Romneyites pushing another “values voter” charade?
by Steve Schneider
last updated October 17th, 7:15am EST
Exclusive to News from Underground
While election watchdogs focus on voter-ID laws and other suppression tactics, evidence is mounting that the right wing may be attempting to cover for a stolen race by positing another bogus upswing in the participation of conservative Christians.
In 2004, George W. Bush’s surprising “victory” over John Kerry was attributed largely to an influx of evangelicals who had ostensibly sat out the 2000 contest yet had somehow been motivated to cast their ballots for Bush four years later. Karl Rove put the figure at some 4 million — an estimate that was on the one hand highly improbable, and on the other didn’t even come close to accounting for the 11.5-million-vote improvement the Bush side was said to have enjoyed overall from 2000 to 2004. (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6392)
Sure enough, a survey by the Pew Research Center showed that the rise in evangelical votes for Bush in 2004 had only amounted to 9 percent; the influence of other mitigating factors (like increased voter turnout overall) meant that this voting bloc had ended up accounting for 40 percent of his support — the same percentage as in 2000. (Mark Crispin Miller, Fooled Again, 2005, pp.3-4)
Yet the fundamentalist explanation for Bush’s alleged electoral triumph went mostly unchallenged, quickly passing into accepted wisdom as the mainstream media ignored the copious evidence of election fraud that was a far likelier cause of Kerry’s 11th-hour “defeat.”
This election cycle has already seen a similar canard raise its head, albeit in a dramatically exaggerated form. Last June, Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed told Newsmax that he wanted to see Mitt Romney garner the votes of an alleged 17 million right-wing Christians who had refrained from supporting the 2008 McCain ticket. Such a deep pool of prodigals would, of course, dwarf Rove’s comparatively paltry 4 million of just eight years earlier. In addition, Reed apparently offered no explanation as to why so many of the faithful would have sat out an election in which fundamentalist darling Sarah Palin was on the ballot.
More recently, on Oct. 9, the Fox News site posted an op-ed by Libertarian National Campaign Committee chairman and self-professed Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root, who upped the ante even further: Twenty million evangelicals, he said, had not voted in 2008, but would do so this time in order to defeat “the most anti-Christian president in US history.” Whatever might account for the 3-million-voter discrepancy between his and Reed’s calculus went as unexplained as the sources each had used. Instead, for evidence that his predictions were valid, Root pointed to the outpouring of support the Chick-fil-A chain received after its President and COO, Dan Cathy, caught flak for expressing his opinion that gay marriage offends God. (A reminder: Chick-fil-A provided no sales figures to validate its claim of record turnout.) (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/09/romney-will-win-in-landslide-las-vegas-oddsmaker-doubles-down-on-prediction/)
If past evidence is any indication, such Christian-surge scenarios will continue to be suggested until Election Day (and maybe even after, especially if Romney is declared the victor). If the numbers thrown around remain sky-high, improbable and unsupported by hard data, so will the likelihood persist that the GOP and its fellow travelers are relying on a proven smokescreen to obscure an ongoing campaign of disenfranchisement and electronic vote-tallying malfeasance.