Tag Archives: elections

The Bolivian Election Mystery

New Orleans       In the United States now we wait and watch while President Trump stoops to historically new lows in trying to subvert the vote of the people and resist the inevitable that he lost the election to Biden at the Electoral College and by a more than a five million vote drubbing.  Having failed to game the court system with manufactured instances of voter fraud where he is unable to produce evidence, Trump is now resorting to the dirty trick bag of dictators.

Two hyper-partisan Republican election commissioners in Detroit at first tried to refuse to certify the election there in an act that seemed to be blatant racism, and certainly baseless, and then recanted after voters and state officials went crazy at their action.  Trump called them personally to get them to recant again with an affidavit, but the state continues to move to certify,  so he can sue if he wants.  Even more outrageous, he has invited Michigan Republican leaders to the White House to arm twist them to get the party-controlled legislature to send delegates on his slate to the Electoral College.  The Republican head of the state senate seems to be saying this is poppycock, but it just establishes how obsessed Trump is that he thinks he can steal an election in plain sight.

If you want to steal an election, you need to have a very tight plan before the votes are counted, not afterwards when everyone already knows the results.  This is election fraud 101.  In Honduras most recently, the president was losing badly and then, suddenly, no results were reported overnight, and when they began again, he was magically reelected.  He had been the beneficiary of a golpista, so he had the support of the military and others for this outrage.  Not so, Trump.

A bigger mystery is Bolivia.  The Organizers Forum visited there several years ago, so we have followed events in that country since then.  Evo Morales was trying for a fourth term.  He had been widely supported as the first indigenous president and had delivered in many areas including reducing poverty.  In the election, he was barely trailing and vote-counting was suspended.  When it resumed the next day, Evo barely eked out a victory. The Organization of American States reported election irregularities.  There were massive protests for weeks, and Morales went into exile in Mexico.  Another election has now occurred.  Morales’ party won, and he has returned.  The question remains.  Was their voter fraud last time?

This gets interesting.  I tried to track down Francisco Rodriguez who was one of the authors of a report that indicated there likely wasn’t fraud.  He was supposedly at Tulane, but repeated inquires to his website and the university were fruitless.  The report had focused on late-counted votes from rural areas and the results of “methodological and coding errors” that stress the “importance of documenting innocuous explanations for differences in early-and late-counted votes.”  In other words, in Evo’s case, he may have won, but also may have delayed the count creating havoc, rather than fraud.

Either way, if Trump were willing to learn lessons, trying to steal an election after the voting is underway and the tally is known is impossible.  His own Republican Party has known this for years, which is why they specialize in voter suppression in order to subvert the election before the count.  After the count, it’s too late, and people everywhere are in the streets to make sure their will is followed, unless of course the military is willing to force the issues.  The US military has made it clear that they will follow the Constitution, not the President, so we are luckier than our southern neighbors.

It’s a sad situation, but one where we are fortunate to know the outcome already.

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Running from Race is Hard in the Presidential Race

New Orleans       It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, so what better time to talk about the still unresolved, raw issues around race that continue more than 150 years after his death.  Evidence abounds that you can’t run from issues around race, as we examine increased scrutiny of Democratic presidential candidates, and their forced confrontations with the issue to their peril.

Former Mayor Peter Buttigieg has borne the brunt of a number of recent commentaries over his comments late in his term in the small city of South Bend, Indiana that he was surprised to find the level of segregation in the local schools.  A racialized killing involving a cop brought him off the campaign trail while he was still mayor to deal with the crisis to less than rave reviews.  His abysmal polling at around 6.6% in the latest 538 summary indicates he’s a very tough sell outside of the white castles of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar is having to answer questions about her time as prosecuting attorney in the Twin Cities and her role in the conviction of an African-American teenager that remains a controversy.  Her law and order claims have had to confront questions about how she handled race in the overwhelmingly white St. Paul / Minneapolis area.  Another white settlement in the spotlight problem.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appropriately finding it hard to paper over the years of damage his top-of-his-lungs advocacy of destructively racist stop-and-frisk policies by the police with a simple apology.  The fact that it was racial profiling is beyond debate.  The fact that it led to huge incarceration rates of black and brown New Yorkers during his many terms in office is also beyond dispute.  Millions of dollars in television ads has bought him a 7.8% showing in South Carolina so far, just as billionaire Tom Steyer’s millions have him now standing at 10%, but those numbers don’t indicate that all is forgiven, all is forgotten.

Senator Bernie Sanders faces some of the same dilemma with all of his political experience coming from snow white Vermont.  The Census Bureau still classifies Vermont as the whitest state in the country with somewhere between 95 and 96% of the population easily lost in the winter there.  In Vermont, it’s a white-in, not a white-out, when a winter storm breaks.  Sanders has worked hard to offset his inexperience with race, and his experience in the primaries in 2016 and now again in 2020 shows that he has made some progress perhaps but still runs far behind former Vice-President Joe Biden, who has dealt with race by embracing President Obama in a bearhug and constantly citing their eight years together.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren isn’t having to sweep up mountains of problems in her past record, but clearly has not been able to catch fire with African-American voters yet either.  She may continue to be damaged in the kerfuffle of her claims to Native American heritage there.

African-Americans are the largest, most unified voting block in the Democratic Party.  Ambition may trump everything else, but how can any candidate believe they can win in the primaries or against Trump without uniting black votes and dealing aggressively in every way possible with the issues of race?

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