The Cure to This Russia Foolishness in Congress: Hand-Counted Ballots in Elections

Updated on May 13, 2017

The remarkable thing about Russiagate is not that it is a blatantly politicized attack by one of the branches of government on another, but that the pretexts are so flimsy. Many people want to impeach Trump, and maybe he should be. But it should be for the right reasons.

As it stands, the general narrative goes something like this: We want you to be mad at the Russians for influencing our election, by exposing our corruption. Even though there is no hard evidence they did influence the election, or that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia.. Not only is there no hard evidence, the person who would know, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who received the email leaks in question in the first place, says flat-out the emails were not given to him by the Russians. Are we supposed to not remember?

We are used to being hoodwinked, but come on, put a little work into it.

Watergate, at least, involved a genuine violation of Constitutional rights, those of whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, when Richard Nixon's personal goon squad broke into his psychiatrist's office at the Watergate Hotel in search of something to blackmail Ellsberg with.

Whatever the verdict of history may be, it cannot be said that Watergate was not real. Russiagate, on other hand, is a gossamer edifice built on an foundation of sand, guarded by unicorns. The only evidence which has been presented is the innuendo of thoroughly politicized officials in thoroughly politicized agencies, reported by a thoroughly politicized mainstream media.

What is askew here is, in a functioning democracy, politicians might fear the consequences of participating in such a transparently ungrounded sideshow. They might fear going home and not getting re-elected. No more best health insurance in the world, cushy office, fawning and flattery, and the best liquor, women, and maybe call-boys money can buy.

But this is now not a problem, because elections are something that can be delivered, just as it was to Clinton protege Debbie Wasserman-Schultz against Bernie Sanders maverick Tim Canova, the results of which were called “potentially implausible” by statisticians. Dr. Fritz Scheuren, a member of the statistics faculty at George Washington University, and a former president of the American Statistical Association, said of an analysis of the Florida results:

"What you show are results that could have been manipulated to get to this graph.”

Dr. Scheuren recommended a hand-count of ballots in the Wasserman-Schultz - Canova race, which were counted by vote-counting machine on election night. Scheuren said recounts should begin in precincts “where the gaps are very wide.”

Bernie Sanders is not doing his followers right by encouraging them to run for office, as he does, knowing full well that what happened to Canova could be done to anyone. In the event that a few candidates really caught fire and threatened to knock established congressmen off their perches, the present system allows the machine vote count to be tampered with.

An issue like election integrity is nonpartisan. Trump supporters should want it, because they know elections are rigged. Hillary supporters should want it, because there is evidence Trump did some cheating of his own in important swing states, like Wisconsin.

Sanders didn’t do right by his supporters by not challenging Hillary’s cheating, in state after state, choosing instead to swallow each indignity until his path to victory became winning 70% of California, which Hillary stole also.

What the Wasserman-Schultz versus Canova race showed was that, when it’s really important to keep the restless natives down, they cannot hope to organize and work their way to power. Tyranny understands the importance of showing that all resistance is futile.

These things are best nipped in the bud.

There is a simple solution, but it would require progressives to think a few steps ahead, and understand that none of the marching in front of the White House or in New York will do a bit of good on its own. If it is not painfully obvious that, almost without exception, congressmen do not care a bit what you think, or how many people are in the streets, then the word delusion must be given a new apogee.

All we have got for the many marches and demonstrations since George W. Bush unleashed the new Imperial Age, and occupied Iraq, are more wars than ever in the Middle East, the most conservative president in history, and a Congress filled with possible pedophiles, making convicted Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, a friend of Clinton campaign managerJohn Podesta’s, the tip of the iceberg.

The solution, given the characteristics of US elections systems across tens of thousands of counties, is for states to impose standards which require hand-counts of paper ballots. This one step would bring the US in alignment with the rest of the industrialized democratic world, such as Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, and 53 other countries.

In Massachusetts, citizens have already started sounding out State House legislators on their positions on rewriting the state's election law, to mandate the hand counting of the paper ballots.

Without a course correction, the disconnect between reality, and Washington and CNN, will grow wider, because there is no reason for congressmen to care what reality is. Reality is a hard spanking at the polls. It’s an ice-cold election day shower.

Any parent knows what happens when kids are left alone in rooms full of food and china if there are no consequences for behavior whatsoever. Now if all those thousands marching were all to show up at state houses, demanding hand-counted paper ballots, we might start seeing some old-fashioned terror in the hearts of these political animals.

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