From Jonathan Simon:
I very much doubt that Elaine is correct in her specific suspicion that the Dems have been doing computerized vote rigging themselves in the primaries. For one thing I’m pretty sure Diebold and ES&S won’t dance for the Dems. For another, if the Dems had the capacity to rig the primaries, they would have had the capacity to counter-rig the general election computers and we saw no eivdence of that. Much more likely that the Republicans, or the right, found an opportunity to cherry pick their opponents in places like Florida (for Jeb ) and in the presidential primaries. If you own the voting machines for all elections, why draw the line at elections in which “your” candidates are participants?
I think Jim is closer to the mark with his Dumb Dems theory. But Elaine has a general point that incumbency, even in the minority, is very sensitive to any systemic upheaval, and the Dems have been highly protective of their minority status, allowing their power to be eroded gradually rather than risking any radical change. A quick visit to Washington, especially a day or two in the House and Senate Office Bldgs., will give you a feel for what I mean: we may think in terms of winning votes on major policy initiatives and appointments, they think in terms of corner offices, desirable floors, and constituent services. These they are allowed to keep and, believe it or not, this sop makes them very unwilling to rock the boat.
The other missing piece is the awesome power of the MSM and spin: once the “sanity” line is drawn (“oh come on, that could never happen here”) it becomes very hard to cross without paying the ultimate price of marginalization and ridicule. Consider that Gore had a very obviously winning argument on the facts in 2000 and was nonetheless painted effectively as a “sore loser” and an impediment to the stability and security of the nation–and this was before 9-11.
Any individual Democrat that attempted to give serious play to the rigged elections charge would simply be Gored, unless they could bring forth the hard, indisputable evidence. The beauty of computerized vote rigging is that this evidence is very difficult to produce. Indirect evidence, such as exit polls, can be spun into oblivion. Keep in mind always that the impact of the truth is feared to be devastating (as with personal matters, the supposedly dreadful truth casts a shadow much larger than itself), to the point that, like Oedipus, we don’t really want to know. I’d recommend reading a very short story by William Carlos Williams entitled “The Use Of Force.” It’s about a little girl fighting desperately and unknowingly to keep a doctor from prying open her throat to reveal the early signs of diphtheria (fatal, at the time). Gives a good feel for what we’re up against.
To call for investigation would do very little good (consider, e.g., Conyers) because the real investigatory muscle is with the Republicans; at best you get a whitewash like Carter-Baker. It would take a full-court press, a political boycott of epic proportions, a united stand of “we won’t play until this shit is cleaned up” to get anywhere, and this is asking way too much of those still seated in power, for whom the system can still be seen to be working. So merrily we roll along, roll along. . . No answer, just an interpretation.–Jonathan