Thursday, July 22, 2004

Scaring people away from the polls

So the talk lately has been that Bush, if he's trailing in the polls going into November, will
postpone the election using a terror attack (or the threat of one) as an excuse. Would the administration stoop that low? I wouldn't be surprised. But someone has sent me a very interesting article which makes the believable claim that Bush's scheme to steal the election involves not postponing it -- but making people think he's going to.

The plan goes basically like this:

Bush and Ashcroft and Ridge, in the days leading up to the election, get people worked up about a "high risk" of terrorist attack. "We've received credible reports that terrorists are in position to attack polling places on election day. " "We can't say exactly when or where, but the chatter has been high." "As a precaution, we're raising the Threat Level to Red." Administration officials will drop hints (mostly off-the-record, but to prominent journalists) about how the election might have to be postponed. A "contingency plan" for postponment might even be revealed.

People will get nervous. Liberals will be suspicious that it's a ploy, and be up in arms, crying that Bush is trying to postpone the election in order to steal it. Even many patriotic conservatives will say, "No, George! If you postpone the election, the terrorists will win!" Still, everyone will be uneasy. Is it a ploy? Is Osama really going to attack? Do I live in a potential target area?

And then, on election day, after the polls have already opened, Bush/Ashcroft/Ridge will announce that a terrorist attack is imminent. And they'll keep the polls open. Imagine how this will play out:

"We have confirmed reports that Al-Queda cells are planning to attack polling places in California. We cannot say which polling places, but there is a high risk of attack. America will not be cowed by terrorists who try to attack our democracy. We will finish our election as planned. God bless America."

And people will be too scared to go and vote.

That terrorist emergency declaration could be made around 5:00 PM PST and with only three hours left for voting throughout the state, a number of working class voters in urban centers will either be caught up in California's infamous freeway traffic and be too late to get to their polling places or be more concerned about their families and avoid voting altogether.

Without a doubt, many Democratic voters might simply opt to pick their kids up from day care centers or relatives and then go home without voting. These would tend to be the lower and middle income Californians and the Democratic base. The affluent voters in California who vote Republicans and can easily vote early (and be late for work) or have the option of leaving work at any time during the day to vote will have likely already cast their ballots. Therefore, the recipe of a White House-induced California terrorist alert and a low Democratic turnout could toss 54 electoral votes into Bush's lap, especially if the scare tactics affect the turnout in such urban and typically pro-Democratic vote-rich areas as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento.

Many people, because they'll have been primed for the possibility of postponement, will assume that the election has been postponed. They won't try and go vote, thinking they can do it when the election is rescheduled, which it won't be. Check out the article; it lays out the scenario in chilling detail. Remember that a terrorist attack doesn't have to actually occur for the election to be disrupted.


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