Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Digby, among others, is worried that the Republicans are going to steal the election. A glance at voter suppression efforts in Florida, Ohio, overseas, and other places certainly raises this possibility. Recent history also underlines the concern. There appears to be a distinct possibility that yet again the candidate who a plurality of voters favor in the voting booth is going to lose.
So what we do about it? That's a tough one. Democratic politics is based on an underlying consensus about both the substance and process of politics. It has always been vulnerable to faction. A faction, according to Madison, is a group in society whose interests are the severe detriment either to another group or to the interests of the community at large. Factions are particularly dangerous when they refuse to accept the norms of the democratic process- in other words, when they will lie, cheat, intimidate, and manipulate in pursuit of their goals, consequences be damned.
This seems to be a pretty good working definition of the conservative movement today. Its overarching aim to to oppress undesirables in America, and its policies will either accidentally or on purpose undermine the health of the our security, society and economy. And as we have learned, they will do anything, literally anything, to gain and hold power.
It is very difficult in a democracy to cope with groups who do not believe in democracy. But we certainly have to try. Part of the solution is to respond in kind, but only up to certain limits- we do not want to become what we detest. But we do need to beef up our legal apparatus and be active as watchdogs. There is already a good deal of this. We also need to prime the media to pay attention to this issue. Kerry's surrogates need to be out there screaming about voter suppression. This will both get the media to focus on the issue, but it is also a covert negative attack against Republicans. Which brings us to our third tactic, to make Republican ruthlessness a campaign issue. George Bush benefits because he looks tough. Fine, we will take that perceived toughness and transform it into a weakness by making him look like a tyrant in embryo.
Hey, it's even true.