By ann summers
All elections are “rigged” considering the problems of decentralized pluralism, but given that reality, can we now move on to democracy.
Unlike other nations, we don’t schedule our elections as federal holidays, nor do we require everyone to vote, nor do we even vote using some standardized process or technology, or even try to publicly finance the process with measures that would minimize “rigging”.
We do have a market system of free-form foolishness and certain idiots are taking advantage of that cash nexus. See super-PACs and Citizens United.
In the case of the RWNJs, they can even rig elections by claiming that they are Leninists when they are really more Stalinist minarchists, anxious to put some RW warlord lobbyist party in power, financed by crypto-fascists who haven’t met a sociopath they couldn’t exploit.
Steve Bannon is not a Leninist or even Citizen Kane… he is a fascist for sure, and in an American tradition of demagogic sycophants who admire authoritarians and are willing to condone all manner of atrocities.
So when Steve decides to destabilize the “establishment” with Birtherism, conspiracy theories, and other RW nutloggery, we know it’s with more than a cult of personality that he’d like to get control of the MIC, PIC, and the nuclear button. Trump the puppet seems to have many strings or some digital/manual control stuck up him. Secret rigging of agreements between Molotov-Ribbentrops are meant to be betrayed.
Bannon’s smashing the state involves one-party rule that controls all the invites and has the biggest bouncer/night watchman at the entrance. Not exactly the Playboy Mansion but more like a Charles Manson.
Some Democrats take a kind of perverse comfort in the fact that Trump is banging this drum again. It’s a sure sign he thinks he’s losing. (The last time he talked of ballot rigging was in August, when Hillary Clinton opened up a big lead.) It seems to be his way of getting his excuses in early, ensuring that no one brands him a loser on 9 November.
Trump might also be laying the ground for a post-election career in which he sets himself up as the champion of a diehard Trumpian rump within the Republican party or perhaps as the head of a new media empire – Trump News Network – that will outflank Fox News on the hard right.
Either way, he understands that there is no more potent variety of political rocket fuel than a righteous sense of grievance. Trump is priming those who are now crying “Lock her up!” to bellow “We was robbed!”
It will comes as little surprise to those who have paid even the slightest attention to the post-truth campaign of Donald Trump that these claims of voter fraud and ballot rigging are almost entirely fact-free and lacking in evidence. One legal scholar dedicated years to studying the issue and could find only 31 cases of voter fraud out of more than a billion votes cast. As the ThinkProgress thinktank has noted: “Iowa’s Republican secretary of state uncovered zero cases of voter impersonation at the polls during a two-year investigation.”
Even the hard right Breitbart website – so close to Trump that its boss, Steve Bannon, is the chief executive of the Trump campaign – had to admit that, “given the sheer variety of jurisdictions that run a typical presidential election, the nationwide effect of voter fraud may be much harder to measure, and probably small”.
Conceding that point, Breitbart then attempted to redefine “rigged” away from the mechanics of ballot-stuffing and the like and on to the terrain of media bias. If the election is being stolen from Trump, runs the argument, it’s because the press is, in effect, acting as an ally of Clinton by being so hostile to the Republican nominee.
Just look at the chorus of women assembled by the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Palm Beach Post and People magazine last week, all of whom alleged that had Trump sexually assaulted them. Surely that represents a coordinated attack, weeks before election day, designed to damage Trump and help Clinton?
Hulk Smash… the State
I met Steve Bannon—the executive director of Breitbart.com who’s now become the chief executive of the Trump campaign, replacing the newly resigned Paul Manafort—at a book party held in his Capitol Hill townhouse in early 2014. We were standing next to a picture of his daughter, a West Point graduate, who at the time was a lieutenant in the 101 Airborne Division serving in Iraq. The picture was notable because she was sitting on what was once Saddam Hussein’s gold throne with a machine gun on her lap. “I’m very proud of her,” Bannon said.Then we had a long talk about his approach to politics. He never called himself a “populist” or an “American nationalist,” as so many think of him today.
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.
Shocked, I asked him what he meant.
“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too.
I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.
Bad women and Nasty Hombre
THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE HAS NOT ONLY FAILED TO UNIFY THE GOP; BUT HIS CANDIDACY HAS ALSO INTENSIFIED LONG-STANDING HOSTILITY TOWARD THE PARTY ESTABLISHMENT AMONG THE GRASS-ROOTS FORCES BACKING HIM.
There is a family resemblance for two distant manipulators of “family values” that includes “corrupt tycoons, former spies, …Christian conservatives, cynical spin-doctors and nationalist hardliners”, making Trump and Putin or their minions more similar than different than adversaries of decentralized pluralism.
Perplexingly for western readers, the author claims that most of what we ascribe to the Russian president is not really his game at all. “Putin, as we imagine him, does not actually exist,” he concludes after more than 300 pages of inside tales about how power struggles and policy decisions have played out.
Instead of the president himself, we are shown the machinations of the men around him — a cast of more than 100 characters. This approach sheds more light on the inner workings of the Kremlin than many other Putin books. The entourage is unique: corrupt tycoons, former spies, Orthodox Christian conservatives, cynical spin-doctors and nationalist hardliners fight for backing from the boss for their often diametrically opposed values and agendas. Just as often they battle over power or money.