Wednesday, October 24, 2012
"Uncertainty" -- Will the Vote Actually Matter?
Americans have been trained to accept finagled and fudgy outcomes of elections for quite a long time, much longer than we think. Election chicanery is built in to the mechanisms of politics and voting in this country, and it always has been. We have never had truly free and fair elections, not even close, and the lengths to which campaigns and their owners and sponsors will go to steal elections outright is breathtaking.
Of course the 2000 election is the benchmark for election jiggering for most of us. I have called what happened when the Supreme Court decided the outcome -- by one vote, let it be said -- a "lawless intervention," because the Supreme Court is not tasked with electoral decisions. The Constitution gives that responsibility to the states, and in the case of a disputed outcome, the legislatures of the states determine the winner of the presidential election, not the Supreme Court of the United States. In other words, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction but seized it anyway in as bold a move as we had seen taken by government up to then.
That was followed by an appallingly undisciplined move to electronic voting machines which are easily compromised -- with no possibility of audit or detection. All election outcomes conducted with such machines are by their nature suspect, and in 2004, it appeared that chicanery of many kinds were engaged in to ensure that Bush won the presidency, regardless of anything else.
This year's election has been primed and pumped to be a "cliff-hanger" right down to the wire. No matter what the polls indicated, the campaign horserace was always "tied" in the eyes of many mavens of the media -- because that's the narrative: they have to have their tight race or they have no story, and if they have no story, they don't make money. So while Obama was far in the lead through most of the campaign, there were always stories that the race was "tied" or that Romney was gaining or what have you.
All that changed with the first "debate," of course: the Very Game Changer that Chris Christie predicted happened. The stats turned sharply in Romney's favor as if by magic. The narrative is that Obama turned in a dreadful performance while Romney was keyed up and on point. Actually some who watched, like me, thought he was on a performance enhancing substance, oh like speed to name one. I wouldn't be surprised at all if that was the case. Obama, on the other hand, was clearly not into it, but he did his standard "workmanlike" performance, "Get through it and go home," which -- compared to Mister Hyper -- was interpreted as sleepwalking. Whatever.
But wait. How did Christie "know?" That is if he knew in advance what would happen, who told him? If he was just out on a limb, you could say it was a coincidence, but I don't think so. When the after-"debate" chatter started, chatter that seemed completely hysterical at dKos, for example (always a Republican spin palace, after all) I actually wondered if Obama was intentionally throwing the game. I would not put it past him, given the way our political class operates. He was giving it away in any case. Whatever else might have been going on Obama was not on top of the situation on stage, and he appeared not to care, either. Given Romney's "shambles" up to then, I thought his attitude toward the "debate" and his opponent was appropriate, but in the end, Obama gave me and pretty much everybody else no hope at all. His vision for the future was "stay the course." No matter what. After five years of an Endless Recession, he would continue it pretty much as is indefintely.
But hyped-up Romney wouldn't do much different, he'd just be more of a salesman about it and be meaner and more overtly bloodthirsty besides. This, to me, did not bode well for the future for most of us. Not well at all. Either things stay as dismal as they have been for many more years, or they get worse. And more wars. There is no "better future" in either man's vision. None.
We are doomed if we rely on the political class and the candidates for office to do something positive and productive on behalf of the People -- because they won't do it. Period. End of discussion. They don't work for us.
Which means that the election is not really in our hands in any case. Whatever we vote is what we vote. The outcome, on the other hand, is what the vote counters decide, or if the Supreme Court so chooses, what a handful of Robed Ones decide, and we don't have much to say about it one way or another. Given the nearly identical positions of the major candidates on nearly everything (certainly apparent in the Third Round) no matter how we vote, the outcome will be almost the same no matter who is installed on the White House Throne.
The only real question is how fast and nasty will the advent of the New America be.
Given Obama's propensity to accommodate Republicans and actually seek to enact their programs, even the brakes Obama has been using are no longer operative in any case.
There are only two weeks to the election, and given the current "uncertainty" narrative, I would speculate that even if Obama receives a resounding electoral victory at the polls (he won't, though), he won't take office for a second term. "Uncertainty" has been the narrative of the fattest of the Fat Cats for years now, and Romney is himself one of them. That could mean that the "uncertainty" meme is a foreshadowing of what is to come.
The choice has most likely been made; we await the reveal.