The Republican Party could steal the 2012 U.S. presidential election with relative ease. Four major factors make it possible:
· the continued existence of the electoral college
· the systematic disenfranchisement of millions of American voters over the past decade
· the widespread and growing use of electronic voting machines
· GOP control of the governorships and secretary of state offices in key swing states will once again decide the election
To this we must add the likelihood that the core of the activist community that came out to vote for Obama in 2008 may not do so again in 2012. In his four years as president, Obama has alienated much of the grassroots activist community, due to his stances on nuclear power, bank bailouts, social justice, civil liberties, and other issues that are dear to grassroots activists.
Towering over it all, of course, is corporate money that has come to dominate the American electoral process. The John Roberts U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates with its infamous Citizens United decision. As the 2012 election approaches we are watching gargantuan waves of unrestricted capital pouring into political campaigns at all levels. The June recall election in Wisconsin saw at least eight times as much money being spent on protecting Republican governor Scott Walker as was spent trying to oust him.
Nationwide this year, the corporate largesse vastly favors Republicans over Democrats. But since both parties are essentially corporate in nature, that could change in coming elections and may even vary in certain races in 2012. We do not believe that once given the chance, the Republicans are any more prone to stealing elections than the Democrats.
On its surface, the prime focus of stolen elections has to do with Democrats stealing elections from Republicans and vice-versa. But in the longer view, the corruption of our electoral system is geared toward crushing third, and other, parties who could challenge the corporate status quo deeply entrenched in war, inequality, and ecological destruction.
American history is full of election abuse from both parties, dating at least back to 1800, when Thomas Jefferson wrested the presidency from Federalist John Adams based on the “votes” of African American slaves, who were allowed nowhere near a ballot box.
That Adams spent the next six years muttering about that theft before he opened a legendary exchange of letters with his former friend and rival did nothing to rid the country of the Electoral College that made it possible. Nor did it prevent his son, John Quincy, from using it to steal the 1824 election from a very angry slave-owner named Andrew Jackson, who then formed the Democratic Party that now claims Obama.
In 2012, the GOP controls the registration rolls and the swing state vote count in ways that the Democrats do not. It will be the Republicans’ choice as to how far they are willing to go to put Mitt Romney in the White House. They did not have that option in 2008, when Obama and Joe Biden defeated John McCain and Sarah Palin. Ohio had a Democratic governor and secretary of state that year. Obama safely carried the usually decisive Buckeye State, along with enough swing states to put him in the White House.
In both the 2000 and 2004 elections, the defeated Democrat refused to raise the issue of widespread corporate-sponsored fraud. The difference in Ohio 2008, as in much of the nation, was that candidate Obama inspired millions of young, committed, active supporters who came out to promote and protect voter registration, monitor polling places, challenge faulty and discriminatory ballot procedures, scrutinize voting machines and otherwise guarantee that what had happened in 2000 and 2004 did not happen in 2008.
We do not yet know if Obama’s policies, so widely perceived as pro-corporate, will yield him enough corporate cash to match what Romney will raise. That both parties are dominated by corporations is a forgone conclusion.
Originally published by freepress.org. From their book Corporate Vote Theft and the Future of American Democracy. Bob Fitrakis is professor of Political Science at Columbus State Community College. Harvey Franklin Wasserman is an American journalist, author, democracy activist, and advisor to Greenpeace USA.