Will American Elections Ever Again Be Legitimate?

Thom plus logo Only an established, legal "right to vote" can defeat Republican voter suppression.

Republican politicians and conservative commentators are shocked, shocked! that Chief Justice John Roberts would say that people who voted before election day in Pennsylvania but their ballots were delayed by Lewis DeJoy's sabotage of the Post Office should have their vote counted.

Increasingly, this election is coming down to the simple question of how effective 40 years of concerted Republican voter suppression efforts will be.

Their main strategy, particularly since George and Jeb Bush got together in 2000 to use a Texas felon list to purge 90,000 Black people off voting roles in Florida, has been removing the names of people who are legitimate voters.

Those people then go to the polls and are given "provisional ballots" which, in most cases, are only counted if there's a lawsuit.

They think they voted, they tell pollsters they voted, but their votes don't get counted.

Back in 2004, fully 22 states experienced what has now come to be called "red shift"-where the exit polls are "wrong" but almost always in a way that benefits Republicans.

For example, in the 2016 election, the exit polls showed Hillary Clinton carrying Florida by 47.7 percent to Trump's 46.4 percent, although the "actual" counted vote had Trump winning by 49.0 percent to 47.8 percent. Trump gained 2.5 percentage points . . . somehow.

In North Carolina, exit polls showed Clinton winning 48.6 percent to 46.5 percent, but the votes that were counted turned out with Trump's 49.9 to Clinton's 46.1, a red shift of 5.9 percentage points for the GOP.

Pennsylvania's exit polls showed that Clinton won 50.5 percent to Trump's 46.1 percent, but when "eligible" votes were counted, Trump carried the state 48.8 percent to Clinton's 47.6 percent-a red shift of 5.6 percentage points.

In Wisconsin, it was Clinton beating Trump in the exit polls 48.2 percent to 44.3 percent, but the "real" count put Trump over the top at 48.8 percent to 47.6 percent, a red shift of 5.1 percentage points.

Just these differences, reflecting thousands of people who showed up, voted, and didn't realize their votes were never going to be counted because they had been purged from voting rolls prior to the election, handed the White House to Donald Trump.

Perhaps even more interesting, in states without a Republican secretary of state, there is virtually no shift at all, either red or blue, and hasn't been ever. The election results typically comport with the exit polls in blue states.

While there is a clear contest between Trump and Biden, between Republicans and Democrats across the country, the real contest going on right now is for the legitimacy and accuracy of American elections.

Republicans are doing everything they can to keep people from voting, and then, when people do vote, to try to prevent those votes from being counted.

When this election is over, if American democracy survives, our first project has to be to establish a firm, irrevocable right to vote for all American citizens.



DrRichard 1 year 49 weeks ago

We really do need a standardized system of tamper-proof voting, but getting states to agree to give up their control over each system seems unlikely. Perhaps when things get totally out of whack we'll have a real push for wholesale revision. It's possible; somethng analogous happened in England in 1832. Parliament had not been reapportioned for centuries and the growing cities were virtually unrepresented while a small number of rich landowners controlled much of the rural vote (one borough was actually submerged by the sea). Finally popular pressure forced a much more equitable distribution of power.

4VonRen's picture
4VonRen 1 year 49 weeks ago


I wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence in this blog. Repeatedly we are reminded how much effort goes into stealing groups of individuals opportunity, and their right to vote. Rock-solid methods must be put in place that will erase gerrymandering, thwart politicians from going behind the backs of their constituents to create legislation that supports their wicked greed, but does not support the voice of the people.

hankgagnon's picture
hankgagnon 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ah Thom.............The Corrupt DNC Democrats did the EXACT same thing to Bernie Sanders in California and several other states. It was well documented. Creepy Senile Joe Biden is unfit for duty. They RIGGED it for the wrong person again, and now Trump will win again

alis volat's picture
alis volat 1 year 49 weeks ago

There is nothing more Un-American than taking someone else's voting rights or ballot count away. All that shit about a shining city on a hill, leading the free world, and being number 1 is meaningless until we do what it takes to secure the vote. Seriously, if someone wants to insist America is great, they should make it a great place to vote and be counted.

Bernie knows the truth. He endorsed Joe, wants everyone to vote for Joe, and he will be able to push this new administration in a good direction. No one will fight harder for voting rights than the left, and Bernie and Thom are already leading the charge.

Legend 1 year 49 weeks ago

Hankagnon, The mainstrem media picks who is going to win party nominations. When Bernie made a truthful comment that education had improved in Cuba under Castro, The media was all over it making Bernie the Communist of the year. The media hates Bernie because he wants to get money out of politics and they make billions of dollars off of that money. In 2016 Bernie got very little air time compared to Hilary and Trump got 10x more than Hilary or the other Republican primary candidates. It is very simple.

Trump does not do well when not getting Fox News Softball questions.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 1 year 49 weeks ago

A standard for voting nationwide is the LAST thing our ruling classes want, so, lets not hold our breath waiting for that to happen, no matter who prevails in November. It is, however, one of my favorite dreams.

My favorite is dreaming that my nation could, someday, live up to its rhetoric.

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