Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The End of Electoral Conspiracy Theories?

I've made reference to how glad I am to have seemingly been wrong about about another round of apparently massive electoral fraud being on the horizon for these elections. So, to discuss my wrongness in greater depth, I think it's appropriate check out Glenn Greenwald, one of my favorite bloggers, who has a very good and interesting post up at Crooks & Liars about the meaning of the Democratic victory last night. He argues first:

American Democracy Still Works
See? He's lost me already. :-)

He continues:

The basic mechanics of American democracy, imperfect and defective though they may be, still function. Chronic defeatists and conspiracy theorists — well-intentioned though they may be — need to re-evaluate their defeatism and conspiracy theories in light of this rather compelling evidence which undermines them (a refusal to re-evaluate one's beliefs in light of conflicting evidence is a defining attribute of the Bush movement that shouldn't be replicated).

Karl Rove isn't all-powerful; he is a rejected loser. Republicans don't possess the power to dictate the outcome of elections with secret Diebold software. They can't magically produce Osama bin Laden the day before the election. They don't have the power to snap their fingers and hypnotize zombified Americans by exploiting a New Jersey court ruling on civil unions, or a John Kerry comment, or moronic buzzphrases and slogans designed to hide the truth (Americans heard all about how Democrats would bring their "San Francisco values" and their love of The Terrorists to Washington, and that moved nobody). It simply isn't the case that we are doomed and destined to lose at the hands of all-powerful, evil forces.

All of the hurdles and problems that are unquestionably present and serious — a dysfunctional and corrupt national media, apathy on the part of Americans, the potent use of propaganda by the Bush administration, voter suppression and election fraud tactics, gerrymandering and fundraising games — can all be overcome. They just were...

Given the results we've seen overnight it's hard to argue with what Greenwald is saying. I admit to being among those who expected something absolutely nutzo to happen and clearly I was wrong (and I couldn't be more pleased to be wrong). However, I would be lot more hesitant to blanketly dismiss the "conspiracy theories" surrounding black box voting. We seen far too many unexplained anomalies to start feeling so at ease about such things. Last night's elections, though a relief, have no bearing on past events.

He is correct to note that our opponents are not all-powerful and not evil geniuses (I'd just drop the "genius" part). Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the cards are fundamentally and structurally stacked against progressive politics in our society. Call it a death by a thousand cuts. From black box voting, to the corrupt corporate media, the wealth-dominated tribute system we call political campaigns, to the dominance of corporate money in congress, to growing cartelization of our economy, to the swelling gap between rich and poor; justice-seeking Americans face an increasingly uphill battle. That is NOT a conspiracy theory.

So, yes, all these things can be overcome. If the GOP grotesquely overreaches and shoots itself in both feet the way it has, we'll be fine. But it shouldn't take the kind of perfect storm of scandal we've seen so far to bring down a party with the GOP's track record. If simply winning requires the opposition to pratfall to this extent we're already in deep, deep trouble as a nation. They should have been in trouble on their authoritarian policies alone, let alone the scandals.