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Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I've commented before about the BBC's - well - shit coverage of the US election and they are still featuring stories about a McCain comeback.

Ain't going to happen.

Much as they, and many others, were talking about a Hillary comeback well after it became statistically impossible.

I should have laid a bookies bet when the odds were a lot better.

I had an interesting conversation about this at the weekend about, essentially, how repthugs might steal the election. My take: a landslide will take care of it. Only in a close election, like 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio) can they utilise their various tactics to remove Dem votes and result in Repthug victories.

But this doesn't mean they are not trying. The latest sign of desperation is to claim that a voter registration effort called ACORN amounts to a voter stealing effort. Trouble is they are facing a Dem 'ground game', driven by the internet, which has never, ever been seen before. has been traveling around and documenting this, but it just builds on the grassroots, netroots tactics I've been reporting for months.

And this is already playing out in a massive turnout,. In early voting Obama is 23% ahead.

Another meme trotted out by people like - ahem - the BBC's US correspondents is the so-called Bradley Effect. Namely that whites will say they'll vote for the black guy but don't in the end. According to the pundits, this means that Barack needs to be at least 6% ahead to take account of this.

Trouble is that this is a myth, in the primaries Obama consistenttly out performed the polls. Plus although there may be some of this, there is also the reverse.

What has been relied on in the past is, essentially, cheating and it's no less evident this time around.

From the potential for electronic vote tampering - which is being countered by a grass-roots infiltration campign - to a foreclosure-based remove-the-vote effort to:
Despite eight years of federal and state efforts to create a more standardized, higher-tech national framework for election administration, most state votes will still be administered by county election boards whose competence and equipment vary wildly.

"In South Florida you've got areas that are going to be on their third separate voting technology in their third consecutive presidential election," said Doug Chapin, the editor of the non-partisan "Ohio once again is in ground zero for policy changes and litigation."

Florida, the state that has been synonymous with Election Day chaos since the 2000 recount, remains especially troubled despite intense local efforts to remedy its problems. A 2006 congressional election was marred by a dispute concerning more than 18,000 "undervotes" on ballots that registered votes for some offices but not for the congressional race itself. The losing campaign claimed that unusually high number of undervotes was due to a software glitch on "touch-screen" voting machines.

The newest state on the list of potential troublespots is shadowed by a disastrous election in Denver two years ago. Denver County responded by scrapping its machines and reverting to old-fashioned paper ballots and printed lists of voters this year, but critics are still worried about the state's capacity to manage the surge of registrations in a closely fought race.
It is the grass/net roots which is now so huge and so organised which is countering any of this - but in the foreground it's the landslide poll numbers across all the key states which is wiping it out as relevant.

Quote from Ben Smith's blog from a Repthug consultant:
Reagan Dems and Independents. Call them blue-collar plus. Slightly more Target than Walmart.

Yes, the spot worked. Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he's too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT...but they STILL don't give a f***. They said right out, "He won't do anything better than McCain" but they're STILL voting for Obama.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I sat on the other side of the glass and realized...this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy....
There isn't much doubt that everything will be tried but there also isn't much doubt that - bar the completely unforeseen - it's all over bar the shouting.

This explains why Repthugs are running for the hills and the excuses are starting to be made.

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