Are you sitting down?
I want to make sure you aren’t standing. I don’t want your knees to buckle or you to hit your head when you faint, because I have never written these words before. In fact, this may be the first time these words have ever been printed on this site:
Donald Trump is right.
That’s not a typo. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and the tangerine-skinned sundial of simplemindedness who steadily spews hate-filled diatribes and half-cocked conspiracies like a fountain of stupid apparently has the ability to be correct occasionally.
A few days ago, presidential candidate and poster boy for what happens when white privilege is injected with ignoramus—Donald Trump—presented a pre-emptive excuse for why he might take a butt whipping of epic proportions in the upcoming election. In a televised appearance, Trump said, warning the Easter Island head-turned-human, Fox News pundit Sean Hannity, "And I'm telling you, November 8, we'd better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged.”
He’s right. (There, I said it twice.) The election is rigged.
Although the shenanigans mostly favor him, all elections are rigged. We’ve known this for years. National elections have long been a farcical exercise in democracy. They are as representative of the will of the people as the WWE champion is representative of the world’s best warrior.
A few weeks ago this site published an article of mine entitled “I’m Not With Her Because I’m Petty.” Essentially, my conscience or anti-sellout gene will not allow me to vote for the 2016 Cruella de Vil (Hillary Clinton) or Hairpiece Hitler (Donald Trump), and I will either cast my vote for a third-party candidate or abstain on the presidential portion of my ballot. After the article was published, I was alternately applauded or lambasted for my decision. Even through all of the criticism, it was easy for me to make my decision for one important reason:
My vote doesn’t count.
To be fair, I know that the elections that affect me most are the state and local races. I also know that the Electoral College has nullified my presidential vote. I live in Alabama. Regardless of which lever I pull for the presidential race, every Electoral College vote from my state has gone to the Republican candidate since 1976.
The popular vote is as important to the political process as the Miss America contest. There are about 10 states where votes matter. The rest of the country’s presidential votes are just matters of pretense. It is entirely possible that the candidate who gets the most votes will lose the election. Wait, that happened in 2008. Do you remember, during the Bush v. Gore Florida recount, any of the “trusted” media outlets pointing out that more Americans voted for Al Gore? I don’t, either. Yes, Donald Chump was right—it is fixed.
I know you think that this piece is about to turn into a discourse on money in elections and how all politicians are bought and sold by corporations. Don’t worry, it won’t. I’m sure you already know that political races have nothing to do with popularity or issues. You are probably aware that 91 percent of the time, the better-financed candidate wins the race.
You seem like the kind of person who already knows that the Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision, said that corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money to candidates, but very rarely do people mention the part that said that candidates don’t have to disclose where that money comes from. Secret unlimited money to politicians who never have to tell anyone. If you were an oil-company lobbyist or a billionaire whose livelihood depended on political influence, it would almost be malpractice not to rig an election.
The biggest argument for the rigged-presidential-election theory is the obvious fact that they don’t want you to vote. I’m not talking about how states rushed to institute voter-ID laws minutes after the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
I’m not referring to the fact that governors and elections officials rolled back voting hours and early-voting dates across the country to decrease the number of voters.
I’m not even talking about the decades-old history of gerrymandering to create districts that ensure the outcome of congressional-district voting.
I won’t even bring up the fact that in 2012, House Democrats one over 1 million more votes, but Republicans won the majority of seats. No one ever asks the following questions:
- Why is there only one specific day for voting, and not a voting period?
- Why is it that we are trusted to bank, get birth certificates and file taxes securely and privately online, but you can’t vote online?
- Why must we go to a church or gymnasium and cast ballots on a voting machine hooked to the internet, but we can’t vote from home?
- Why don’t voting machines give you a paper receipt that reflects who you voted for?
- Why has every election law in the past 10 years decreased the number of minorities who vote?
Ask Donald Trump.
These aren’t conspiratorial questions. There are simple procedures for every private, corporate and business transaction—except voting. If your telephone company told you that the only way to pay your bill was to come across town, stand in line and pay in cash, you’d think it was trying to cheat you. If, after you paid the bill, the company told you that you don’t get a receipt, but trust them, they’ll apply the money to your account, you’d think it was a flimflam …
One of the biggest political misconceptions in this country is about the presidential primary contests and why they differ from state to state. It seems as if each state’s rules are written to engender a certain outcome, and it doesn’t seem legal or fair. Even when the supposedly objective Democratic National Committee was caught in emails colluding with the Clinton campaign, no one spoke of lawsuits or judges. Here is why:
The Democratic and Republican parties are private clubs that get to make their own rules, which are therefore unenforceable by law.
That’s right. When you vote in a primary, you are not participating in a government election. The facilities, workers and ballots are all paid for by the private organizations. In many states, election laws do not even apply. So if you wonder why only registered Democrats can vote in one state’s primaries while other states have open primaries; or why some states use antiquated caucuses that don’t even pretend to be representative of the popular vote; or why, after a million people vote in a primary, they have to designate individual delegates to go to a convention months later to choose a candidate, here’s why: Because … rigged.
To be clear, voting is the only thing that can ensure a democracy, and every citizen should participate in the act, but we shouldn’t do it with a wink and a nod under the pretense that it is a transparent act. I vote because I know the importance of local and state elections. I know those are the laws that affect me most, and I want to have a say in them. I know that my ancestors fought and died to give me the right to cast my ballot. I know the tables are tilted so that it is always an uphill, uneven fight for black people, and that’s why I have to vote …
Because it is rigged.