all these problems by not reporting them in an honest way; the privatization of education to the point where ordinary Americans can no longer afford a decent education, and; perhaps worst of all, a rabidly corrupt election system, which prevents us from electing a government that will serve us rather than those who fund their campaigns and control our elections, which is the main subject of this post.

Despite our irresponsible national news media, this has not gone unnoticed by the American people – as reflected by favorability ratings for Congress in the last few years that rarely go above 20%, and sometimes dip into single digits. Yet because of our corrupt election system we can’t seem to get rid of them. The American people are far far to the left of their government.


Our corrupt rigged election system

Our country’s election system is ranked last among the 47 long established democracies, by the Election Integrity Project founded by the Kennedy School of Government. There are many reasons for this, and they are worth considering:

We have privatized our elections by allowing private corporations to count our votes with little oversight
Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization has this to say about the electronic machines that are so commonly used in our country today to count our votes:

Far too many states use unreliable and insecure electronic voting machines, and many states have made their situation worse by adding some forms of Internet voting for some voters, which cannot be checked for accuracy at all. Even in states where verifiable systems are used, too often the check on the voting system’s function and accuracy is not done.


To be more specific, 30 states in the United States use these machines today in some or all parts of the state. In 17 of those states there is at least some use of those machines which leave no voter-verified paper audit trail. In other words, votes from those machines cannot even be audited. The other 13 states that use these machines uniformly leave a paper trail by which the machines can be audited (by hand counting the paper trail). But that doesn’t mean very much because auditing of elections in this country is rarely done except in extremely close elections. Significant manipulation of the machines to produce a desired outcome too frequently produces election results that are not close enough to consider auditing them.

All election experts agree and frequently comment that these machines are very unreliable because they can be hacked and rigged to produce a desired outcome. That doesn’t concern me as much as the fact that the voting machine companies themselves can easily program their machines to produce their desired outcome. All of the electronic machines that count our votes are produced and run by corporations that are very right wing and have ties to the Republican Party. Worse yet, they do not allow government officials to even inspect their machines to identify fraud, on the excuse that their machines are private and “proprietary”. And our government lets them get away with that excuse and continues to hire them to run our elections! Such systems are often referred to as black box voting, because the American people have no way to ensure that the votes counted by such machines are done honestly. Michael Parenti writes:

Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to allow election officials to evaluate the secret voting machine software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it susceptible to fixed outcomes.


How can we justify the use of such machines?

The result has been predictable. Since these machines came into existence, exit polls, long considered the gold standard for monitoring election results, now very frequently deviate from the official vote count – ALWAYS with the more right wing candidate favored in the official vote count compared to what is predicted by the exit polls.

In the Presidential election of 2004, George W. Bush won the official national vote count by 2.5%, while the exit polls indicated a lead by John Kerry of 3.0%, a vast exit poll discrepancy of 5.5%, higher than had ever been seen in a U.S. Presidential election before. The exit poll discrepancies were especially high in the swing states that were thought before the election to be the states most likely to determine the winner. In Ohio, which actually was the deciding state, Bush won the official count by 2.5%, while Kerry won the exit polls by 4.2%, a vast discrepancy of 6.7%, which led to many investigations by independent groups and persons. Following numerous investigations by untold numbers of individuals and groups, eventually a hearing was to be held at which Michael Connell, Karl Rove’s “IT guru”, was to testify as to how he helped to orchestrate a massive electronic switching of votes in Ohio from John Kerry to George W. Bush on Election Day 2004. He had already signed an affidavit to that effect. Unfortunately, he died in a plane crash shortly before he was due to testify.

The Election Defense Alliance (EDA), which I used to work for, is an organization came into existence largely as a result of the stolen election of 2004 and is very concerned about this issue. Because our own government appears to be so little concerned about the integrity of our elections, and because the TV networks that hire exit poll firms to help them call elections always “adjust” the results of the exit polls after the vote count is in to mimic the official vote count before showing them to the public, EDA conducts, studies, and analyzes its own exit polls. They refer to an exit poll discrepancy that favors the Republican candidate in the official count compared to what the exit poll predicts as a “red shift”. In 2014 they polled (See tables at link) 21 U.S. Senate races. 19 of the 21 were red shifted, most of them by more than 4%. Two of them, in Georgia and North Carolina, were red-shifted enough to change the winner of the election if we assume the exit poll to be correct. They polled 21 gubernatorial races and found 20 of them to be red shifted, with an average red shift of 5.0%. Red shifting in the House averaged 3.7%.


Partisan control of elections
The stolen election of 2000 in Florida, which made George W. Bush President, was greatly aided by the Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who made numerous decisions that affected the election results and also played a prominent role in the Bush campaign. The stolen Presidential election of 2004, which maintained Bush as President, was in large part orchestrated by the Ohio Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who oversaw the massive voter purges in Ohio and also played a prominent role in the Bush campaign. Pollsters such as Nate Silver accordingly adjust their pre-election predictions in part based on who has control of the state voting system, without acknowledging that such control often involves unethical and/or illegal manipulation of election results.


Money in politics
Campaigns are expensive. Money has always been involved in politics and has always affected elections for the worse, favoring those who have the money to buy politicians. But in the past, at least we had campaign finance laws that ameliorated the effect of money to some extent. But recent decisions by our far right wing Supreme Court have severely weakened our ability to ameliorate the effect of money on our elections. Consequently, both major parties have moved farther and farther to the right, in order to attract more and more money from wealthy and powerful corporations and individuals who fund their campaigns. Once in office, they make decisions that further increase the wealth and power of those corporations, at the expense of everyone else, creating a vicious cycle of bad government.

Gerrymandering of our Congressional Districts
In the past several years, our Congressional Districts have been so badly gerrymandered to help Republicans that today the Democratic Party has to attain 6% more of the national vote than the Republican Party in order to win a majority in the House of Representatives. That is a major reason for Republican control of the House and why it will be terribly difficult to reverse that majority. That is not democracy. The gerrymandering has been engineered by the Republican Party, but much of the Democratic Party has been complicit in that gerrymandering, refusing to fight it, because it helps them as individuals retain their office much more easily, though it prevents their Party from gaining control of Congress.

Voter suppression
There has been a flurry of voter ID laws passed in many states in recent years, with the sole purpose of suppressing the vote of the poor and minorities, to the great advantage of the Republican Party. These laws are similar to the old Jim Crow literacy tests and poll taxes, which were made illegal in this country a long time ago, but are now on the rise again, disguised as voter ID laws.

In addition, massive purging of voter registration has been orchestrated in recent years. Notable examples are the voter purging in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, both which were instrumental in helping George W. Bush to win those states, both which were needed for him to win the Presidential elections of those years.

President Obama has said:

We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote…We sort of just assume, yeah, that’s I guess how it is. There’s no other country on Earth that does that.



Election fraud in the 2016 Democratic primaries

There is a great amount of evidence accumulating of election fraud in the Democratic primaries this year, all of which appears to hurt Bernie Sanders. I would like to emphasize that I am not saying that this is the work of Hillary or her campaign. I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I do not know who is responsible for this.

It very well could be the work of the Republican Party or of right wing individuals or organizations, especially the corporations that manufacture the machines that count our votes, program those machines, and oversee their performance in our elections. I say this because it would greatly benefit the Republican Party or any right wing organization to have Hillary rather than Bernie receive the Democratic nomination. Bernie nationally has about a 20% edge over Hillary in favorability ratings, and he polls far better than her in head to head competition against all the major Republican candidates. Not only that, but the more people get to know him the more they like him and approve of his policies, whereas Hillary’s popularity is on the decline and could get a lot worse if an indictment is recommended against her. It would take a lot more election fraud to beat Bernie in a general election than it would take to beat Hillary.

Consider the following evidence of election fraud in the 2016 primaries:

Arizona
In the Arizona 2016 Democratic primary, Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, reduced the number of polling places open on Election Day compared to 2012 from over 200 to 60, and consequently people spent entire work days waiting in line to vote, as voting lines stretched for over half a mile. Undoubtedly, many of them had to leave before voting, in order to avoid missing work.

According to The Maricopa County website statistics Clinton won the early voting part of the election in Maricopa County 118,832 to 71,019, over Sanders, a margin of 66.1% to 33.9%. The Election Day voting, which Bernie won by 19,883 to 12,802, shows us two very significant things. First, that Bernie won the voting on Election Day over Clinton by 60.8% to 39.2% in Maricopa County, quite a difference from the early voting margins. And second, it shows us that Election Day voting in Maricopa County accounted for only 14.7% of the total vote.

In addition, there were tons of Democratic voters who were not allowed to vote because election officials claimed that they were not registered as Democrats, even though the voters knew themselves to be registered as Democrats before coming to the polls. An investigation, reported in an article titled: “Anonymous Report: Was Arizona’s Voter Registration Hacked and Changed?”, searched the Internet to find all the claims that they could of voters who were disenfranchised in this way, and they attempted to ascertain their preferred candidate, by phone if they could, and otherwise from the Internet claim. The investigation identified 113 Sanders would-be voters who reported their registration being purged or changed, 2 Clinton would-be voters, and 12 Republican would be-voters.

Keep in mind that this is not the extent of those who were disenfranchised in this way. These are only the claims that Anonymous could find on the Internet. Anonymous gives an example of the extent of the disenfranchisement by pointing to Phoenix (a big part of Maricopa County), which has a Democratic mayor, where 80,000 Republicans voted on Election Day, compared to only 33,000 Democrats.

The purge was clearly targeted at Sanders.

New York
Election Justice USA filed an emergency lawsuit in New York the day before the primary, due to numerous reports by NY voters who had been registered to vote and were either purged completely or had their registration changed from Democrat to Republican or “unaffiliated” without their permission. The lawsuit requests the “immediate restoration” of voting rights for all of those New York voters. Shyla Nelson, spokeswoman for EJUSA, said:

We have heard hundreds of stories, with desperate pleas for help… For these voters to be systematically and erroneously removed from the rolls or prevented from voting in their party of choice is devastating to them personally and has sent a wave of doubt and worry through the voting public.


In New York, more than 120 thousand voters were purged from Brooklyn alone since last fall. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that his office received more than a thousand complaints about the election.

Some have asked why the lawsuit focuses on Democrat voters only, not Republicans. The answer is that all of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Democrats.

Voter purging across the country
But this isn’t limited to New York. According to an article titled “Election Fraud: Why are Voter Registrations Changing?

Huge voter registration problems are plaguing states with closed primaries, leading to allegations of election fraud around the country. People who said they were previously registered Democrat or Republican suddenly found their registrations inactive or their party affiliations dropped, and now they can’t vote in their primary. These problems were a big issue in Arizona, and now they’re being seen in New York, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and more…These baffling voter registration problems seem to be widespread, occurring in states across the nation… The issues seem especially prevalent among Sanders supporters.


Exit poll discrepancies consistently favoring Clinton in the official count compared to exit poll predictions
In 17 of the 19 states where exit polls have been taken for the Democratic primaries this year and are known to the public, they favor Clinton in the official count, compared to what is predicted by the exit polls, usually by substantial amounts. The odds against that happening by chance are astronomical. In New York the discrepancy was 11.6%. For more details on this, see this post in the section “Exit poll discrepancies in the Democratic primaries”.

Sanders has won 12 of 13 caucuses but only 4 of 22 primaries. Clearly it is far more difficult to rig the vote in a caucus than in a primary, because there are so many people there watching the process at a caucus. In primaries, Sanders has done far worse in precincts that are counted electronically than in ones where the vote is hand counted. For example, in Massachusetts, Sanders led by 17% in hand counted precincts, though he lost the election in that state.

Michael Parenti writes:
Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent. Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another. Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes:
Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable.


Dick Morris, who has worked as a political consultant for both major parties, wrote of the massive exit poll discrepancies in the 2004 Presidential election:
Exit polls are almost never wrong… Such surveys are so reliable that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.


Vote tampering revealed by exit poll discrepancies in Georgia in 2003 forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down as President.

And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine — paid for by the Bush administration — exposed election fraud that initially denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency and required another round of voting, which he won. (It’s ironic that that was the same year and month that exit polls revealed Bush’s stealing of the 2004 election – talk about a double standard).

All of this contradicts proclamations by our national corporate news media, which consistently ignores or aggressively criticizes the reliability of exit polls. The reasons for their harsh criticisms are not hard to understand. Our corporate news media are very right wing compared to the American people. Exit poll discrepancies always favor the more conservative candidate in the official count relative to the exit poll predictions. So national TV networks routinely erase all traces of exit poll discrepancies and “adjust” them to fit the official vote count as soon as the votes are tallied. In 2004, nobody would have known of the vast exit poll discrepancies in the Presidential election if not for two vigilant citizens who took screen shots of them before they disappeared forever.

Some of their criticisms have to do with the assertion that exit polls are not performed properly in this country. Are we to believe that the wealthiest country in the world can’t afford to do properly designed exit polls? And if they don’t believe they are accurate, why do our TV networks routinely use them to assist in the calling of elections before the vote is in? For example, the Democratic primary in Maryland was called for Clinton with 0.0% of the vote counted. What do you think they used to call the election so early?

And if exit polls are so inaccurate, why is it that they have been spot on in every Republican primary this year? That begs the question, why aren’t the Republican primaries being rigged? I can only guess at that, but my guess is that whatever right wing group is responsible for this (I strongly suspect that the electronic voting machine companies are involved) doesn’t much care who wins the Republican nomination. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will be just fine with them. But if Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, the current established powers will be extremely unhappy about that because it may take more election fraud than they can manufacture to prevent a Sanders win this November.


My feelings about all this

As I think I have made obvious, I am terribly upset about the state of our government and the election system that put it in power. I am a liberal – meaning that I believe that everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful, deserve the opportunity for a good life. When election systems get corrupted, the chances of electing a government that works for ordinary citizens decline proportionately to the degree of corruption. One could say that for a democracy, its election system is more important than anything else.

I am not at all trying to imply that the massive exit poll discrepancies we’re seeing in the Democratic primaries this year should alone reverse the results of those primaries. I’m just saying that they should serve as screaming red flags which beg for hand counted audits to see how well the hand counts comply with the machine counts that we’re seeing. We’ve already seen substantial discrepancies between hand counts and machine counts in the Chicago audits, which would have been entirely missed if not for the fact that a citizens group observed the initial results of the audit and then observed the auditors change their own hand count to comply with the machine count. Do you think that the auditors did this on their own initiative, or that they did it because of pressure from above?

I am so glad to hear that Bernie will be contesting this election at the Democratic Convention. I believe that he is the only candidate in either party who will fight for the American people above the wealthy corporations that fund the campaigns of so many candidates. We could argue all day about how accurate exit polls are. But would any sane person believe that they are likely to be less accurate than elections results that rely on machines run by right wing private corporations with woefully insufficient government oversight to detect election fraud? I’m not asking anyone to believe without doubt anything I’ve said about the accuracy of exit polls. I’m just asking that we give democracy a chance by doing enough hand counted audits (with citizen oversight) to see how much our black box voting machine counts differ from the intentions of the voters, and that all would-be voters who were wrongfully purged or otherwise prevented from voting be given a chance to vote before the Democratic Party chooses its nominee.
Posted by Time for change | Tue May 3, 2016, 09:53 PM (17 replies)

What is your interpretation of the Chicago audit of Democratic primary election results?

In the Illinois Democratic Primary this year, there was an exit poll discrepancy of 4.1%, with Clinton winning in the official count and Sanders winning the exit poll. Clinton won the official vote count by 2.3%, but the exit polls predicted a Sanders win of 1.7%. That is just background information, but not directly related to the question for this poll:

A group of citizens who watched the auditing of Democratic primary election results in Chicago testified that the results of hand-counted votes from voting machines were changed to match the machines’ electronic counts. For example, in one instance, 21 Sanders votes were erased and 49 Clinton votes were added to the hand count so that it matched the machine count.

If you want to watch the video at the above link of the Chicago Election Board meeting where the citizen testimony took place, it gets interesting at about the 24 minute mark, and the bombshell is dropped at the 30 minute mark.

What is your interpretation of the difference between the machine and the hand counts observed by the above noted citizens’ group:

Posted by Time for change | Sun May 1, 2016, 03:11 PM (15 replies)

Why Dem Primary Anomalies Must Be Thoroughly Investigated Before Choosing a Nominee

Outside of the United States, exit polls are considered the gold standard in monitoring elections around the world. As Michael Parenti writes:

Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent. Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another. Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world.


Yet in our country, whose election system ranks last (47th) among the 47 long established democracies in the world (for a large variety of reasons) exit polls are not used in any way to monitor elections, except by some independent organizations whose findings are routinely ignored by our government.

Our national news media, as well as nationally known polling companies in the United States, either ignore them entirely, even when they provide glaring red flags of possible or likely election fraud, or seek to discredit them in various ways. There seems to be an unwritten rule that to do otherwise will result in serious adverse consequences. For example, when exit polls from the Presidential election of 2004 showed massive discrepancies with the official vote counts (John Kerry winning according to the exit polls, but George W. Bush winning the official count), nationally and in numerous individual states, only one national news figure dared to talk about it – and he did so repeatedly as if the American people deserved to know about it. That national news figure, Keith Olberann, was consequently fired from MSNBC.

Lately, a lot of people have been talking about even worse exit poll discrepancies in the 2016 Democratic primaries (with exit polls favoring Bernie Sanders relative to the official vote counts that favor Hillary Clinton). So what happened in Tuesday night’s primaries? No exit polls are apparently available (except for those that have been “adjusted” to mimic the official results) to argue about in any of the 5 states.

Yet despite all the criticism of exit polls and disavowing of their importance in monitoring elections by our corporate national news media, hypocritically enough, national news organizations routinely use them to call elections early. For example, on Tuesday, Maryland was called for Clinton with 0.0% of the vote in. What do you think they used to call that vote other than an exit poll?


Why are exit poll discrepancies ignored in the United States as a tool for monitoring the integrity of elections?

I can think of two reasons why they are ignored here, both by our national news media and by our government. One reason is somewhat benign (though stupid), and the other is not benign.

The non-benign reason
Our national news media constitutes a monopoly of very wealthy corporations. The consolidation of our national news media into fewer and fewer wealthy owners accelerated in 1996 when Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It is a very right wing monopoly, even when FOX News is not considered. Since severe exit poll discrepancies always favor the more right wing candidate in the official vote count, compared to the exit polls, it is in the financial interest of our corporate national news media not to talk about it, because they almost always favor the right wing candidate.

The same can be said about our government. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have drifted further and further to the right in recent years because of the influence of money in politics, which has reached obscene levels. Even if our relatively liberal members of Congress wanted to talk about election fraud, they rightly fear being castigated by our national news media for doing so. And in the case of Sanders vs. Clinton, we all know who the Democratic Party favors.

The benign reason
Some argue that exit polls are not accurate because they often differ substantially from the official vote count in our country. But that is circular reasoning. When exit polls differ substantially from the official vote count, that clearly means that either the official vote count is wrong or the exit poll is wrong. But it doesn’t say which. That is why they need to be investigated thoroughly for the sake of our democracy. In our country, there is a complete absence of any tendency for our news media or government to acknowledge that election fraud exists. In other words, the official vote count is assumed to be correct, so that means that the exit polls must be wrong. End of story, no need to investigate any further.


Why believe that official vote counts might be wrong when they deviate substantially from exit polls?

A major reason for believing that official vote counts might be wrong when they deviate substantially from exit polls (aside from the known accuracy of exit polls in other countries) is summarized by Parenti as follows:

Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to allow election officials to evaluate the secret voting machine software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it susceptible to fixed outcomes.


To give you an example to how those ties can affect an election, the owner of Diebold, Inc., Wally O’Dell, whose company owned electronic voting machines used in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election, said in 2003: “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its votes to the President (George W. Bush) next year”. And indeed he did.

And, according to the nonpartisan and non-profit organization, Verified Voting:

Far too many states use unreliable and insecure electronic voting machines, and many states have made their situation worse by adding some forms of Internet voting for some voters, which cannot be checked for accuracy at all. Even in states where verifiable systems are used, too often the check on the voting system’s function and accuracy is not done.


That pretty much says it all. But let’s consider some examples to make the effects of all this clearer. There are tons of examples to choose from, but I’ll mention just four here:

Presidential election of 2004 – Ohio
In the Presidential election of 2004, George W. Bush won the official national vote count by 2.5%, while the exit polls indicated a lead by John Kerry of 3.0%, a vast exit poll discrepancy of 5.5%, higher than had ever been seen in a U.S. Presidential election before. The exit poll discrepancies were especially high in the swing states that were thought before the election to be the states most likely to determine the winner. In Ohio, which actually was the deciding state, Bush won the official count by 2.5%, while Kerry won the exit polls by 4.2%, a vast discrepancy of 6.7%, which led to many investigations by independent groups and persons.

Massive voter purging was discovered in Ohio, though there were no consequences to those discoveries. But that finding would not explain the exit poll discrepancies because purged voters are not included in exit polls.

But eventually a perfect explanation was found for the exit poll discrepancy in Ohio. Investigations led to Michael Connell, known as Karl Rove’s “IT guru”. Connell was eventually forced to admit that electronic computers under his control (SmartTech and Triad) were “brought into the Ohio election game”, and he signed a deposition to that effect. Steven Spoonamore, a computer expert and close associate of Connell’s, explained in a sworn affidavit his interpretation of what happened. It is a very long, thorough and technical explanation that ended with:

[blcokquote]The SmartTech computer would as the results of the evening proceeded be able to know how many votes Bush needed to steal from Kerry, and flip enough votes on the desired county tabulators to reverse the outcome of the election…

When it became apparent that Connell would testify, the Ohio lawyer who brought the suit warned the U.S. Justice Department that Connell’s life might be in danger and requested witness protection. Connell never did get to testify. Shortly before he was due to testify, he died in a plane crash, presumably caused by his plane running out of gas.

Presidential election of 2004 – Florida
Florida was another swing state that year that also exhibited a large exit poll discrepancy with the official vote count (the official count in favor of Bush, compared to the exit poll) – 5.0%. But Bush won Florida by enough votes that year that it is unclear whether Kerry would have won the state had he received as many votes as predicted by the exit poll, so Florida didn’t receive as much attention as Ohio did following the election.

In October 2000, Clint Curtis was a computer programmer and life-long Republican who worked for Florida based Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI). According to Curtis’ sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee Democrats in December 2004, while working for YEI he wrote a prototype for a computer program that would switch votes from one candidate to another, at the request of Congressman Tom Feeney, in October, 2000. Believing at the time that the purpose of Feeney’s request was to understand how Democrats might commit election fraud, Curtis complied with the request and presented it to his employer, Mrs. Li Woan Yang. According to Curtis’ sworn affidavit , Mrs. Yang responded by saying “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This code is needed to control the vote in South Florida.” Curtis testified that he believed that the computer program he wrote, or similar one, was used in the 2004 presidential election to switch votes to Bush.

In his affidavit, Curtis also described a meeting he had with Raymond Lemme, an official from the Florida Inspector General’s Office who was charged with investigating Curtis’ earlier allegations. Lemme told Curtis that he (Lemme) had “tracked the corruption all the way to the top”, and that the story would break shortly. But we will probably never know what information Lemme had obtained because he was found dead in the bathtub of a Valdosta, Georgia hotel room two weeks later, July 1, 2003, his arm slashed twice with a razor blade. The Brad Blog thoroughly investigated this case and put forth several reasons to believe that Lemme’s death was not a suicide, as had been ruled by the Valdosta police.

I had the opportunity to meet Curtis in January 2005, when we were both part of a small group organized for the purpose of lobbying the Senate to object to the presidential election results. My role was to present the exit poll data and the relevant statistics and implications, while Curtis’ role was to espouse his belief that the exit poll discrepancy in Florida was due to a computer program similar to the one he wrote, used to manipulate the electronic vote in Florida. I asked him if he was afraid that the same thing might happen to him as happened to Raymond Lemme. He told me that one of his dogs had been killed as a warning to him, but that this issue was too important to him to not proceed to publicize it as best he could.

Presidential election of 2000 – Florida
Those of you who were members of DU when it began will probably remember well the 2000 presidential election in Florida – which determined the winner of the presidential election that year. You will recall that Florida was initially called for Gore after the polls closed there, with much of the vote yet to be counted, and that a little after 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, the call was reversed and went to Bush, which caused our national news media to declare Bush the winner of the presidential election, and then a little later on Wednesday morning, the media again reversed their call to “too close to call”. Our national news media apologized for their two miscalls, and explained it all with the very simplistic phrase of “bad data”. But they didn’t talk in any detail about the reasons for the two miscalls. They are both important to this discussion because they have to do with exit polls AND electronic vote manipulation.

Why was Florida called for Gore so early? The fact is that early election predictions and calls are based on a combination of exit polls and official vote counts. Exit polls measure who the voters think they voted for. Normally voters know who they voted for. But in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2000, a “butterfly ballot” was used for voting for President. The butterfly ballot was very confusing, as Al Gore’s name was listed next to two third party candidates – Patrick Buchanan and Socialist candidate David McReynolds – on the adjacent page, making it difficult to tell which hole punches corresponded to which candidate. This undoubtedly caused many voters who intended to vote for Gore to vote for either Buchanan or McReynolds or one of those candidates plus Gore – in which case the ballot was rejected as an “over-vote”. Later investigations made it clear that this confusion cost Gore thousands of votes (more than enough to win the election) and would also cause an exit poll discrepancy because there were so many voters who thought they had voted for Gore but were ruled by the vote counting machines not to have voted for him.

The basis of the second bad call, which caused the networks to make the call for Bush as having won both Florida and the national election, at 2:16 a.m. on Wednesday, November 8, can be explained by the following report:

Deland, FL, Nov. 11 – Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000 – all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters.


At 2:09 a.m. Volusia County’s erroneous numbers were added to Voter News Service’s tabulations, and less than ten minutes later Florida and the U.S. election were called for Bush. The error in Volusia County had cost Gore (temporarily) 16,021 votes.

Gore’s sudden drop of 16,000 votes (in a precinct with only 600 voters) clearly makes no sense. The error, due to some sort of electronic “malfunction” of one of the machines was quickly discovered and reversed, and that’s why the national news stations reversed their call a second time within a few hours to call the Florida election “too close to call”. Evidence later surfaced that the electronic “malfunction” was probably just one more attempt to steal the election for Bush. But as it turned out it didn’t matter because Bush won the election anyhow, 36 days later, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote recount in Florida, handing the election to Bush.

Illinois Democratic Primary, 2016
In the Illinois Democratic Primary this year, there was an exit poll discrepancy of 4.1%, with Clinton winning in the official count and Sanders winning the exit poll. A group of citizens who watched the auditing of election results in Chicago testified that the results of hand-counted votes from voting machines were changed to match the machines’ false electronic counts. For example, in one instance, 21 Sanders votes were erased and 49 Clinton votes were added.

This testimony is a clear indication of not only electronic manipulation of the vote in Illinois (which obviously could explain the exit poll discrepancy, depending on how extensive it was), but of a cover-up to hide the electronic manipulation with fake audits.


Exit Poll discrepancies in the 2016 Democratic Primaries

I’ve posted data on exit poll discrepancies before. This is a slightly different version from another source, but the results are very similar (small differences probably due to the exact time when the polls were obtained) and the bottom line is the same: In 17 of the 19 states where exit polls have been taken and are known to the public, they favor Clinton in the official count, compared to what is predicted by the exit polls, usually by substantial amounts. The odds against that happening by chance are astronomical. The results in the table below were obtained by Richard Charnin from CNN shortly after poll closing in the states, but before CNN “adjusted” the exit polls to fit the official vote count:

Arkansas: 5.2 in favor of Clinton (official count compared to exit polls)
Alabama: 14.0 in favor of Clinton
Tennessee: 8.3 in favor of Clinton
Virginia: 4.3 in favor of Clinton
Georgia: 12.2 in favor of Clinton
Texas: 9.3 in favor of Clinton
Massachusetts: 8.0 in favor of Clinton
Oklahoma: 6.1 in favor of Sanders
Vermont: 1.1 in favor of Clinton
Mississippi: 9.9 in favor of Clinton
Michigan: 4.6 in favor of Clinton
Ohio: 10.0 in favor of Clinton
Florida: 3.4 in favor of Clinton
North Carolina: 1.7 in favor of Clinton
Illinois: 4.1 in favor of Clinton
Missouri: 3.9 in favor of Clinton
Wisconsin: 1.9 in favor of Sanders
New York: 11.6 in favor of Clinton


Implication of exit poll findings in the 2016 Democratic primaries

These exit poll findings have not occurred in a vacuum, but rather in the context of other anomalies, such as massive voter suppression in Arizonaand New York, as well as anomalies in other states that are still being investigated. In Arizona, an investigation of reports of voters who claimed that when they went to the polls to vote they were told that they were no longer registered as Democrats, so they couldn’t vote, identified 113 Sanders would-be voters and only 2 Clinton would-be voters.

It is also of note that Sanders has won 12 of 13 caucuses but only 4 of 22 primaries. Clearly it is far more difficult to rig the vote in a caucus than in a primary, because there are so many people there watching the process at a caucus. In primaries, Sanders has done far worse in precincts that are counted electronically than in ones where the vote is hand counted. For example, in Massachusetts, Sanders led by 17% in hand counted precincts, though he lost the election in that state.

Fake audits in Illinois, as noted above, were shown by private citizens watching the process, to clearly indicate electronic machine manipulation of the vote in favor of Clinton, as well as a corrupt audit process. Does anyone believe that the election officials conducting the audit changed their hand count to match the machine count on their own initiative, rather than because of pressure from above? Does anyone believe that these kinds of things occurred only in Illinois precincts (and other states) that were audited and observed by private citizens?

We do not know how extensive such machine manipulation of the vote was in Illinois or other states. We do have many exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count that strongly suggest that such occurrences were very extensive – enough so that Bernie Sanders would now have more pledged delegates than Clinton if not for election fraud. Of course, it is possible that the exit poll bias could explain the discrepancies, rather than election fraud. But in a country where right wing private companies provide electronic machines that do most of the vote counting in our elections, with little or no safeguards to ensure that the vote counts are correct, substantial exit poll deviations from the official vote count should be seen as glaring red flags that point at least to the possibility, if not the likelihood of election fraud.

If the Democratic Party cares anything about democracy in our country, they should make sure that these discrepancies are thoroughly investigated, such as with hand counted audits in all states with substantial exit poll discrepancies where that is possible, before they certify a nominee for the general presidential election.

Posted by Time for change | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:11 PM (91 replies)

NY Primary Election Lawyers: This election must not be Certified until there is a clear result

From the Inquisitr:

A week after a scandalous Democratic primary election in the State of New York, New York City’s Board of Elections Executive Director, Michael Ryan, said that he was sorry for the registration errors that resulted in well over 120,000 Democratic voters purged from voter rolls. PBS reported the estimate of New York City Board of Election’s purged registered Democrats in Brooklyn (that is, Brooklyn alone) to be closer to 126,000 voters.

Tuesday, Ryan promised that every single eligible provisional ballot that was cast in New York City last Tuesday would be counted before the election was certified….


I need to comment at this time. That is NOT acceptable. What he is saying is that every eligible provisional ballot will be counted. So who’s going to determine what is an eligible provisional ballot? The same officials who purged 126 thousand voters in Brooklyn alone? Are they going to reinstate their Democratic registration before making that decision? Are they going to say on what basis those voters (the good majority who claim to have been registered Democrats prior to being told they couldn’t vote) were purged before they make their decision?

The article continues:

The Board of Elections also voted to uphold the unpaid suspension of Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the Chief Clerk of Brooklyn, where 37,214 people ended up voting by affidavit. Haslett-Rudiano was blamed for many of the voter registration problems on Election Day. Another 26,131 voters cast their votes by affidavit in the Bronx… Thousands of other voters who believed they were registered left their polling locations after being denied the opportunity to use a regular ballot.


I have more questions about that. Have the votes by affidavit yet been counted in New York’s official results and will they be counted? And what is going to be done about the uncounted thousands of voters who left the polling place without voting at all after being denied the right to vote?

The New York Primary election lawyers also have commented on this issue:

This does not do anything to answer the question whether the Brooklyn Board of Elections will count the provisional ballots. This will never return the right to vote of over 100,000 purged voters. We will continue our fight until all Boards of Elections count the Provisional ballots statewide. This election must not be certified until there is a clear result.


Other reported problems in New York included long lines, broken voting machines at precincts where voters were not given the option to cast their ballots by hand, and exit polls state wide that differed from the official count by 12% (with the official count being 12 points more favorable to Clinton than what the exit polls showed).

When taken together with massive voter suppression in Arizona and an investigation that identified 113 purged Sanders voters and only 2 Clinton voters, an audit in Chicago where a voting machine count favored Clinton, but the hand count favored Sanders, so dozens of votes on the hand count were switched from Clinton to Sanders so that the hand count would match the machine count, huge discrepancies between exit polls and the official vote count that favor Clinton in the official count in every state except one, and investigations going on regarding election “irregularities” in several other states as well, only one conclusion can be made at this time: We have a very long way to go and much investigation to be done before we can have any confidence in the currently reported delegate counts.
Posted by Time for change | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 08:28 PM (2 replies)

How Bernie Could Run as an Independent without Risking a GOP Victory

Bernie Sanders has said that, should he fail to win the Democratic nomination he would not run for President in the general election because he would fear taking votes away from Hillary and risking a Republican victory.

But there is a way to do it, not only without risking a Republican victory, but by decreasing, perhaps substantially, the probability of a Republican victory.

This election is too important for him not to run. It looks like the nominee of both major parties is going to be either a conservative President who is beholding to the wealthy corporate interests that fund their campaigns or (in the case of Donald Trump) a radical right wing nut case. This would leave the vast majority of Americans unrepresented by whoever wins.

Additionally, it is becoming more and more evident that this election is being stolen from Bernie, with massive purging of registered voters, huge deviations of official vote counts from exit polls, and sworn testimony of a fake audit in Chigago, in which the hand counted vote didn’t match the machine count, so the auditors fixed the discrepancy by changing the hand count (which favored Bernie) to match the machine count (which favored Hillary), in order to get rid of the it.

This is very depressing. I have little doubt that if not for election fraud, Bernie would be well on his way to the Democratic nomination by now. But this issue goes way beyond Bernie. If such things are allowed to stand, we have no democracy left.


Why running as an Independent, with certain precautions, will markedly reduce the likelihood of a Republican victory

There are several reasons:

1) Dropping out of states where his presence risks a Republican victory
It has been suggested that Bernie could run only in states that are solidly blue or solidly red. I’m not sure that that alone would assure that the Republican doesn’t win a solidly blue state, if Hillary and Bernie split the vote between them.

However, if polling shows that that is a possibility, Bernie could drop out of the race in those states. Or better yet, whoever is losing in the polling between him and Hillary by a certain date could drop out. In fact, with such a plan he could run in all 50 states, and drop out when and where needed.

2) Bernie would be the only anti-establishment candidate in the race
There is very strong anti-establishment sentiment in this country. This is manifested by record low favorability ratings for Congress in recent years, often dropping down into single digits and rarely rising above 20%, and by negative net favorability ratings of all current Presidential candidates of either party except for Bernie.

Consequently, the vote may be split among the establishment candidates rather than by Party. The likelihood of this happening is especially great because of Bernie’s huge popularity and the fact that both the Democratic and Republican Parties today make up only a minority of our population (26% Republicans, 29% Democrats, and 42% independents).

3) Hillary would be highly vulnerable should she win the Democratic nomination
First we have the fact that she has a net negative favorability rating of minus 14%. Second, there is an impending indictment against her. Should that occur, and many believe it will, that could make her ratings go so negative that she has no chance of winning. Third, Bernie does far better in national head to head polling against any of the Republican candidates than Hillary does. And fourth, I have heard that some have transcripts or videos of her speeches to Wall Street (for which she has received vast amounts of money), and they are waiting for her nomination before releasing them (It would be counterproductive to release them prior to her nomination, because that could prevent her nomination).

4) More exposure for a non-Republican could combine the strengths of both Bernie and Hillary
Bernie has increased his popularity tremendously since announcing his candidacy. He has risen from single digits in national polling of Democrats to draw almost even with Hillary. Add to that the fact that he has much more popularity than Hillary among independents, and we can see why he does so much better than Hillary against potential Republican candidates.

Should they both run simultaneously, more people will get to know him better, and he is likely to rise even further in the polls. Should he or Hillary drop out of states near the end if one or the other is jeopardizing a victory over the Republican by the other, the one would throw their support to the other and thereby add immensely to their vote total. To consolidate that support, they could even agree to make the other one their running mate.


A monumental example of a third party victory that changed our country for the better

The 1860 Presidential race was a time where change was in the air, and the ingrained and evil institution of slavery was the biggest issue of the time. Because of turmoil among the major parties, there were four apparently viable candidates who ran in the election. The Republican Party was the only anti-slavery party, and in fact anti-slavery was the cause that gave birth to their party, which ran its first Presidential candidate four years earlier and made a respectable showing with 33% of the popular vote.

Abe Lincoln was nominated for President by the anti-slavery Republican Party. Two of the other parties that ran that year were highly pro-slavery, and the other just avoided the issue altogether. That made the Republican candidate stand out as running in the only party that was avowedly anti-slavery.

Because of his anti-slavery stance, Lincoln was not even on the ballot in any of the Southern slavery states. But he still managed to win almost 40% of the national vote, and he won the electoral votes of every state in the country that was neither a slavery nor a border slavery state.

I have heard many people say that the Civil War was fought not to abolish slavery, but to save the Union, i.e. prevent our country from disintegrating. That statement is only partially true, because the only reason that the Union threatened to disintegrate was over the slavery issue. Abe Lincoln had been passionately against slavery all of his adult life (though he was careful about how he worded the issue in campaign speeches). The Civil War was fought because the South attempted to secede from the Union because they could not tolerate a Party in power as anti-slavery as the Republican Party or a President as anti-slavery as Lincoln. As we all know, the Civil War ended that horrible stain on our country (though anti-black policies and laws continued to plague our country as they still do today).


The issue of election fraud in our country

I have little doubt that Bernie would win the presidency in a fair election, whether it be a two way or a three way race. He is truly a political phenomenon. However, there are numerous examples of election fraud in our country in recent years, and it always favors the more conservative, pro-establishment candidate. This is an issue that needs to be addressed vigorously no matter who runs. If Bernie runs, either as a Democrat or an Independent, he needs to take this issue very seriously and devote large amounts of his campaign money to lawyers and IT people who can figure out how to prevent it from ruining the election, as it has so far tremendously hurt his Democratic primary campaign, except in caucus states, where fraud is so much more difficult to pull off. His own staff needs to do that because, sadly, neither our own government nor our national news media takes this issue seriously. That is why our country’s election system is rated last among Western democracies.


A petition

There is a petition circulating at another site that I belong to, urging Bernie to run as an independent. It has 13,391 signatures so far. I am not including it in this post because it doesn’t contain an option to comment on safeguards (against making a Republican victory more likely) such as those that I mentioned above, even though the author of the petition discussed some of those safeguards in his or her post and in the petition itself. I have suggested that s/he add that option to the petition, and if that happens I will get back with you all about it.
Posted by Time for change | Mon Apr 25, 2016, 09:46 PM (57 replies)

Charles Koch: It's possible Clinton would be a better president than a Republican

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/277410-charles-koch-its-possible-clinton-would-be-better-president-than-a#.VxwJq_-iVtc.facebook

I'm posting this because I believe that this semi-endorsement contains a message that Democrats who haven't yet voted in a primary should consider. Interpret it as you like.
Posted by Time for change | Sun Apr 24, 2016, 11:11 AM (40 replies)
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