Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Russians may be coming again ... but we've larger voting problems

Before we go to war with North Korea, before the unhinged Right starts killing CNN reporters, before acetamenophin destroys what's left of our empathy ...

When last we tuned in to RT while clicking on Sputnik News, we learned that our antagonists Boris and Natasha Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear (see here and here for the Wiki background) had been hard at work scaring the pants off moose and squirrel everybody from Jameses Comey and Clapper to your friendly neighborhood Dem precinct captain about what, precisely, they had been up to in the summer of 2016.  That is to say, beyond humiliating Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile, John Podesta, Huma Abedin, and the rest of the DNC hacks that got hacked.

We learned that they hacked into 39 states' voter databases -- or tried to, and succeeded in getting into perhaps just one, Illinois.  Alex Ward at Vox has it, with a link over to the original at Bloomberg, and previously and briefly referenced by yours truly in the second half of this aggrepost.

While this is indeed alarming, I still find voter suppression via photo ID and partisan gerrymandering to be greater threats to our republic.  Paper ballots with verifiable paper trails -- something like the Scantron-style electronic voting machines Denton County has just adopted -- would resolve the  Russian problem, but nothing short of a blue tsunami will fix the other two, and unless they can find something to run on besides "Trump is evil/Russia/Impeach",  2018 isn't going to be the cycle the Donkeys are looking for.

(*Ed note: let me pause here and acknowledge my friend Brad Friedman's lasting concerns about anything machine count-relatedExperts appear to disagree on the hackability, or at least the ease thereof, of scanned ballot counters.)

For the benefit of my conspiratorially-minded Democratic friends, let me point out -- as I have repeatedly in the past -- that the key to cracking the Russian code lies not in tracing election hacking attempts but in Trump's still-concealed tax returns.  Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Felix Sater, and the rest of that ilk are the threads special counsel Mueller should be -- and hopefully is -- pulling on.  And if Trump, or Jeff Sessions, or Devin Nunes, or any Republican in the administration or the Congress is found to be obstructing that investigation, then the walls will come tumbling down.

Focusing on the wrong Russiagate is starting to show up in polling as a loser for Democrats.  It's a winner for the corporate media and ratings, however, especially MSNBC.  Before Mika B's facelift became an atrocious but ultimately distracting Tweet -- even Tucker Carlson thinks so, by Jeebus -- Trump usually didn't give half of one solid shit about the other liberal media news channel; he's mobilized his base to destroy CNN, and now even Julian Assange is piling on.

I would like to also point out that the Democratic Party has bigger fish to fry than continuing to demonize Jill Stein, but I'm convinced that unhealthy obsession has become part of their DNA.

So with all that, plus 1) Kris Kobach, 2) a Texas Legislature poised to over-reach once more with a photo ID law that will require a couple of years for the courts to once again nullify, and 3) gerrymandered congressional and statehouse districts thanks to Tom DeLay almost fifteen years ago, as Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker reminded us in his comprehensive and compelling piece "America's Future is Texas"... why are you more worried about what Russian hackers may or may not be doing in the next election cycle?  Your vote barely counts for anything as it is.

On a more positive note, here's an easily attainable goal for those of us in Harris County: #FireStanStanart and replace him with Diane Trautman, and then push the mostly Republican county commissioners to approve and purchase paper ballots for 2020.  Because if Democrats can actually win some elections -- particularly this one -- in 2018, those GOPers will be forced to do so, due to the caterwauling from their base about Ill Eagles voting.

See how easy this is?  Just requires a little focus on the proper thing.


Harry Hamid said...

Fire Stan Stanart?

But he's got that great hair, and I always look forward to seeing his smile when I have to check probate or property records online:

Gadfly said...

Ohh, add this to your hacking-refudiation links: