While the mainstream media focus on the midterm elections was on which party would control the U.S. Senate, the most important story, control of the state governorships and legislatures went virtually unnoticed.
On January 27, 1998, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton first mentioned “the vast right wing conspiracy” against her husband, Bill Clinton, too many of us “intelligentsia” poo-pooed her comment as her being overly protective of her husband. Sure, there were the right-wing nut jobs backed by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and the DeVos (Amway) family, such as Larry Klayman, who were trolling on the right-wing fringe. But most of us had not heard of the Koch Brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the actual right-wing conspiracy being put in place since September of 1973.
Sixteen years later, after the 2014 midterm elections, the goal of the Koch Brothers and the vast right-wing conspiracy (and it is vast) is almost complete: complete U.S. government domination. The Koch Brothers paid henchmen in the United States Senate and House of Representatives are planning to remove Obama from office. Stupidly, two of the groups that the Koch Brothers are most afraid of to upset their plans, women and non-Caucasians, tacitly contributed to this by not showing up to vote or voted against their own interests.
It was one of the Koch Brothers darlings, corrupt loudmouth New Jersey governor and head of the Republican Governors’ Association, Chiris Christie, who spilled the beans on their plan: control the “voting mechanisms”, which was in evidence throughout the 2014 campaign cycle. Of course, Christie was speaking about his own 2016 Presidential candidacy, as everything Chris Christie says or does is about Chris Christie, but this also applies to other Republican presidential candidates.. No one in their non-right mind would have Rick Scott or Scott Walker overseeing the “voting mechanism”, unless you want corruption of the electoral process, which did happen in the 2014 elections.
The numbers tell the story: In 2009, Democrats had 60 senators, when you include the two independents who caucused with them; in 2015, they will have 45. In 2009, Democrats had 256 members of the House; in 2015, they will have 192. In 2009, Democrats had 28 governors; in 2015, they will have 18. In 2009, Democrats controlled both legislative chambers in 27 states; in 2015, they will control only 11. In 2009, Democrats controlled 62 legislative chambers; in 2015, they will control only 28 (with one tie and two still undecided).
So what did these Republican “voting mechanisms” do in the 2014 elections?
In two of the most widely publicized Senate races, Kentucky and Iowa, false misleading and threatening “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICES” were sent out by right-wing organizations, like the Susan B. Anthony Foundation.
In Iowa, the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group campaigning against Democrat Bruce Braley’s Senate candidacy, sent out a mailer reading “PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT” and warning of that “CHILDREN IN YOUR AREA ARE VULNERABLE TO A PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT THAT CONTINUES UNCONTROLLED.” The mailer, which was first reported on by Buzzfeed, seems to play on fears of Ebola. But it turns out that the supposed health threat is Braley’s support for abortion rights: “[B]oys and girls living peacefully in their mother’s wombs.” Braley voted against a Senate ban on abortion after 20 weeks.
Then there were the typical right-wing Diebold Corporation voting machine shenanigans.
North Carolina voters are being urged to check the paper rolls that can be found next to the screen on voting machines. The warning comes after at least 14 people have reported problems with how the machines are recording their votes.
According to the News & Record, voters who have attempted to cast their votes for the Democratic candidate have found that the machine registers the vote as one cast for the republican instead.
Sixty-nine year old Percy Bostick attempted to cast his vote for democrat Kay Hagan. The machine registered Bostick’s vote as having been cast for republican Thom Tillis. Bostick reported the problem to an election worker, who told him to ‘do it again’
Voting machine and voter identification problems emerged in some U.S. states on Tuesday when Americans went to the polls in midterm elections that will shape the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Although a full picture of the problems was not yet clear, officials and voting rights advocates reported machine failures in North Carolina and Texas, polling breakdowns in a key Florida county and an overall increase in the number of people reporting they were turned away for lack of proper identification.
“It all points to problems we need to solve,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the non-partisan Brennan Center Democracy Program.”
Problems even the great Nate Silver couldn’t forecast. His overall predictions were off up to 5%
Ever since 2002, when Diebold machines were installed in Georgia, there have always been some very strange and surprising results, always in the Republicans favor. Let’s start at the beginning in 2002. Six days before the vote, polls showed Sen. Max Cleland, a decorated war veteran and Democratic incumbent, leading his Republican opponent Saxy Chambliss by five per centage points. The final result as told to us by the machines, Chambilss 53% Cleland 47%, an incredible swing of 12 points.
In the Governors race, those same polls showed Democrat Roy Barnes leading by a whopping 11%. On the day of the election the machines told us that his Republican opponent Sonny Perdue won 51% of the vote. By the way if that name sounds familiar, Sonny is the first cousin of David Perdue who just won the Georgia Senate seat! That same David Perdue who also won a shocking two per centage win over Jack Kingston in the Republican primary after Kingston was leading by five points in pre-election polls. A result, by the way, that Nate Silver found impossible to explain.
But the biggest problem was the voter suppression tactics used in Texas, Michigan and other states. This is from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Check out the voter suppression map on the ACLU website.
States across the country are passing measures that make it harder and harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. These measures include requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register, cutting back on early voting, eliminating Election Day registration, new restrictions on voter registration drives and additional barriers to voting for people with criminal convictions. The map below outlines which states passed voter suppression measures since January 1, 2013 and where the right to vote remains under siege today.
In Texas, voter suppression didn’t affect the Governor or Lieutenant Governor’s races, but affected the down ballot races.
Would Wendy Davis have beaten Greg Abbott were it not for the voter ID law? With a close to 1 million vote margin, probably not. But the voter ID law may have impacted close races around the state. For instance, Will Hurd beat Pete Gallego by only 2,500 votes in a district where 17,000 registered voters lacked the identification needed in order to vote. But regardless of who wins, the issue is about the right to vote, which hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens in Texas were denied.
It was Al Jazeera America through investigative reporter Greg Palast that revealed a Republican developed software program, Crosscheck, scrubbed the voter rolls in Kansas, Colorado, North Carolina and other states. This program was created by Kansas governor Sam Brownhack’s (who improbably won re-election despite his dismal results as governor) henchman, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who then sent it for use in 26 other states.
These names are then sent back to the state governments to inform an investigation of duplicate names on the voter rolls. While Kobach advertises Crosscheck as matching numerous identifiers, including the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of voters, a six-month investigation by Al Jazeera America revealed that Crosscheck rosters caught nothing more than matching first and last names. And voters remain on the suspect list even when middle names, Social Security numbers and suffixes (Jr., Sr.) don’t match. Yet all these people — the list contains nearly seven million names — are subject to losing their vote.
The program’s method of identifying and purging voters especially threaten the registrations of minority voters who are vulnerable because African-American, Asian-American and Hispanics are 67 percent more likely than white voters to share America’s most common names: Jackson, Washington, Lee, Rodriguez and so on.
It is no surprise that Republicans control most of the top election positions in Crosscheck’s 27 participating states. In all, Crosscheck tagged a breathtaking 6,951,484 voters for the possible removal from the voter rolls as “potential” duplicate voters.
The Crosscheck list purges could easily account for Republican victories in at least two Senate races. In North Carolina, the GOP’s Thom Tillis won over incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes. Crosscheck tagged a breathtaking 589,393 North Carolinians as possible illegal double voters (though state elections officials cut that down to roughly 190,000).
In Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner was able to force out incumbent Senator Mark Udall in a race that had poll-watchers guessing all summer. The outcome might have been more predictable if Colorado had made public that 300,842 of the state’s voters were now subject to being purged from the voter rolls.
The most surprising and insidious result of the election was ALEC/Republican Party’s winning of ten governorships, where some of the worst and most corrupt Koch Brothers’ controlled governors got re-elected. Scott Walker in Michigan, Rick Scott in Florida, Paul LePage in Maine, Sam Brownback in Kansas, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, were the worst of the bunch of Republican governors under investigation who were reelected. The Republicans will have 32 governorships in the preparation for the 2016 Presidential elections.
Full Legislative Control Tally: Republicans 29; Democrats 11; Split six; and three outcomes still unknown. (Note: Nebraska is non-partisan.)
Parties were also hoping to add to their majorities in a few chambers, thus creating supermajorities and adding momentum to push through priorities, while holding the power to override Gubernatorial vetoes. Republicans picked up a supermajority in the Florida House, flipping six seats from blue to red. They were also successful at breaking a Democratic supermajority in the Delaware Senate. While Republicans picked up two House seats, they were unable to break the Democratic supermajority in that chamber. Democrats were hoping to gain a supermajority in both chambers in California, but Republicans won enough seats to prevent that from occurring. Republicans maintained or expanded super majorities in both chambers of the Missouri, South Dakota and Tennessee legislatures.
2015 Full party control Tally: Republicans 23; Democrats six; Split 15; and five outcomes still unknown. (Note: Nebraska not included in this tally.)
Here is where the real damage can be done: the 2016 Presidential election through changing how the Electoral College votes are calculated. Currently 48 states have a “winner take all” awarding of Electoral College votes. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, use the winner of Congressional district methods, which can split the Electoral College votes between candidates. In the current system, the Democrats have a virtual lock on winning the Presidency because most of the states with the largest populations: California, New York, Pennsylvania, and the rest of the Northeast and West Coast states vote Democratic. Texas, with the significant increase in Latino voters, is projected to become solidly Democratic by 2020.
Last week, Michigan state Rep. Pete Lund (R) revealed a plan that would rig the Electoral College to ensure Republican victories in 2016 and beyond if it were enacted in a sufficient number of states. Like similar proposals from GOP lawmakers who proposed rigging the Electoral College in the past, Lund’s proposal takes advantage of the fact that there are several large states that tend to support Democrats in presidential election years but that are currently controlled by Republicans.
Right now, nearly every state allocates 100 percent of its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state as a whole. Lund’s proposal would change that calculation in the blue state of Michigan, however, while continuing to award each red state’s full slate of electoral votes to the Republican candidate for president. If this plan had been in effect in 2012, for example, Mitt Romney would have won a quarter of Michigan’s electoral votes despite losing the state to President Obama by nearly 10 points
The Republican gerrymandering in many states have set up consolidating the urban voting districts, which tend to vote Democratic, while increasing the number of rural and suburban voting districts which tend to vote Republican. If different methodologies were used, there would have been President Willard Romney, as shown by Fairvote.org.
I fully expect the 32 states controlled by the Republican governors to attempt to change the states’ Electoral College distribution methodology. There is nothing preventing them from doing so. The real damage of the 2014 election results is that the Koch Brothers/American Legislative Exchange Council will have rigged the final part of their electoral dominance strategy, the Presidency. Having won reelection, despite under dubious ethical means, the Koch Brothers’ favorite stooge, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, could become the President in 2016, despite losing the popular vote by a wide margin.
The right-wing putsch of the United States will be complete. What will happen with the Republicans controlling the U.S. Senate and the House will continue their attempts to discredit President Barack Obama and blocking as much legislative progress from occurring as they can. As shown in the 2014 midterm election results, the only way the Republicans can win is through the combination they have put in place, combining voter alienation with their existing voter suppression techniques.
It is time for liberal/progressive to stop being small cats and stand up to the vast right wing conspiracy’s onslaught. Greater voter registration and voter education efforts and recruiting and selection of better candidates at all levels of government is needed IMMEDIATELY. This means getting rid of the ineffectual leaders of the national Democratic Party campaigns starting with Democratic National Committee (DNC) CEO Amy K. Dacey and Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and replacing them with fighters, like the previously successful head of the DNC, former Vermont governor Howard Dean.
It is more than a little ironic that the 2014 midterm elections helped prove Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vast right wing conspiracy theory corrected. However, it is different and more malicious than the conspiracy to remove her husband from the Presidency. The new one will be used to stop her from becoming president in 2016.