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a "Dumboacracy" Issue

by JOSHUA FRANK

What a waste of time and money this is. This Ohio recount business is nonsensical. The Green Party and David Cobb are calling it a democracy issue. More like “dumbocracy.”

Larry Long, the Executive Director of the Ohio Association of County Commissioners, claims that Cobb’s actions are “an exercise in futility and a ridiculous waste of county tax money.” He’s not kidding. Each county in the state has had to shell out thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of staff time to proceed with the recount.

“But this is vote fraud, Bush stole the damn election,” you say!? Not so fast there.

Voting fraud in the US has been a bipartisan endeavor for decades. As Alexander Cockburn recently attested, “The Democrats are getting worse at it and the Republicans better. Back in 1960 it was the other way round. The best-documented stolen election in history is probably the one that put Lyndon Johnson in the US Senate. Next came the one that gave JFK the White House. So, for sure there’s vote suppression in Ohio and Florida ‘Stolen election’ is one way to divert attention from the fact that the Democrats had a lousy candidate and gave up on most of the country, investing everything in two or three states. Small wonder they lost the popular vote, not to mention other minor details, like the US senate.”

Anyway, the Democrats lost the popular vote by over 3.3 million votes, and regardless of what comes out of the Ohio recount effort they will still have lost the nation-wide vote by several mill. The Dems indeed have no reason to complain. In 2000, they griped and grumbled (not to mention blamed Nader) about how Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush. Now, even if Kerry were to somehow win Ohio, he still would have lost the popular vote, and yet the ABB-ers argue that he ought be in office. What hypocrites.

The truth is the recount will not shed much new light on voting fraud, nor will it change the outcome of an election that was a result of institutional defects, not voting machine or punch card failures. For our “dumbocracy” rigs the electorate in favor of the power-elite, every time. It doesn’t matter who’s the victor. The Greens should know this.

They’d also do better to address why it is the Democrats continue to lose, election after election, when they should be whipping the Republicans all over the damn joint. But instead they are focusing on how it is the Repubs stole it from ’em. Sheesh.

Plus, are not the Greens’ efforts to “make every vote count” a bit bizarre? Or is it just me? Are their labors not legitimizing a flawed electoral system, one that denies the popular vote should even matter? By putting so much energy into actions of the electors, going so far as to protest their voting, as Cobb did this past week, he only validated what it is the electoral college represents: a tool for the state to use for pre-empting the desires of the masses.

While the Greens put more energy into Cobb’s recount efforts in Ohio, they are neglecting a bigger concern: rebuilding a party that was destroyed by their own “Nobody But Kerry” (aka safe-state) devices in 2004.

Sure, Cobb claims the Greens grew this year. He consistently brags that they elected a few people, registered some new voters. Yadda yadda. Way to go guys. But don’t be fooled. It’s all just smoke and mirrors. The Greens’ political strength is gone.

In the end Cobb’s campaign didn’t help John Kerry win the election as they had hoped, so they are now raising loads of money (by Green Party standards) for a recount to vindicate themselves. A sixth-place finish in the presidential race (behind the Constitution Party for crying out loud!) and a loss of access to half of their state ballot must not feel so hot. I hate to say I told ya so, but …

And as a side-note, I think it is hilarious that I have received so many emails (mostly from ABB Democrats) for simply asking Greens and others to demand the release of financial records of the David Cobb’s recount effort (which has been done on this side of the political terrain, and the response has been that we’ll see all the files AFTER the recount is finished), as I am not yet convinced their aims in Ohio are democratic in nature (Hint: Green Party HQs aren’t the ones reaping the financial benefits of the recount). The oft-repeated claim that I personally want to destroy the Green Party has me in stitches.

It ain’t much of a “Party,” guys. Just a couple of bald dudes standing around an empty kegger reminiscing about the good old times when they were the dominant third party in these great states.

Boy, those were the days.

JOSHUA FRANK, a contributor to A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, is putting the finishing touches on Left Out: How Liberals did Bush’s Work for Him, to be published by Common Courage Press in 2005. He welcomes comments at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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