In eleven weeks’ time, the United States of America will hold its Presidential election.
The best armed and most militarised nation on the planet regularly threatens sovereign countries with military interventions and deadly economic sanctions and blockades if they fail to adopt neo-liberal economic policies which favour the rich and punish the poor. They use their hired liars in the billionaire owned press and media to effectively nullify democratic elections and declare governments illegitimate if the ones elected do not lick Uncle Sam’s muddy and blood-stained boots. Yet the truth is, one of the least democratic nations in the world is actually America. It is not the land of the free, it is the land of rigged elections and politicians for sale.
Venezuela and Bolivia held fair and democratic elections in the last twenty-four months but the victors, Maduro and Morales respectively, believe in promoting people over profits and therefore had to be declared cheats, dictators and illegitimate. Venezuela has faced crippling and cruel economic sanctions which have caused over 40,000 premature deaths from denial of essential medicines and foodstuffs since over 6 million Venezuelans voted to re-elect Nicolas Maduro in 2018. Evo Morales was re-elected President in Bolivia’s fair and free elections last October but his unwillingness to support privatisation of the economy and determination to stick with anti-poverty economic measures led the US to support armed forces within Bolivia, and an illegal coup was hatched forcing Morales to flee the country.
America peddles the myth that both Venezuela and Bolivia are undemocratic countries which must be reformed by outside intervention if necessary but a timely book by a highly respected investigative journalist and celebrated author exposes the fact that under any objective spotlight the country most in urgent need of outside intervention to address grotesquely unhealthy undemocratic practices is the United States.
How Trump Stole 2020 is a Warning Not a Prediction
‘HOW TRUMP STOLE 2020’ has been written by Greg Palast as a warning not a prediction. It has been published now to provide enough time to alert and educate American citizens how to avoid the disaster of another Trump Presidency but the information and detailed research it contains is proof of the embarrassing fact that America lecturing the world about democracy and democratic elections is equivalent to Victor Hugo’s 1831 hunchback character Quasimodo demanding other bell ringer’s stand up straight.
Acknowledging the long, murky, and shameful record of voter manipulation and vote-rigging in America’s past the book concentrates mostly on scorching analysis of the cheating which got Trump into the White House in 2016 and the measures which have been implemented since to literally erase millions of voters from the voter registration rolls. Not just voters, but primarily black African Americans, Asians, and young voters. In other words, the exact demographic least likely to vote for Trump.
Palast Research Not Russian Interference Yarns Deserve Widespread Coverage
If only this book was given a fraction of the coverage and attention that spurious stories about Russian interference in the electoral process have been afforded then the American people and the world would be better informed and educated about what is actually happening in the real world.
We know that the limited choice of parties and candidates in America is itself an acute democratic restriction as the differences between the rich Republicans and rich Democrats are often minute and irrelevant as far as the big issues of wealth redistribution, tax favours for the rich, illegal wars and overseas bombing campaigns are concerned. The sad fact that Barack Obama illegally bombed and used deadly drones more than even Iraq warmonger Bush is illustration enough of the Tweedledum/Tweedledee nature of American politics.
However, despite her deservedly tarnished reputation and inability to inspire the poor or the young to rally behind her Hilary Clinton was still way ahead in opinion polls at this time in the 2016 election cycle, just as Democratic nominee Joe Biden is today. The latest CNN poll of polls gives Biden a 12-point lead over Trump but on the eve and on the day of the November 2016 poll all the opinion polls were predicting a Clinton victory. In terms of popular vote across the whole country, Clinton did indeed poll 3 million more votes than Trump but because of the complex and easily manipulated Electoral College system used by the US, Trump actually ended up winning enough votes to be declared President. What most people don’t know is what went on behind the scenes to make that outcome possible.
How Many Know 2 Million Votes Cast in 2016 Were Not Counted?
In 2016 Donald Trump apparently won Michigan by 10,700 votes. But in Michigan’s largest city of Detroit over 75,000 ballots were never counted. The voting machines broke down and over 75,000 legitimately cast votes in a city which heavily votes Democrat were simply not counted. The barriers to voting in the US are enormous but even when people make it through those barriers, and cast their votes in critical swing states, their vote isn’t always counted.
In Wisconsin Trump won by 22,000 votes but late changes to voter registration and ID rules resulted in 200,000 voters, predominantly young and black voters, losing their right to vote.
Almost 2 million ballots were cast but not counted in the 2016 presidential race. But not just anyone’s ballot got tossed. The chance of having your vote simply go uncounted, “spoiled,” is 900% higher if you’re Black than if you’re white. Consider that fact again. A 900% higher possibility of a black vote not being counted than a white one. Racism is deeply ingrained within US society and its so-called democratic institutions.
The book exposes the fact votes get challenged and discounted for a multitude of reasons. From using the wrong colour pen, to putting an “X” instead of filling in a bubble, or not using the correct envelope, or you mailing it with one stamp, when the ballot required two, resulting in postage due. But one of the most egregious reasons votes can get trashed is that your signature doesn’t match the one on file — the one you signed on the form when you first registered to vote perhaps several decades ago. So, if your signature differs in any way today from when you registered 20, 30 or 40 years ago prepare to be challenged and your vote declared ‘spoiled’ if you are black.
Greg Palast himself explained the nature of the undemocratic processes during a radio interview recently with political activist and former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader:
“Then we have voter ID challenges. That’s exactly how Trump shoplifted Wisconsin back in 2016. They changed the law so that two weeks before the 2016 election, two weeks, the courts approved a Republican plan, signed by Governor Walker, which required photo voter ID to vote. The thing is that 182,000 University of Wisconsin students with state photo ID, that ID was disqualified — but your concealed carry gun permit that was qualified. As a result, 182,000 students were suddenly disenfranchised before the election.
In addition, according to a University of Wisconsin study, 50,000 African-Americans lost their vote, because guess who doesn’t have driver’s licenses? People who don’t have cars, who don’t drive. And while that may include you Ralph, in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin that’s mostly African-Americans and Hispanics who live in Milwaukee. 50,000 lost their vote. So you have 182,000 students losing their vote in Wisconsin, 50,000 African Americans, minimum, and Trump supposedly wins Wisconsin by 22,000 votes?”
Almost 17 Million Registered Voters Have Been Wiped Off the Roll Since 2018
Imagine reading reports about 2 million votes being cast in say Venezuela or Bolivia but not being counted? It would be used as justification for military intervention by the US. Yet that is exactly what happened in 2016. The situation is even worse in 2020. As the book explains a staggering 16.7 million registered voters have been removed from the voters roll since 2018 on the basis of a dodgy US Supreme Court decision in June 2018 which makes it legal to remove a registered voter from the voters roll if they have failed to vote in two successive elections or fail to answer an electoral notice postcard. Amid mountains of junk mail delivered daily, failure to respond to a postcard in the democratic US results in you losing your vote and not even knowing about it.
One heart-breaking story with pictures illustrates the depth of unfairness contained within these new voter suppression tactics. Palast himself witnessed the effects of a Trump supporting Governor’s ‘voter purge’ tactics.
In the November 2018 mid-term election in the state of Georgia the first black female Democratic party candidate for State Governor, Stacey Abrams, was widely expected to triumph but ended up losing to the sitting Republican Governor and Secretary State Brian Kemp, on the back of an incredible voter purge that literally wiped out 500,000 potential voters, the overwhelming majority of them black voters.
One woman was crying hysterically as she witnessed her 92-year-old great aunt being physically ejected from an Atlanta polling booth as she was informed she was no longer registered to vote. That 92-year old woman had voted in the same place for 50 years ever since the murder of her cousin, Martin-Luther King Jr. She had not moved in those 50 years. Yet she was unilaterally removed from the voters’ roll on the pretext that she had moved and was therefore no longer entitled to vote. Martin-Luther King Jr’s cousin was denied a vote and was thrown out of the polling booth. A 92-year-old black woman in America. How symbolic of America’s putrid racism and undemocratic core.
Vote Rigging and Election Theft Is Alive and Kicking in the United States
The extensive research conducted by Greg Palast and his team exposed the arbitrary, immoral, and wholly undemocratic nature of Governor Kemp’s voter purge and posts an ominous warning to everyone in America who is considering voting against Trump. Read how he explained what Kemp did while Secretary of State and defending his seat from challenge by a black woman:
“Look, Brian Kemp, I’ve been investigating him for Rolling Stone for seven years. This didn’t just start. And I’ve been working with Stacey Abrams for years and her organization hired my expert team. What’s happened is that Brian Kemp [pioneered] the main way that they’ve stolen this election. Again, we can steal it back. He came up with a new way of purging voter rolls, that is erasing voters. He removed half a million voters saying that they had moved, that they left Georgia or left their city. I had the experts from Amazon and eBay, these are the people that know where you were last Tuesday at 2 p.m., they went through every single name of every person purged by Brian Kemp, the GOP Secretary of State. He’s purging these people while he’s running for office. He’s eliminating Black voters, he’s bleaching voter rolls, because these people supposedly moved? But you know what, Ralph? We went through and we found out that a third of a million people on that list had never moved anywhere. Never! 340,134 people to be exact, were removed from the voter rolls, who had never moved anywhere”
No Russian interference. No Putin sponsored online attacks. Just simple straightforward purging of voters who may potentially vote against him. That’s what Governor Kemp, Republican Secretary of State, did without a morsel of justification. One-third of a million votes were stolen in one State alone. The figure across America is 16.7 million. Primarily black, young, poor, Asian, and Hispanic voters have been removed from the voters’ roll and don’t even know it yet.
In addition, amid the Covid19 pandemic, the demand for mail-in voting has dramatically increased. Now 45% of all voters intend to mail in their vote to avoid polling booth queues and unnecessary contact. But according to research, 62% of mail-in voters intend to support Biden and only 24% intend to support Trump so he is now intent on making mail-in voting as difficult as possible and refuses to release necessary funds to the US Postal Service to allow them to facilitate mail-in votes. In ‘democratic’ America getting to vote is being made more difficult, especially if you are young, black, a student, Asian or Native American.
I am no cheerleader for Joe Biden. I think he is from the same corrupt political swamp of nepotism and elitism which Trump and Clinton occupy. The tactics used by the Republicans to deny black Americans and students the vote in important swing states have been utilised repeatedly by the Democratic establishment in 2016 and again earlier this year to undemocratically deny Bernie Sanders support in the Democratic Primaries. Sanders would have won the nomination but for the undemocratic practices of the Democratic Party elites.
Ordinary citizens all across America must heed the warning contained in Greg Palast’s book. They should check their voter registration and do as outlined in detail in the book or come November they will have another stolen election.