Let's get one thing straight. No matter how much the media says Hillary Clinton did not steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders, she did. Anyone who was paying more than passing attention to the 2016 Democratic primary knows that the willingness of the Clinton forces to cheat was obvious from the start, as far back as the Massachusetts primary when Bill Clinton himself illegally campaigned inside polling stations during voting hours.
Yet in schoolmarmish overtones the New York Times lectures: "Exit Polls, and Why the Primary Was Not Stolen From Bernie Sanders"
Old Bill was glad-handing and back-slapping inside polling stations as Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin gave him a pass when people called to complain. Galvin said Clinton was allowed to hang out inside polling stations as long as he did not utter the words "vote for my wife."
And this was just one part of the cheating we could easily see.
In the New York primary, officials apologized for zapping hundreds of thousands of voters from the voter rolls, 125,000 in Brooklyn alone, who strongly tilted toward Sanders. Brooklyn just happened to be Sanders' hometown and a stronghold. One voter observed that if there were anyplace to take out blocks and blocks of young urban hipsters, overwhelmingly for Bernie, it would be Brooklyn.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pleaded after the fiasco:
"if any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count..."
“The next president of the United States could very easily be decided tonight and yet the incompetence of the [New York City] Board of Elections puts a cloud over these results.”
Why were they apologizing if there was nothing to apologize for? How can anyone say there was no cheating?
In California, Hillary ally and Secretary of State Alex Padilla sent out conflicting instructions on how to vote in the primary if you were an independent. Weeks before the primary, a poll worker in Orange County, the third most populous county in the state behind Los Angeles and San Diego, reported that she and her co-workers were told to give out the wrong kind of ballot to independent voters. Padilla had hosted a Clinton fundraiser the previous year, and was kissing cousins with Hillary. The poll worker said: "I was told that all NPP voters are to be given provisional ballots."
NPP - No Party Preference - is California's designation for independents who can vote in either party's primary. Independents in California broke for Bernie by a large margin, about two-thirds.
No one knows how many more people would have come out and voted for Sanders in the California primary had the Associated Press not announced, in a stunning breach of ethics, that Hillary had already clinched the nomination on the day before. At 5pm on Monday, a full 12 hours before the polls opened, CNN was blaring that Hillary was already the winner of the Democratic nomination, by adding anonymous super-delegates who had declared for her that day to the pledged delegate totals. Even though super-delegates were tradition-bound to follow the pledged delegate outcome, which had not yet been determined.
The Sanders campaign blasted the AP with the statement:
"It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee's clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,"
That night only Lester Holt of MSNBC had the journalistic integrity to note that the contest was "still open.”
A strong showing by Bernie in California would bring Hillary's momentum, marred by lawsuits in a dozen important states, including New York, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts, to a screeching halt.
In San Diego, California's second largest county, a shredding truck was seen out back of a central vote-counting station, and, inside, citizens captured video of ballots with Sanders votes covered with white-out.
Clinton supposedly won California 52% - 45%. Intriguingly, in the one county, Humboldt County, where the ballots are counted by a fraud proof, open source software system, Sanders prevailed by his highest margin of all California counties, 70% - 30%.
In the Democratic caucus in Las Vegas, people wearing “I'm with her” t-shirts trooped past the check-in table without registering, with an official being heard shushing a woman who was telling them to just walk through, hissing “Don't yell it!”
At the state convention in Nevada, Democratic state party chairman Roberta Lange gaveled down the convention before all procedural motions had been heard, after she imperiously declared Hillary the winner.
In Arizona people lined up in the hot sun for up to 5 hours to vote, and many dropped out of line, in the most populous county, Maricopa, which includes Phoenix. Polling stations were slashed in the county from previous levels, to one polling station per 21,000 voters, in contrast to the normal number across the US of one per a few thousand at most. As in California, thousands of people in Arizona found themselves dropped from the rolls, or registered incorrectly, so that they could not vote in the primary. These voters were handed provisional ballots, which were, as in California, the last to be counted. The media announced an Arizona victory for Clinton while thousands of people were still standing in line to vote.
If anyone thought Bill Clinton getting caught openly violating campaign laws in Massachusetts would be a deterrent to further misbehavior, they were wrong. Democratic establishment forces gleefully cheated away.
It soon became apparent that likely Bernie voters were getting targeted, as complaints flooded in from the primaries. According to a sampling by Anonymous, in Arizona, the vast majority of complaints regarding incorrect, or missing, voter registrations affected Sanders voters. Anonymous concluded that in Arizona, voter registration systems were easy to hack into. Moreover, It was realized that the principle campaign database used by Democratic candidates such as Sanders and Clinton, called the NGP VAN, allowed hackers to see who any likely Democratic primary voter had donated money to.
The extraordinary lines in the hot sun in Arizona served a purpose. The early mail-in vote was weighted heavily toward Hillary. The long lines were weighted toward young voters capable of standing such punishment. The Sanders demographic was nothing if not young. By suppressing the younger slice of the demographic, it was almost guaranteed that it was the Sanders vote that would suffer.
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All this was overseen by the DNC, which "Wikileaked" emails made clear was committed to the victory of Hillary Clinton. The determination to see Clinton the winner was abundantly shown in the emails, which Wikileaks denied were hacked by the Russians. Wikileaks strongly indicated the emails were leaked by a DNC insider, data guru, and idealist, 27-year-old Seth Rich. Rich was murdered in what was called a "robbery" in DC soon after the leaks were published by Wikileaks, but strangely, Rich's wallet, phone, and watch were not taken, and kill shots to Rich's back smacked of an execution. When a robber shoots a victim in a botched robbery, it is his hope that the victim survive, not die, since a murder charge is far worse than a robbery charge.
Wikileaks posted a $20,000 reward for information leading to Rich's killers, an unprecedented action for Wikileaks.
Once the primary shenanigans are acknowledged, as they must be, the fall-back position of defenders of the primary becomes: but the cheating was not enough to change the outcome. This supposedly comforting rebuttal to Sanders “conspiracy theorists” neglects that California and New York are crucial, and some of the biggest hijinks occurred in those states. Not to mention Illinois, where clean election activists caught officials literally erasing the hand count from a white board at an audit and filling the numbers in to match the machine count of the paper ballots, which favored Hillary.
Yet no Democrats are calling for an investigation of the primary, except to repeat already debunked stories of Russian hackers, backed by zero evidence, except the words of thoroughly politicized CIA henchmen.
If this was the cheating we could see, what was the cheating we couldn't see? Here we come across the dirty little secret of US elections: they are notoriously easy to hack. The vast majority of counties in the US now use paper ballots counted by optical scan machines, which register totals according to internal software instructions. That software can add votes to candidates - or subtract them - and change the result away from the true vote. The vulnerability of most US vote-counting machines was best demonstrated in the HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy" in 2006, and remains to this day.
The hacking of the vote counting software, which is in the hands of corporations using propriety software, can only be uncovered by the actual hand-counting of the paper ballots. Election authorities in numerous lawsuits have shown they will fight this tooth and nail. It is reasonable to assume that if election authorities fight the viewing of the paper ballots, there is something they don't want us to see.
After examining the evidence of skewed, abnormal voting patterns in state after state, Professor Fritz Scheuren, the 100th president of the American Statistical Association, called Democratic primary results "unexpected and possibly even suspicious." Professor Beth Clarkson, statistician at Wichita State University, wrote in an Open Letter to Bernie Sanders that the vote patterns she examined were "consistent with election rigging." Clarkson wrote:
"There is no reason to believe that machine generated vote counts are accurate when they are not checked for accuracy. This is particularly difficult in places like South Carolina and parts of Kansas, where no paper trail exists to even attempt a public recount."
There is even a term among election experts for the combination of voter suppression and machine vote-count hacking: strip and flip. Strip your opponent's likely voters from the rolls, flip votes to your column by hacking the machines.
Vote-Counting Machine Hacking Demonstration from Documentary "Hacking Democracy"
What is the solution?
Machine hacking is the fast way to change a lot of votes easily. That's because it's just as easy to key in a 100 as a 10, or a 1,000, or a 10,000. What this means is there is only one solution to the problem of machine hacking: get rid of the machines. The rest of the advanced, industrialized world has returned to the old fashioned hand counting of paper ballots as the most secure system of voting. This includes large cities like Berlin, Rome, and Paris.
The visible cheating tells us that the motivation and desire are present to engage in the invisible cheating. As Dr. Clarkson wrote to Sanders:
"If you want to win the presidency and elect a revolutionary congress, you must find a way to force accurate counts of votes across the country."
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin famously said: "Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
Would Sanders have won against Trump? Here there is little doubt. Every poll indicated that Sanders led Trump in head-to-head matches by double digits, as much as 15%. Sanders did not suffer the sky high negative ratings that Hillary suffered. Apparently, Americans were indeed ready to elect a socialist, as long as they believed he was honest.
Not only presidential general elections and primaries are in doubt. In Florida this year, election experts found reason to question the results of the Democratic primary won by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the former chair of the DNC who was forced to resign after her attempts to sabotage Bernie Sanders were revealed by Wikileaks. Her defeated challenger was progressive firebrand Tim Canova. A frightening question presents itself: how many of the incumbents sitting in Congress did we really elect?
Some may ask: why bring this up now? Why dwell on the past? Simple. If the thwarted will of the people in the 2016 Democratic primary is swept under the rug, it will happen again and again. This is why election reform is not a pie-in-the-sky debate among wonks and academics. Were it not for the cheating, America might look very different right now. The object lesson of 2016 might be: Democracy Works. When we have it.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.