Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Election was rigged: It favored Trump

By Tom Maertens
Nov 26, 2016
Mankato Free Press

More than two weeks after the election, there are still several million uncounted paper ballots, according to the Cook Political Report, principally in California.

Hillary Clinton currently leads the popular vote by 2 million; MPR estimates that her national vote margin could be in excess of 2.5 million. Percentage-wise, this is greater than that of seven candidates who won the presidency, including Kennedy and Nixon, and is roughly in line with George W. Bush’s victory over John Kerry in 2004.

Despite Clinton winning the popular vote by a wide margin, Trump will be elected president in the Electoral College, a system set up when slaveholders dominated the constitutional convention that led to the election of eight slaveholders among the first 10 presidents.

Donald Trump repeatedly said during the campaign that the election was rigged: it was — in his favor.

Civil rights advocates have long charged that the Republican Party instituted voter suppression laws in states where it controlled both the legislative and executive branches. These included restrictions on voting hours, closing polling places, and passing restrictive voter ID laws — allegedly because of rampant in-person vote fraud, which is completely false.

This program was facilitated by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which made Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) inoperable. That ruling freed states previously found to have engaged in systematic vote suppression from the obligation to submit proposed changes to their voting procedures to the Department of Justice.

Following “Holder,” 868 polling stations were closed throughout the South, overwhelmingly in poor or mostly black areas.

The investigative journalist Greg Palast, along with his co-author, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has written about Interstate Crosscheck, a program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to ferret out double registration or double voting in 30 different states.

Palast’s investigation in Rolling Stone found that Interstate Crosscheck wrongly targets people with African-American, Latino and Asian names for suspicion of double voting. In addition, although it is supposed to match first, middle and last name, plus birth dates, along with the last four digits of a Social Security number, Palast found that a quarter of the listed names on the state rolls lacked a middle-name match, that the system ignored designations of Jr. and Sr., and that Social Security numbers weren’t included on any of the lists he obtained.

One tally found that while the program flagged 7.2 million possible double registrants, no more than four voters were charged with deliberate double registration or double voting.

Palast believes that the Crosscheck system wrongly purged some 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls, including 449,922 in Michigan (Trump won by 13,107); 270,824 in Arizona (Trump won there by 85,257); and 589,393 in North Carolina (Trump won by 177,008).

Republicans also systematically gerrymandered voting districts to favor Republican candidates, as in Wisconsin, where Democrats won 51 percent of the votes but Republicans got 60 percent of the seats. Federal courts reversed some of those laws, including in North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The election was also rigged by Russian intervention, using their catspaw, Wikileaks. The intelligence community, private cyber security experts and Microsoft all believe that Russia was almost surely behind the hacking of Democratic emails — which Trump encouraged — and then WikiLeaks released. Nothing particularly scandalous emerged, except that politicians engage in politics, but the Russians correctly judged the news media hoopla that resulted.

New York magazine reports that several voting-rights attorneys and cyber security experts believe they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked, as well.

Most ominously, the election was rigged by FBI Director James Comey, who put his thumb on the scale repeatedly during the election. As the Washington Post wrote, “First, the FBI director, James B. Comey, put himself enthusiastically forward as the arbiter of not only whether to prosecute a criminal case — which is not the job of the FBI — but also best practices in the handling of email and other matters.”

Additionally, pro-Trump agents within the FBI put out the false claim that the FBI was preparing to indict Clinton.

These stories were hyped by the partisan media, including Fox News, which blared the claims for days, before they were retracted. But as the ubiquitous Kellyanne Conway remarked, “The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.”

What we can expect, now that the Republicans will control all of the levers of power in Washington, is that they will take their voter suppression campaign national.

Tom Maertens served as National Security Council director for nonproliferation and homeland defense under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and as deputy coordinator for counter-terrorism in the State Department during and after 9/11. He lives in Mankato.

(Original here.)

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