Theft or stupidity?

In a stunning defeat for the American people, President Bush won the majority of the popular vote on Tuesday. The only question to consider is: how did this happen? Is it due to the well-documented capabilities of crooked Republicans to steal an election, or even worse, is it due to the stupidity of the American electorate?

Crying foul in the election may seem like sore losing at this point, but the Republican Party’s behavior in the aftermath of the last Presidential election must be remembered. They flooded the courts with lawsuits detailing why the votes of certain counties in Florida should NOT be counted, because they were leading for the moment. If the recounts had been allowed to continue, as the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study showed, we would have seen that Bush lost both the electoral vote and the popular vote last time.

He did still take the presidency without winning the popular vote. Now, four years later, the Republicans have had plenty of time to formulate how to make sure their candidate won this time, without such a blatant fiasco. The easiest path to projected legitimacy is, of course, the winning of the popular vote. But, as Josef Stalin once said, “It is not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.”

A third of votes cast in this election were counted by electronic voting machines. You can surf the web for myriad tales of their disaster in past elections. For example, the source code of Diebold machines are a “trade secret,” and elections officials are legally barred from examining them. However, if a machine breaks down in the middle of voting day (from, say, an influx of too many Democratic votes) a technician from Diebold is dispatched to “fix” the computer, and voting is resumed on the machines.

On Election Day, around 3 p.m., exit polls were leaning heavily towards Kerry. Bush was getting upset. And then machines started having “glitches.” Technicians were dispatched. And, as Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell promised on August 14, Ohio “deliver[ed] its electoral votes to Bush” — with or without the will of the people.

The case for theft is not a far-fetched one, especially considering the polls. Most news organizations showed the candidates dead even. But the polling was done on land lines, those Americans who only own a cell phone were never included. Those voters are generally younger, and according to the Rock the Vote/Zogby text message poll of this constituency, they favored Kerry over Bush 55 percent to 40 percent.

How, then, did Bush “win” a majority of the popular vote? Either he stole it, or Americans really are stupid enough to vote against their interests and safety.

To consider that more than half of the voting public would vote for such a terribly incompetent president, who has tanked the economy, poisoned his own people, ignored threats of attacks, let the perpetrators go free, attacked innocent countries for resources, made a whole new host of terrorists (that will attack us shortly) and made this world so much worse to live in, is unfathomable.

Whether he won 51 percent of the popular vote or only 45 percent, it still means we have a lot of Americans who would vote for what some historians are already calling the worst president in history.

Although it seems there may still be thievery in this election, it is the electorate that is truly worrisome. Winston Churchill said it best, “In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve.”

I fear for what such a self-destructive populace deserves these next four years.

Chaelan MacTavish can be reached at [email protected]