What They'll Say When They Lose
by Josh Orton, Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 05:08:29 AM EDT
The panic of an impending landslide is beginning to set in with Republicans.
Imagine an election where one of the participants calls foul. Investigations are launched or at least called for. Prosecutors raise the specter of charges, the U.S. attorney and FBI get involved. No voter fraud is ever actually found. But by the time that conclusion is reached, the myth has been solidified both to soothe the loser's supporters and condemn the winner.
Sound familiar? Sound like the recent ACORN scandal?
Well, actually I'm talking about the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. That Nixon was cheated out of a win is the stuff of legend on the Right. The allegations say that Kennedy loyalists fixed the vote counts in Illinois and Texas--swinging 51 electoral votes and a majority in the Electoral College to Kennedy. In more hyperbolic versions there is alleged involvement by the mob, the Teamsters Union or legendary Chicago mayor Richard Daley.
The story goes on that Nixon, "for the good of the country," conceded honorably and exited the scene. No matter that Nixon was later chased out of the White House for cheating in an election. The myth endures.
This whole story--maybe to be replayed with Obama playing Kennedy and McCain playing Nixon--is a canard. It is a fable. A lie made up by the conservative movement to hold together their fraying coalition.
In 2008 the stakes are bigger than they've ever been before for conservatives and the canard is that much more important to them.
In the case of Obama the conservative movement is lining up a serious of story elements. They are:
* Obama was a community organizer.
* ACORN, a group that does community organizing, has committed voter fraud.
* Obama is from Chicago.
* You know what happens in elections in Chicago. Remember the 1960 election.
And of course today's ACORN accusations are just as bogus as Nixon's lies were decades ago.
I quickly parsed the lie on Friday, but Tom sums it up succinctly:
The stunning con of this whole thing is the assumption that bad voter registration cards being submitted will lead to vote fraud. If somebody submits a card for Mickey Mouse it isn't like Mr. Mouse is going to show up to vote. There is no voter fraud if nobody votes.
So what's the intended result of this year's lie? It's two-fold.
First, it's used to justify Republican attempts to purge new voter registrations. We're seeing this storyline Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin (the sleeper voter suppression story of the cycle).
Second, in the likely event of a McCain loss, Republicans will use the lie of election fraud to both: a) de-legitimize an Obama administration, and b) deflect blame from rejected conservative ideology.
The best way to deflate the conservative fable is to win with an overwhelming landslide that guarantees there won't be a dispute of the results.
We also need to confront the Republican vote purging and suppression. Already big efforts by the Obama campaign, the DNC and independent groups are working on this. Progressives and Democrats are united in this effort.
But we also need to make sure the ACORN canard doesn't get to live in daylight. It is time to circle the wagons and make sure John McCain and the Right can't steal the election...even if we win.
For progressives, the ball is in our court.
So the next time a conservative friend repeats the ACORN smear they heard on Fox News, call them out.