Monday, October 27, 2008
The Stranger: "ith less than two weeks left in the presidential race, fears are a-flying in lefty circles. Will they actually let Barack Obama win? Will Diebold steal the election and give it to John McCain instead? Will martial law be declared so George Bush can be self-appointed to a third term? Will conservative thugs at polling places suppress minority turnout in the very swing states where the minority vote could really make the difference for the Democratic ticket? Is this shit I'm reading in Rolling Stone about voter-purging true? Because it's terrifying. Hold me!
HOLD ON. Yes, assessing the relative merits of the various strains of liberal election-paranoia is a tricky business. After all, during the last eight years we've seen several liberal fever-dreams turn into reality (see, for example, Florida Recount 2000 and Iraq War 2003–present). Still, some of the alarm about Election 2008 seems a bit much.
"There'll be tampering with voting machines in key states, just enough to swing it to McCain," begins a baroque, every-major-fear-encompassing scenario submitted to Slog (The Stranger's blog) by a commenter named Chip, who continues: "As the exit polls show Obama leading but tallies don't match, FOX News will repeat GOP talking points about how surprising it is that the Bradley effect is playing such a significant role in the elections. Massive riots will engulf Seattle, S.F., NYC, and D.C.; they will be suppressed violently by the U.S. Army. Bush will declare martial law. Obama will be shot by a lone gunman. McCain will valiantly die while trying to save him. Palin anoints Dick Cheney to the empty VP slot."
The threat of all of that happening, exactly as described, is quite minimal (alert level: green or even sea-foam). Same for commenter Kat's feared scenario: "Honestly, I've been saying from the beginning, I'll just be surprised if we don't wake up November 5 and Cheney is president."
Your paranoia is, of course, your own. So accept, reject, and/or ratchet up your interior angst as you like—you will anyway—but if you want to recalibrate your terror levels, consider the following reality check:"