Donna Edwards Speaks
by Matt Stoller, Thu Sep 14, 2006 at 09:26:58 AM EDT
Here's what Donna Edwards said:
I salute my supporters and everyone who struggled to vote on Tuesday.
I have heard from voters who made several trips to vote, some waited and waited in lines and still others had to cast provisional ballots.
In our democracy, voters expect to have their ballots counted. I am determined to know what happened in both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.
Thousands of voters made a tremendous effort to cast their ballot.
Voters need to have confidence that their vote counted. I will fight for answers and make sure every ballot is counted.
Our democracy demands it.
Gore didn't say this. Kerry didn't say this. Democrats are castigated for not fighting and making sure that all the votes count, and this gives license to conspiracy theorists and crazy people to irresponsibly argue that democracy is pointless because it's all stolen anyway. A genuine progressive, Donna Edwards took on a machine candidate, someone who regularly broke laws and had his staffers beat up and threaten Edwards people, and there was basically no press coverage. There were massive voting problems, incompetence and downright shady behavior by a Republican-controlled Board of Elections which is heavily tied in with Al Wynn.
If you care about change, you need to fight for it. That's what the right-wing does. They fight for change, every day. That's what we are beginning to do. There are now activists on the ground, in Maryland, working to make sure that the votes are fully counted. And yet we have a long way to go. I believe that there are several excuses that we have for not acting, for not making change. One of them is a demonically evil and omnipotent Karl Rove. Rove isn't that good at what he does, but what sets him apart is that his supporters believe in what they are doing and always go to the mat, every single time. Put Karl Rove in charge of the Democratic Party, and we would still lose badly. Put Bob Shrum in charge of the Republican Party, and, well, actually, seriously, please put Bob Shrum in charge of the Republican party.
Joke aside, I bring this up because of a disturbing habit I notice among progressives to argue aggressively for giving up. I read this diary from the normally savvy David Kowalski, and a few Breaking Blue posts that continue to reiterate the bad numbers coming from the Maryland Board of Elections, and I want to knock my head into the wall. These are not good numbers, and we should not consider them real.
If smart progressive activists are willing to accept falsified numbers and illegitimate elections, then we are simply going to lose again, because it's pretty obvious to me at least that we are not really willing to fight. Fighting for change means recognizing that old habits are inaccurate. One of those old habits that no longer works is accepting numbers as accurate because it comes with 'Board of Elections' stamped on it. It means understanding whether that 'Board of Elections' stamp comes from a board that is credible, or one that is not. If the board is not credible, and there is ample evidence of strange problems, we must contest those numbers, and remembering the astericks going forward.
Now, we can't pretend like electoral fraud is omnipresent. It's not. And we have to face the fact that many of the noisiest proponents of the stolen election line are a little tin-foily at best. This is a difficult issue, and we have to pick our battles. In this case, there's an extremely credible progressive candidate challenging an incumbent with a history of illegal activity, and she's fighting. We ought to back her.
Do I know if this election was 'stolen', with evil maniacal men cackling in backrooms? Of course not. But if you look back in history, to LBJ, JFK, and how some of our heros manipulated electoral machinery, you'd see that they often did it through planned incompetence. This situation needs to raise hackles. I hope it raises yours. It certainly raises Donna Edwards', and she's not taking it lying down.