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United States of Albania?

Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM

The pattern may not be familiar to the American public, but as one who has observed elections throughout the former communist world, including those that have ended in violence and massive fraud, the pattern, to me, is unmistakable.

What is happening in Florida – and to a lesser degree in places like St. Louis and elsewhere – follows a game plan that has yet to fail: first rule is, delay delay delay. Do not let any official results be announced. The longer you can delay, the more doubt is cast on the elections and the more time there is to manipulate the results.

Second, latch on to a legitimate issue and marry it to an illegitimate one until the original issue is completely lost. In Florida a recount was automatically called because of a very close race. But who now is talking about the real reason for the recount? Not CNN, not the networks and the liberal talking heads, not the American people. The issue has successfully been reframed.

A group of seniors, who had received a sample ballot in advance of the election and presumably had made their selections, are said to have been somehow tricked into voting for Pat Buchanan instead of Vice President Al Gore. The claim of foul play flies in the face of reason: The ballot was designed by a Democrat with no malice intended. It had been publicly available before the elections. This was initially said to involve some 3,000 voters, which conveniently would have bridged the gap of George W. Bush’s 1,500-vote lead.

But this wasn’t enough. By the time the fraudsters had gotten America’s attention yesterday with this spurious claim, the stakes were raised even higher. Some 19,000 ballots were said to have been invalidated in Palm Beach County because there were multiple votes for president. This was blamed on the "confusing" ballot. The rules are simple, though: if while voting a voter makes a mistake, he may request a new ballot and correct that mistake. Florida voters get up to three tries to get their voting right. Seems fair. Several individuals who took advantage of this "second chance" were interviewed on television.

With chaos successfully reigning, the accusations and claims have grown exponentially. Yesterday a Democratic Party official was interviewed on CNN claiming "thousands" of examples of "voter intimidation," where many victims were African-American. She was unable to provide a single verified example, but no matter. The goal is merely to take advantage of the delay to introduce new factors into the equation. No longer was this about a close race, but about racial discrimination. This opens the door for the federalization of the Florida election, which appears to already have begun.

The next rule in the vote fraud game as I have witnessed it in the former communist world is, if you cannot overturn the election results the next best thing is to delegitimize the election.

Americans will no doubt be shocked to find themselves compared to Albanians, but the 2000 presidential election here is shockingly similar to that in Albania in 1996. There, the former Communist Party pulled out of the elections just before the polls closed, claiming massive vote fraud – despite the fact that there had been little evidence of fraud. The move was calculated to throw the entire process into chaos so as to buy time. Ultimately it did not matter that the anti-communists won. The elections were claimed illegitimate and therefore the government that took power was illegitimate. It was hobbled by the claims, fraudulent though they were, and soon overthrown.

The same thing happened to Robert Kocharian in Armenia two years later, though he survived only to be hobbled by legal challenges and questions about his legitimacy.

Whatever the case, today the fraudsters have their sights set on their holy grail: a re-vote in Palm Beach County.

There is no legal or logical reason for this re-vote to take place, for the reasons above. But all it takes is for one judge – and thanks in part to Republican "bipartisanship" Florida, judges are notoriously liberal - to find a "reasonable doubt" as to the fairness of the elections and issue a stay prohibiting the secretary of state from releasing the results of the recount or from certifying them. Then a re-vote is likely inevitable, and the 2000 presidential election will be overturned. George W. Bush will lose and the United States will be one step closer to being a Third World banana republic.

Final advice to Republicans: you are being hit with something so sinister and so alien to our democratic traditions that you have not known thus far how to respond to it. Get over the shock of "it can’t happen here, this isn’t Albania." You must recognize what is happening, or you will lose more than you have already. Do not give one inch. No compromises. No new elections. No switching ballots. This election is being stolen. It is up to the Republican Party and all good American people to defend their vote.

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The pattern may not be familiar to the American public, but as one who has observed elections throughout the former communist world, including those that have ended in violence and massive fraud, the pattern, to me, is unmistakable. What is happening in Florida - and to...
Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM
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