“You won the elections, but I won the count.”
Anastasio Somoza (1925-80) replying to accusations of ballot-rigging in Guardian 17 June 1977
If there is a real eminent danger to the American democracy it isn’t Trump’s executive orders, he’s swimming after Obama there. In a stroke of elegant genius, this Republic was designed so that one person can’t really tear the place down unless we let them. The more immediate danger is that this election cycle seems to be more about mail-in and absentee ballots, gerrymandering and voter ID’s. Both sides have drifted into a panic about the other’s widespread voter fraud when there isn’t much hard evidence in support.
Stacy Abrahams still carries on as if she’s the governor of Georgia, and Alabama’s Roy Moore – even more laughably – said he wouldn’t recognize the vote count for the Senate seat he lost (by a nauseatingly thin margin for a pedophile). Trump has been strangely vague about leaving office even if he loses the election when it’s completely out of his power to stay on. Beware then, of self-fulfilling prophecies: Yhe paranoia of vote fraud by the other leading you to commit voter fraud “in the name of justice.”
The Republic was designed so that no one person could run it into a ditch. So – other than ratings and click-bait – why are we asking the questions in the first place? The danger of vote rigging and gerrymandering is that it warps, amplifies, silences the vote of the people. And the people, for the time being, do have the power to destroy the government built in their name.
When the count becomes more important that the election – the end is near. And there is no guarantee that what comes next will be and improvement. Three years after Somoza’s smug quip above, the Sandinista government that ran him out of office in Nicaragua, and then fired a rocket propelled grenade into his armor-plated Mercedes in Argentina. In the four decades since, Nicaragua has rigged elections and almost no hope.