17 October 2018

Dirty tricks

With less than three weeks left before the election, we're seeing the usual Republican dirty tricks in all their slimy glory -- mass rejection of minority voter registrations in Georgia, a law blocking residents of Indian reservations from voting in North Dakota, and bullying like this.  I've also seen a ramping-up of troll comments on left-wing news sites -- deriding this or that Democratic candidate as not progressive enough to be worth voting for, trying to re-ignite the Hillary-vs-Bernie infighting from 2016, etc.  Some of these commenters may be Russian or Republican trolls, some may be actual far-left ideological purists -- but either way the practical effect is to help Republicans, and that's all that matters.  Expect to see more and more of all this between now and election day.

After polls began to foreshadow a blue wave, though, I started to wonder if we'd see something bigger and nastier -- a staged terrorist attack, for example, carried out in hopes of creating a "rally 'round the flag" effect.  Realistically, that seems unlikely.  Even Putin probably isn't reckless enough to do something that would qualify as an act of war if traced back to Russia, and all evidence is that Trump and his gang are too incompetent to pull off such a thing without being unmasked almost immediately.

But be prepared for something else -- say, some sudden "revelation" of dirt so close to election day that there's no time to investigate and refute it, like Comey's announcement about Hillary's e-mail system just before the 2016 election.  Facing massive losses in the House, the Republicans aren't just going to sit back and take it.  These are not people who shy away from dirty tricks.  They're going to try something.

(There's also a slight chance of a real terrorist attack calculated to influence the election.  Groups like Dâ'ish and al-Qâ'idah do better with someone like Trump in power -- it's easier to recruit Muslims to an anti-Western fight when the US is hostile to Muslims generally rather than just to terrorists.  But I think it's unlikely.  Dâ'ish and al-Qâ'idah are badly weakened and unlikely to be focusing much on a US election, especially one where Trump isn't even on the ballot and the best they could hope for is to stop us from undermining him via Congress.)

It's another reason to resist complacency and be ready to fight like hell.  No matter how promising the polls look, don't assume a fair fight.  The enemy will never allow a fair fight.  The striking thing about the Georgia and North Dakota vote-suppression schemes is how flagrant they are.  The Republicans are hardly even bothering to disguise the nature and intent of what they're doing.  Expect worse, much worse, between now and November.

[Image at top found via Mock Paper Scissors, a while ago]


Blogger bluzdude said...

The Republicans know they can't win in a fair fight... there aren't enough rich people or evangelicals to outnumber everyone else. Only solution is to suppress the votes of their opponent, via legislation or outright dirty tricks.

17 October, 2018 04:59  
Anonymous Jerry said...

The talking heads are saying anger on both sides is motivating both sides to get out and vote. The talking heads are also saying the blue wave they saw over a month ago seems to be dwindling. With just weeks away it looks like this will be a close election and leave the House vote even closer than before.

These "dirty tricks" should have been expected given the history of Republican tactics. Courts have thrown out SOME of the gerrymander and voter suppression violations, but the Republicans will still have a large, biased election edge.

Bill Maher has been stressing for a long time, that Democrats have been wimps when it comes to fighting the Republicans. I agree with that, but then it would also just make partisan bickering worse. Yet. I see no other alternative. Democrats must be more agressive towards the Republicans.

Sure the Republicans are unfair and dirty. The only thing that can override their unfair advantage is an overwhelming liberal, Democratic voter turnout and it doesn't look like that will happen.

17 October, 2018 08:14  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Those voter suppression schemes are appalling.

17 October, 2018 09:37  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

I am expecting a lot worse before Election Day...but I'm also expecting for a massive turnout to put the brakes on these bastards.

But if it helps, Infidel--it's that Democrats do not appear to be complacent at all this midterm. True, there are a handful of fools sneering that voting doesn't matter, that both parties are the same, and of course MSNBC had on Ralph Nader who spent that segment blasting the Democrats. But the Democrats are more fired up and focused than I've seen before, especially in getting out the vote. Add to that the efforts of the Parkland teens to register young voters and you may just have a much stronger turnout that will negate the GOP's dirty tricks.

Speaking of GOP dirty tricks--did you hear about James Fallows' article in The Atlantic that talks about whether Gary Hart was set up in regards to the infamous picture that cost him in the 1988 primaries? It turns out that Lee Atwater, before his death in 1991, confessed on his deathbed to Hart's campaign manager that he, Atwater, basically set the whole thing up to prevent Hart from challenging then Vice-President George H.W. Bush who was running to succeed Ronald Reagan. Hart's CM did not reveal this until very recently when he had his own cancer scare.

I don't care what the purists say--I have never seen anything like this from the Democrats; it's only the GOP that chooses to play dirty and they've gotten much, much worse. Both parties are definitely NOT the same.

17 October, 2018 15:05  
Anonymous Professor Taboo said...

As one voter in one of the most notorious voter-suppression states in the U.S. (Texas), I never put ANYTHING past this state's 20-year plus dominate party. I've seen it all and the millions/billions behind all the tactics and schemes. I've watched this state's majority citizens struggle to just (barely) maintain a pseudo-decent standard of living while the economic gap widens and widens every 4-8 years. And yet, the state's "Rainy Day Fund" -- i.e. operating well into the black -- is projected to reach $10.5 billion at end of fiscal 2018. The disparity and inequality simply DOES NOT MATCH UP!

This November there is no need whatsoever for me to listen to any, not one single campaign ad or rally speech. I already know how I am voting. Have known since Nov. 2016! I'm politically an Independent, but next month I am doing something I've NEVER done my entire adult life: voting one party across every single candidate/office. The political system I use to know, the one I grew up with... is broken, it no longer works. So I'm forced to be this drastic despite my conscience. Yet, that's where this nation is at now.

Great post Infidel.

18 October, 2018 07:36  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Wanted to tell you a story here as far as voting, and folks getting sick of politics, etc. I know a guy, 51 years old, never voted until 08 election ... he never thought before that voting done any good, and I understand totally. But I talked to him of the importance, etc ... I inspired him to register back then (he told me I did). Anywayz, he comes from a rural background, republican familia, upbringing home, etc (but he's no fundi or even close ... just a hard working American Texan). The first voting for him was McCain, he then supported Romney, he also supported Trump, even after I told the guy, that Trump is a hustler. He is very disappointed with Trump though. About a year ago, I gave him a book by Elizabeth Warren, called "A Fighting Chance" to read ... he knew nothing about her, I told him to just hear her out, I gave it to him, because he talks about how screwed up American politics are and unethical, etc. He really enjoyed the book, because of what Warren pointed out and how outspoken she is. The other day when we were talking about early voting ... he is gonna vote straight Democrat next week, and he also said he would like to see someone like Warren run 2020, of course I told him I was hoping she would back in 2016. Warren did announce a week ago that she will consider it after November though, but I think Biden is the popular choice right now. The point here, is people do change their political views too. I'll be voting Democrat next week ... I didnt even watch the debates with Cruz and Beto, or any others, I'm just firm on how I will vote, I dont need ads, polls, pundits or anything, I'm fixed on how I'm voting myself ... I'm sure many folks are. My wife and daughters will also vote early and Democrat. I dont expect much to drastically change even if Democrats controlled both houses and the Oval Office ... I just expect to get a little slack from what the GOP is ramming through, at least Democrats will listen more when voters complain.

18 October, 2018 09:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Bluzdude: They hardly seem to bother to hide the fact that they can't sin a fair fight. They've given up on trying to win over people outside their base by persuasion, it seems.

(Bluzdude's blog, which I hadn't seen before, looks pretty interesting. Check it out, especially if you're into politics.)

Jerry: I always warn against complacency, but I don't want to see pessimism either. That breeds despair, paralysis, and thus defeat. There'll be plenty of time to fret (or celebrate) over the size of Democratic turnout after the election. Now's the time to do everything we can to increase it.

Debra: Let's hope they appall enough people who don't normally vote to get them to do it this time.

Marc: I hope 2016 cured Democrats of complacency for a long time. Everyone, including me, was far too confident that it was in the bag. The most important lesson is to never make that mistake again.

The "both parties are the same" stance now requires a level of doggedly willful blindness that verges on insanity. Such people (and I don't think there are many now) are write-offs -- better to focus attention on those who can be reached and reasoned with.

Professor: Thanks, and welcome aboard! The polls in Texas aren't looking so good at the moment, but it does seem that more and more people there are waking up. A poll is only as good as its turnout model, and voters may confound them yet.

Ranch: Thanks for your efforts. There is a saying, "each one teach one", and you did teach that guy, although I suspect many Trumpanzees wouldn't have the patience to read an entire book.

Biden seems to be the frontrunner at the moment, but he'd be 78 on inauguration day in 2021. That concerns me.

You can at least count on the Democrats not to try to trash the ACA, Medicare, and Social Security, as the Republicans are now openly threatening to do.

18 October, 2018 19:40  
Anonymous Jerry said...

The time for living in some fantasy that we might overcome is gone. We have already elected the nightmare of a president. Reality is what is needed, not some dream, or hope that Americans will wake up and do the right thing. They have proven already that they will not, because they have not and that's been going on since way before Trump.

20 October, 2018 09:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jerry: So what's your solution? Give up? Move to Norway?

If we fight, we might lose. If we don't fight, we will definitely lose.

I'm a big-picture guy. Trumpism is a setback, even a big one. We've had big setbacks before. Progress continued nevertheless. And Trump's election was a black-swan event. It took a combination of vote suppression, Russian interference, and the Electoral College to cause this. "We" didn't elect him. Millions more voted for Hillary in spite of everything.

Remember Dr. King, Frederick Douglass, César Chávez, Harvey Milk, the suffragettes and union organizers of a century ago, and all the other fighters who kept on fighting in circumstances far more dark and discouraging and dangerous than anything we face, and whose victories got us where we are today. Think where we'd be now if they had declared defeat and given up. They didn't. Neither will I.

20 October, 2018 12:16  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Then you are reading me wrong. I'm not saying don't fight, I'm saying put up a bigger fight. I think Democrats have been wimps against the Republicans. You don;t stop a bully by getting everyone to agree he is a bully. Someone has to stand up and be willing to get hurt and be willing to throw and land punches to stop a bully. There is much more the minority in power can do to check the bullying of the majority in power than the Democrats have been doing. As any politician will tell you, you can't wait for the voters to act, or hope they will, you as an elected representative have to act, that's what you got elected to do. So yes, I put the blame on Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton and rest of the Democratic leaders. I don't blame rules that we have had for 200 years, which are the same for both sides. Republicans have won the fight of playing the rules to their advantage.

20 October, 2018 12:57  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Not much to argue with there, but the voters need to do their part too. The Democrats can resist a lot more effectively if they get a majority, even if only in the House. And I am never again going to allow a comment that dismisses the possibility that we can overcome as a "fantasy".

21 October, 2018 06:14  

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