Donald Trump, who lost the 2016 presidential election by at least 2.8 million votes, has announced an "investigation." He says the federal government will look into his false assertion that some three million illegal aliens voted for Hillary Clinton last fall, allegedly costing him a popular vote mandate.
The assertion is being gleefully rejected by much of the corporate media as "a lie."
If we thought his calls for an investigation of our thoroughly broken election system were serious, we would welcome them.
But Trump's relentless obsession with voter fraud has very effectively shielded the corrupted electoral system that put him in the White House. His loud shouts have completely blacked out any discussion of the massive Jim Crow registration stripping, electronic vote flipping, and slavery-based Electoral College that put him in the White House, and that have effectively neutered American democracy.
Meanwhile, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, all of whom rightfully won presidential races but then refused to fight for them, have said not a word about any of this.
So let's take a closer look.
In 2000, Governor Jeb Bush used a computer program call ChoicePoint to strip more than 90,000 legitimate voters from Florida's registration rolls. As reported by Greg Palast, most were black and Hispanic, and thus far less likely to vote for the Governor's brother, George W. Bush, than for Gore.
In the midst of the vote count, as reported by Bev Harris, some 16,000 votes were electronically stripped Al Gore's tally in Volusia County, while 4,000 were added to the Bush column. The "error" was later "corrected," but not until the entire momentum of reporting on the election had shifted, and Bush was wrongly projected the winner by Fox News. The other broadcast networks meekly followed the right-wing leader.
During recounts in south Florida, well-dressed Bush supporters physically intimidated election officials attempting a recount. This "Brooks Brothers riot" was followed by the infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision, stopping the recounts and giving Bush a 537 vote "victory" in Florida, and thus a win in the Electoral College, despite Gore's half-million vote victory in the popular vote. Gore has never since campaigned for election reform or abolition of the Electoral College. But countless Democrats have spent these years attacking citizen activist Ralph Nader for daring to run in an election clearly rigged for the Bush family. Had they instead campaigned for an end to the Electoral College, Donald Trump might not now be president.
In Ohio 2004, literally an eleventh hour electronic vote flip turned a 4.2% Kerry lead (more than 200,000 votes) into a statistically impossible 2.5% Bush victory. The electronic count was done by a Bush-affiliated computer contractor on the same Tennessee-based computers that housed the emails of the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove. Kerry's staff was thoroughly briefed on these and other "anomalies." In the twelve years since, Kerry has said nothing.
In 2016, millions of mostly black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Muslim citizens were stripped Jim Crow-style from registration rolls in some thirty states by Republican election officials claiming to be fighting "duplicate voting." As Palast has reported, there is virtually no record in the US of anyone voting twice.
But the eliminations and other shenanigans were critical in key swing states such as Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where Hillary Clinton won the exit polls but lost in the "official" vote tally, and thus the Electoral College. In Michigan, which she allegedly lost by 10,000 votes, more than 75,000 ballots were reported without a presidential preference, an absurd impossibility in any conceivably legitimate election. To date, the Democrats have said nothing about it.
Indeed, despite widespread reports of systemic disenfranchisement and major problems with electronic voting machines, Hillary Clinton disappeared from the political stage the day after the election. She refused to help fund recounts undertaken by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, sending lawyers to "observe" but not participate. She has bitterly blamed her Electoral College defeat on Russian interference and FBI manipulation of public opinion. But she has joined Gore and Kerry in doing zero to investigate or reform the corruption and manipulation of a broken electoral system.
By contrast, Stein's recount efforts met horrific resistance from Trump operatives. Trump lawyers replayed the Florida 2000 Brooks Brothers riots in Michigan and Wisconsin by intimidating election officials and volunteers. They made it clear that had Trump won the popular vote count, but been deprived of a majority of electoral votes, he would have fought like hell. But like Gore and Kerry, Clinton continues to say and do nothing.
GOP manipulation of the electoral system has hardly been limited to the presidency. Three US Senate seats in 2014 and three more in 2016 were decided in elections deeply tainted by race-based vote stripping and electronic official count manipulation, likely flipping control of the US Senate…and thus the Supreme Court. Innumerable state and local elections have also been tainted by fraud and manipulation.
Serious questions have also been raised about the conduct of the Democrats' 2016 primaries, especially in New York and California.
If the United States is ever to transcend the Trump disaster and become anything resembling a democracy, the voting system must be reformed from top to bottom. That includes universal automatic voter registration, a four-day holiday for voting, hand-counted paper ballots, a ban on gerrymandering, abolition of the Electoral College, the end of corporate money in our campaigns.
Trump's relentless complaints about non-existent fraudulent voting guarantee none of that is being discussed. The deafening silence from the Democratic Party and its three recent candidates who won the presidency but refused to fight for it seals the deal.
We would certainly welcome a credible top-to-bottom investigation of our broken electoral system.
At some point, a grassroots movement must win an electoral system in which American citizens are guaranteed the right to vote and to have that vote counted.
But Trump's obsessive screams about non-existent voter fraud, and the Democrats' unwillingness to even discuss the realities of what has happened in recent elections they won but lost, seem to constitute a very high wall against a sustainable American future.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, including THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT, at www.freepress.org, where Bob's FITRAKIS FILES also reside. Harvey's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.