My friend John Nichols writes glowingly of labor’s “smart” new plan “to build on the protest
and politics model developed in Wisconsin, where mass protests against anti-labor 
initiatives signaled an opening for labor to go on the offensive.” Meanwhile, “key unions
will be putting all their political money into state and local races and related projects.”

What this means, John writes, is that the major unions, like the AFL-CIO, are now into  “changing the way labor practices politics. And that’s a very good thing.”

Now, John lives in Madison, and reports from there voluminously, so he surely knows way more about Wisconsin politics than I can ever hope to learn. But I do my best to follow what’s been happening there; and I have to say I haven’t seen a shred of evidence that labor in that ravaged state has actually accomplished anything aside from getting creamed by Walker and his goons. 

I know the public workers mounted a terrific and inspiring protest in the statehouse (until Walker shut the building down); I know, because I did my level best to build support for it from out here in New York. But that big demonstration is no basis for a “smart” new politics, because it was a demonstration only—while Walker and his goons have seized real power; and they’re now using it, so far successfully, to turn Wisconsin into hell on earth for working people and the unemployed, and heaven for the likes of David Koch.

So I don’t know what planet John is living on, that he regards it as “a very good thing” that the unions are now following “the protest and politics model developed in Wisconsin.” For that matter, I’m not sure what he means by a “protest and politics model,” because I don’t see where any politics comes into it, if all the workers did in Madison was protest. Certainly they didn’t win politically—although it briefly looked as if they did, when Joanne Kloppenburg appeared to win (and very probably DID win) her election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (In that brief moment of her victory, John and others on the left fired off triumphant blogs about it having been a “referendum victory” for “the people.”)  But then—as usual—the GOP came up with tons of votes that put Dave Prosser in the lead; and after that, we had a “recount” that—as usual—was marked by gross irregularities, which nearly everyone—left, right and center—totally ignored. 

So now, officially, Dave Prosser “won” it after all—a highly dubious “win,” to say the least. And yet there’s now near-total silence on the left, as none of those who trumpeted the “referendum” won by Joanne Kloppenburg are saying anything about the possibility that she was robbed. John Nichols isn’t saying anything, nor are those unions with their “smart” new plans for “changing the way labor practices politics.” Nor is The Nation (which ran John’s piece) saying anything about it—as usual, that journal having long dismissed all talk about election fraud as so much lunatic “conspiracy theory.”

What’s really crazy here, however, isn’t the attempt to talk about election fraud: on the contrary. What’s crazy here is a celebratory article about the unions’ “smart” plans for the next election—without any mention of the GOP’s ferocious and successful legislative push to block as many Democratic votes as possible (a push that finally came to shove on Friday); and also with no mention of the well-established fact that the e-voting systems used throughout the state (and every other state) are non-transparent, easily hackable, and wholly owned and run by private companies  affiliated closely with the GOP. 

How the unions are supposed to win elections—even by “putting all their political money into state and local races”—-when the system’s been so thoroughly rigged by their (let’s call a spade a spade) staunch neo-fascist enemies is a question John and others on the left won’t even entertain, much less attempt to answer. (I know, because I’ve asked them time and time again.) The fact is that they simply will not, and/or cannot, face it—not John Nichols, not The Nation, not Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO; and there are many others on the left (like Michael Moore) who just won’t face it, either. In that weird refusal those good leftists are no different from the corporate Democrats, or the corporate media, who just as stubbornly refuse to  face it, too.

So what the left believes, apparently, is that, although the GOP has used both vote suppression and election fraud to “win” time after time since Florida 2000 (which, in fact, Gore won, it turned out one year later), somehow things will be work out fine for them THIS time—whether it’s the recall elections in Wisconsin this July, or the “budget referendum” that Ohio progressives want on the ballot in November, or whatever other race they tell themselves they’ll surely win, if they just do enough “smart” protesting, organizing, rallying, fund-raising and getting out the vote. 

That is not a “smart new game plan” but a profile of insanity; and if the left does not get over it, this collapsing country never will get well. The only way we can reclaim, and start to realize, the promise of American democracy, is to confront the fact that our election system has been hijacked by the right, whose platform is far too extreme for them ever to win real majority support. Only then can we begin to talk about what’s needed to democratize the USA at last, before the whip comes down on all of us, and then the curtain falls at last. 

MCM   

AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka on the Post-Wisconsin Game Plan
John Nichols
May 20, 2011

Last week in The Nation, we looked at one of the most positive trends in recent labor history: a pattern of
unions signaling that they will put more of their “political” money into grassroots organizing and coalition building – as opposed to to simply placing the movement’s financial and foot-soldier resources at the service of whatever Democratic candidate happens to be on the ballot.

Unions such as the Service Employees and National Nurses United are investing in smart, grassroots
projects in the states – seeking to build on the protest and politics model developed in Wisconsin, where mass protests against anti-labor initiatives signaled an opening for labor to go on the offensive. At the same time, key unions such as the Firefighters have signaled that, because of their disappointment with Republicans and Democrats at the federal level, they will be putting all their political money into state and local races and related projects.

Now, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is stepping up with a plan for unions to declare “independence” and
back candidates – no matter what their party affiliation – who are committed to support workers and their unions.

Read more.



15 Comments to “Despite election fraud and vote suppression by the GOP, Big Labor plans to win elections (in their dreams)”

  • Thank You!
    I have been making comments at different sites and often say something like;
    We can protest, march, write letters and make calls but it means little as long as our votes are counted by machines manufactured, programmed and serviced by hard-right republican supporting companies with an agenda.
    I often ask others to check out your site as well as a few more that promote hand counted paper ballots.
    I thank you again with a standing ovation.
    Peace

  • Thanks, Susan. Keep spreading the word.

  • What? You write “And yet there’s now near-total silence on the left, as none of those who trumpeted the ‘referendum’ won by Joanne Kloppenburg are saying anything about the possibility that she was robbed.” I don’t know what planet you’re on…but on mine, all the WI lefty Facebook pages are full of exactly such discussion, and The Brad Blog has been covering it extensively.

    That said, you’re certainly correct that more needs to be done to kill Republican election theft. But I think you can say that without pretending (or being unaware) that many of us here in WI are well aware of the problem.

  • Brad has certainly been covering it extensively. (We share a lot of information.) And I’m
    delighted that the WI lefty Facebook pages are responding to it.

    But I was thinking more specifically of Nichols and Matt Rothschild (and the blogger
    Bold Progressives), who all rushed out triumphant blogs re: Kloppenburg’s great victory,
    but then fell silent in the aftermath, as far I could see. And I was also thinking of those unions celebrated in John Nichols’ piece, and clearly _they_ don’t get it.

    In short, I certainly did not intend to disrespect those people in Wisconsin who do get it,
    and who do discuss it. (Some of them have been my sources.) Rather, my point was to call broad attention to that “near-total silence on the left”—i.e., the US left in general, and not just some perceptive lefties in Wisconsin.

  • Dear Mark,

    What might happen if every Progressive website, liberal news organization, blog, labor union site, every local Democrat club, etc. devoted just one week to outing the real voter fraud in this country? Mark, what about it? Would it be possible to even organize somrthing on such a grand scale? How many could we reach, educate and motivate? I don’t have alot of contacts, but I have a few.

    If we all coordinated this effort together and planned it for the same week, maybe we could accomplish something positive! Maybe I am naive, but even so, I am willing to help get the message out.

    Jillian

  • Jillian, that’s just it. They won’t it do it, unless something so egregious finally happens that it snaps them out of it. Thing is, there’ve been several such outrageous steals already, yet they’ve all continued to sit quiet.

    Since it’s been impossible to get most of the progressive sites, orgs, blog, unions, clubs (etc.) even to discuss the issue, I don’t see how one more week of urging them to stand together on it could succeed.

    In other words, its premature. We’d have to build _toward_ such solidarity by getting left denialists to wake up one by one.

  • Thanks, Mark!

    You must get so tired! We can’t stop this if we don’t even speak of it. Well, I for one, am going to continue to beat my head against the brick wall. Sad, the GOP and the corporations seem to have it all sown up, aided by silent, willing sheep who dare to call themselves truth telling progressives.

    Disgusts me!

  • remarkable how loud the silence is after an election is stolen right out from under our noses. not even ONE PHOTO of the torn and taped ballot bags in ANY newspaper, local or otherwise. the word “anomalies” is a euphemism so crazy – what species would use that word for “hard evidence” that should be sequestered and subjected to a forensic investigation. and why there’s no one in hand-cuffs in waukesha county (and dane county) right now is just beyond belief. thanks for your article. it hits a nerve because it is the sad truth. many sleepless nights in hartland, wisconsin.

  • For Jillian, below is something I just posted at one of the AlterNet articles covering the WI voter ID bill. I have been doing this for several months now trying to get others to talk about this and to get the information out there. I have noticed a nice increase in the comments concerning election fraud. I am not sure if you would like to take action in this way but I would welcome more voices.
    I often post something like this when there is something from a media person. I ask for their reasons for not addressing voter fraud.
    I think that there are many that would like to do something but just don’t know what to do. I have asked about a progressive group to counter ALEC but have not found anything.
    Apologies to Mark and others for this long post.
    Susan (Sark)
    Voter fraud and election fraud are two different things.
    _The Myth of Voter Fraud_ is an excellent book that addresses this non-problem. You can check out parts of it at Amazon.
    Election fraud is a problem and citizens need to wake up and address this before it really does become too late. I would like to know the reason for the so called progressive and liberal organizations refusing to address this well documented problem. As long as the hard-right companies manufacture, program and service the machines that count the votes, they will be able to assure that the balance of power remains with the hard-right wing.
    Daily there are groups asking for donations, letter writing, making phone calls and signing petitions about various progressive causes for social, economic and environmental justice. I think that if these organizations truly worked for elections where the votes were actually counted as cast, they would have much more success with their causes. Sure there is the occasional victory but I often think that is part of a well-planned to divert attention from the corrupt voting systems used in this country.
    Please check out the following( not is any particular order of preference).Also check out the links at these sites. We must come together on this and do something to make sure our votes are counted as cast. Then our voices will actually count and be heard by those truly elected to serve the people.
    BradBloghttp://www.bradblog.co…
    Center for hand counted Paper Ballotshttp://www.handcountedp…
    Mark Crispin Miller
    http://markcrispinmiller.com/
    Richard Charnin (note- I do not agree with him about the use of machines in the voting process but his election data is excellent.)
    http://richardcharnin.com/
    Election Defense Alliance
    http://electiondefensealliance
    Velvet Revolution
    http://www.velvetrevolution.us
    Peace,
    Sark

  • Mark, I believe what you said in the article is true. So I am surprised by the Democratic upset last night in the New York 26th. I suspected it would be stolen. Yet the Democrat was declared the winner with a 48-43 % margin. I know the Republicans have a court order to prohibit the election from being certified until?????. Your take on this please.

  • The turnout was enormous, as the Times reports today—people coming out in
    “overwhelming numbers” to vote, essentially, for Medicare. High turnout of that
    kind makes it harder to steal elections.

    Moreover, the control of the machinery varies from state to state, which means
    that there’s no monolithic “they” who just run everything at once. Whether the same
    thing would have happened in, say, Tennessee or Alabama (or Wisconsin) is
    uncertain.

  • Again, for Jillian
    Many sites are reporting about Michael Moore’s appearing on The Last Word yesterday.
    I have been posting the following at some places as well as sending it to Moore.

    I would like for Michael Moore to take off his tin foil hat when it comes to the integrity of our elections and election fraud. He has a very public voice that he could use to address the very real fact that our votes are counted using machines manufactured, programmed and serviced by hard-right companies with an agenda.
    These machines produce the outcome their makes want no matter what the citizens vote.

    What is it going to take to get citizens to realize that until we have our votes counted as cast, the right will maintain control of the balance of power. We can march, protest, write letters and make phone calls but it matters little as long as the counting of votes is done in secret by these machines
    .
    What is it going to take to get Michael Moore to truly do what is best for the people and speak out about election fraud? Please Mr. Moore, use your voice. You have to know the truth about this. What is keeping you silent? Maybe if you took off your tin foil hat we could make some progress in social, economic and environmental justice.
    Peace,
    Sark

  • High turnout can make election theft more difficult…but as we saw in heavily Republican Waukesha County in Wisconsin, it can also make masking “irregularities” easier: heavy turnout in heavily partisan districts means fewer bogus votes free-ride along with the expected partisan numbers, and very high turnout is hard to distinguish from moderately high turnout, without investigation. Of course, reporting turnout higher than actuality can also do wonders…as rather anomalous numbers from Waukesha Co. in 2006 (98% turnout reported?!? higher than many places with mandatory voting, such as Australia?) suggest.

    But it’s certainly true that if a district is more balanced in its electoral demographics between parties, the more voters show up on both sides, the harder it is to game results.

  • Thank you, Susan, for taking the time. Have gone to some of the sites you offered. I am going to start posting comments the same way you do. I visit SO many sites every day, but this is the one I always read faithfully. Mark is right! People will not stand up! You are right, also, to suggest that Michael Moore needs to exert some of his influence.

    We apparently both watch MSNBC…

    Jillian

  • Too many voters have been lulled into a false sense of security regarding electronic voting machines for three reasons:

    1) We’ve all grown accustomed to expecting accuracy from our banking institutions and ATM machines and, therefore assume that electronic voting affords a similar level of accuracy and cyber security. WRONG! Banks and financial institutions spend mega bucks to hire computer specialists who are trained to safe-guard their networks from hackers. Our government does not. It cannot. Why? Because the source code in our voting machines is considered a “trade secret” by the third party private companies who manufacture, sell and maintain the voting machines we use. No citizen, government entity or private watchdog group is permitted to review it for flaws or check to see if it may have been hacked or maliciously modified. Those very same companies have long standing, very well documented ties to the GOP. [See TheLandesReport.com — http://www.thelandesreport.com/VotingMachineCompanies.htm or BlackBoxVoting.org]

    (2) Voters often assume that in the event of a recount, their paper ballots and the paper tape on their electronic voting machines will be used to verify actual voter intent. WRONG AGAIN!
    Paper ballots (not votes) are counted very carefully to ensure that the number of ballots matches the number of voters who reported to the polling place. But then those same ballots are fed back into an electronic voting machine to tally the actual votes. [See Wisconsin GAB Recount Manual –http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/publication/65/recount_manual_23968.pdf]

    Wisconsin’s rules and regulations related to counting votes during a recount do not allow for a manual count of the actual votes unless “convincing evidence exists which indicates the exact actual total number of votes cast” is different from the number recorded on the voting machine. Note that the language refers to “total number of votes cast”, but does not address the number of votes cast for a given candidate. If canvassers were permitted to make a visual count of the actual votes cast for each candidate, we would be able to ascertain with 100% accuracy whether or not the vote tally reported by the machine matches that on the ballots.

    3) Voters find false comfort in knowing that logic and accuracy tests are conducted before an election. While the machine may – indeed MUST — test out perfectly during the testing process, that does not guarantee that it will work just as perfectly during an actual election. The logic and accuracy tests and actual election processes are two different animals. Malicious code changes made to the actual election source code are unlikely to be detected by a typical logic and accuracy test. [See Brennan Center for Justice report “Voting System Failures: A Database Solution” (09/13/10)]

    So, what can we “average citizens” do about this? Plenty!

    1) Learn all you can about the machines used in your county, including any history of glitches or malfunctions. [See Verified Voting.org (for ’04-09), or Google ‘voting machine glitches’ for the machines used in your county]

    2) Learn as much as you can about the process used in your county not only during an election, but also in the event of a recount. [See Wisconsin Recount Manual: http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/publication/65/recount_manual_23968.pdf and Wisconsin Law Library: http://wilawlibrary.gov/topics/politics.php ]

    3) Conduct a “citizen audit” at your polling place on election day to verify election results and document complaints. [http://www.counttheballots.org/audits.htm]

    4) Share what you’ve learned via social media networks.

    5) DON”T GIVE UP! Our democracy needs you!!!

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