Perfect storm – noun, a detrimental or calamitous situation or event rising from the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances. – Random House, 2016.
(290) Sunday, October 30, 2016 – Has a “perfect storm” formed that can turn our Presidential election on November 8 into an event made in Hell?
Herein are the factors. Draw your own conclusion.
NATIONAL FACTORS –
ACROSS THE LAND – The incumbent party has not done well in recent federal legislative elections. In contests for major party nominations Donald Trump had an easier time than Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Additional candidates are non-factors — no Ralph Nader, Ross Perot or George Wallace here. Fairly or not, the incumbent administration is tainted by scandals — the IRS, Ben Ghazi, slow-walking security investigations, a projected 25% increase in Obamacare premiums. There is sustained social unrest involving local police. Wars that were supposed to be ended, are not.
DONALD TRUMP – Continues to spread misinformation that the election is rigged. Worse, he exhorts his most loyal supporters, that includes a large unruly crowd of educationally challenged, racist whites, to maintain vigilance at the polls for events or factors that unfairly contribute to his defeat. This despite a 55-year-old Iowa woman was arrested last week for illegal early voting. She claimed she needed to vote a second time because her first vote had been stolen for Clinton.
SELF PRESERVATION – Republicans, to save their own skins, mumble their so-called righteous denunciations of Trump. Even Sen. John McCain, fighting to get re-elected in Arizona, talks out of both sides of his mouth. While saying he does not condone Trump, McCain has promised that he will absolutely oppose any nominees Hillary Clinton puts up for Supreme Court.
OREGON STANDOFF ACQUITTALS – Last week’s jury decision to acquit the leaders of an armed group that took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon has emboldened those who are convinced the Federal Government exceeds its authority, particularly when under the control of Barack Obama and his chosen successor. On the same day this verdict was rendered, some 150 mostly American Indians were arrested in North Dakota for protesting an oil pipeline being built through sacred ground.
GUTLESS NATIONAL MEDIA – No longer can the Fourth Estate be counted on to influence us to make correct decisions. So concerned that they appear objective, they fail to ask the proper follow-up questions of Trump, while continually reminding us of Clinton’s transgressions that long ago were determined to not be criminal. It took the media until Friday, for example, to “uncover” Bill and Hillary Clinton did extensive remodeling of their home in Chappaqua, NY, without getting a building permit months ago.
FBI DIRECTOR PLAYS LONE RANGER – James B. Comey unnecessarily revisits Clinton email scandal – in violation of longstanding Justice Department policy. His last-minute assertions of evidence that maybe, might or could (but not definitely) nail Clinton was sensitive enough to jar the stock market late Friday afternoon. Meantime, Mrs. Clinton fights to prove a negative. The FBI knew of these specific emails last summer. Comey, a registered Republican who donated to McCain and Romney, second in command in a Bush Justice Department, was originally appointed by President Obama in 2013. Speculation is that Comey would like to end his career on the Supreme Court, but has never been a favorite of the Clintons.
LAWYERS AS POLL WATCHERS – While both sides plan to put hundreds of lawyers in the field for Election Day, Clinton’s operation will be the most massive. Focusing on battleground states she hopes to have a local lawyer-watcher in every county in battleground states. Two errors define this process. First, in many cases, Clinton’s people did not consult with local Democrat leaders before appointing a legal representative. Second, these watchers are told their primary duty is to report suspicious wrong doings to state or national headquarters. Objective is to win the war at news channels on who is corrupting the process. That every vote counts – to them –is secondary.
HATE GROUPS – The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century. A Black President obviously spurred growth. The SPLC monitors 892 active hate groups, up from 784 last year. Additionally, 998 are classified as “antigovernment patriotic” groups. Ku Klux Klans number 190 and Trump is said to have helped increase “anti-Muslim” hate groups since 2014. A few of these groups support neither presidential candidate, maintaining the process if too far gone to lessen the oppression of the Federal Government. The overwhelming remainder support Trump.
STATE FACTORS –
PLAYING BOTH SIDES: Pat Toomey, for example, who won his Senate seat in 2010 riding a wave of Tea Party support, still has not revealed if he accepts the head of his ticket. Most Republican officeholders up for re-election, when asked if they support Donald Trump, mumble, then change the subject. The media, hungry for their political advertising dollars, allow this.
HATE GROUPS – Think most hate groups are mostly in the south and west? Guess again. Pennsylvania and Ohio contain statewide chapters of the following anti groups. Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, Racist Skinhead, Christian Identity, Neo-Confederate, Black Separatist, Muslim, Advanced White Society, Holocaust Denial, Radical Traditional Catholics, Anti-LGBT Family Research Council, Federation for Immigration Reform, etc. If you find any one of these groups support Clinton, let us know.
TOP OFFICIAL SAYS VOTING IS SAFE — “Our voting systems are secure. . . I just want to reiterate the faith, confidence and respect that I have for our county, local and precinct election workers who are among the best public servants I have ever met.” This recent statement by Pedro A. Cortez, Pennsylvania Secretary of State, may be the least reassuring statement by a public official in memory. “Pennsylvania is a recognized leader in cyber security,” he adds. His boss, Gov. Tom Wolf devotes only two one-hundreds of one percent of his $31 billion annual budget (less than $5 million) to elections.
CORTEZ UNCONVINCING TO REPUBLICANS – Despite Secretary’s pronouncement, Republicans have gone to court for the right to send wandering bands of poll watchers anywhere at any time. They claim in some urban precincts no votes are recorded for Republican candidates.
TECHNOLOGY – Outdated equipment is a national problem, studies show. Most computerized voting systems are older than ten years. Do you have the same laptop you used ten years ago? What are the chances these outdated election systems are powered by a Windows version no longer supported by Microsoft.
LOCAL FACTORS –
HATE GROUPS – Because we focus on Western Pennsylvania, here are some clubs that might include your friends and neighbors. The Ku Klos Knights of the Ku Klux Klan counts Oil City home to a chapter. Militant Knights of KKK are in Dixonville. The Traditional Rebel Knights of KKK hang a shingle in Youngstown. The neo-Nazi White Church and a Black Separatist group are located in Pittsburgh. Keystone State Skinheads are headquartered in Harrisburg, other Black Separatists are in Youngstown and Wilkinsburg. Members of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and/or anti-LGBT chapters call Franklin, North Versailles, State Line and Export home.
SECOND ADMENDMENT HUGGERS — Not subject to monitoring by the Southern Poverty Law Center are so-called “Second Amendment” groups that contend the authority of county sheriffs is superior to all Federal agencies. Their latest conspiracy yarn details a partnership of President Obama with billionaire George Soros to Federalize control over local police forces. They claim Soros will provide private funds to dangle in front of local law enforcement in exchange for surrendering powers. The plot is detailed in the right-wing web media “The New American” and the conservative Washington Examiner. These web sites are linked to the “Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association (CSPOA).” Members are committed to resisting Federal authority although no proof is offered that such a plot exists.
CSPOA LOCAL MEMBERS – Currently, 14 elected sheriffs of PA counties are members according to CSPOA web site. These people serve in Berks, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Chester, Cumberland, Elk, Juniata, Lancaster, Montour, Pike, Venango and Westmoreland counties. Ex-sheriffs Fayette, Lebanon and McKean counties also belong.
SCHOOLS AS VOTING POLLS — In Maine, a non-battleground state, the Superintendent of Education has ordered schools that host voting polls to be closed to kiddies on November 8. No such plans have been revealed for Pennsylvania where about half of the 9,000 precinct polls are in schools.
GREY BEARD ELECTION WORKERS – Granted most PA precinct election workers are women, but nearly all are on Medicare. Pay for the day is $100, which for 14 hours is somewhat below minimum wage. Another $10 or $20 is paid if they show up at a training session. County Commissioners pay poll workers like jurors. No commissioner has ever lost an election for spending too much on elections.
BOTTOM LINE: Voting is about to become a contact sport. Fool the candidates who think they have paid to pick their voters rather than let voters select them. Voter suppression stories about the campaigns of both candidates could have been another subject. Fool them. Vote your way.