It is time to think about the "unthinkable."
The Bush administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the
The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape,
though we must assume there is much more we don't know.
But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the
GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006), we cannot
ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who
think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention.
The real question is not how or when they might do it. It's how, realistically,
we can stop them.
In Florida 2000, Team Bush had a game plan involving a handful of tactics.
With Jeb Bush in the governor's mansion, the GOP used a combination of disenfranchisement,
intimidation, faulty ballots, electronic voting fraud, a rigged vote count and
an aborted recount, courtesy of the US Supreme Court.
A compliant Democrat (Al Gore) allowed the coup to be completed.
In Ohio 2004, the arsenal of dirty tricks exploded. Based in Columbus, we have
documented more than a hundred different tactics used to steal the 20 electoral
votes that gave Bush a second term. More are still surfacing. As a result of
the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit (in which we are plaintiff and
attorney) we have now been informed that 56 of the 88 counties in Ohio violated
federal law by destroying election records, thus preventing a definitive historical
As in 2000, a compliant Democrat (John Kerry) allowed the coup to proceed.
For 2008 we expect the list of vote theft maneuvers to escalate yet again.
We are already witnessing a coordinated nationwide drive to destroy voter registration
organizations and to disenfranchise millions of minority, poor and young voters.
This carefully choreographed campaign is complemented by the widespread use
of electronic voting machines. As reported by the Government Accountability
Office, Princeton University, the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission,
US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and others, these machines can be easily used to
flip an election. They were integral to stealing both the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Efforts to make their source codes transparent, or to require a usable paper
trail on a federal level, have thus far failed. A discriminatory Voter ID requirement
may also serve as the gateway to a national identification card.
Overall, the GOP will have at its command even more weapons of election theft
in 2008 than it did in Ohio 2004, which jumped exponentially from Florida 2000.
The Rovian GOP is nothing if not tightly organized to do this with ruthless
efficiency. Expect everything that was used these past two presidential elections
to surface again in 2008 in far more states, with far more efficiency, and many
new dirty tricks added in.
But in Ohio 2006, the GOP learned a hard lesson. Its candidate for governor
was J. Kenneth Blackwell. The secretary of state was the essential on-the-ground
operative in the theft of Ohio 2004.
When he announced for governor, many Ohioans joked that "Ken Blackwell
will never lose an election where he counts the votes."
But lose he did . . . along with the GOP candidates for secretary of state,
attorney general and US Senate.
By our calculations, despite massive grassroots scrutiny, the Republicans stole
in excess of 6 percent of the Ohio vote in 2006. But they still lost.
Why? Because they were so massively unpopular that even a 6 percent bump couldn't
save them. Outgoing Governor Bob Taft, who pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors
while in office, left town with a 7 percent approval rating (that's not a typo).
Blackwell entered the last week of the campaign down 30 percent in some polls.
So while the GOP still had control of the electoral machinery here in 2006,
the public tide against them was simply too great to hold back, even through
the advanced art and science of modern Rovian election theft.
In traditional electoral terms, that may also be the case in 2008. Should things
proceed as they are now, it's hard to imagine any Republican candidate going
into the election within striking distance. The potential variations are many,
but the graffiti on the wall is clear.
What's also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised
contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When
George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship,
as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.
Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have
the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process
altogether. So why wouldn't they?
The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has
been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:
The continuation of the drug war, and the USAPATRIOT Act, Homeland Security
Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have
decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to
due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence,
and far more.
The current attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, has not backed away from his
announcement to Congress that the Constitution does not guarantee habeas corpus.
The administration continues to act on the assumption that it can arrest anyone
at any time and hold them without notification or trial for as long as it wants.
The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security has given it additional
hardware to decimate the basic human rights of our citizenry. Under the guise
of dealing with the "immigration problem," large concentration camps
are under construction around the US.
The administration has endorsed and is exercising its "right" to
employ torture, contrary to the Eighth Amendment and to a wide range of international
treaties, which Gonzales has labeled "quaint."
With more than 200 "signing statements," the administration acts
on its belief that the "unitary executive" trumps the power of the
legislative branch in any instance it chooses. This belief has been further
enforced with the administration's use of a wide range of precedent-setting
arguments to keep its functionaries from testifying before Congress.
There is much more. In all instances, the 109th Congress and the public have
rolled over without significant resistance.
Most crucial now are Presidential Directive #51, Executive Orders #13303, #13315,
#13350, #13364, #13422, #13438, and more, by which Bush has granted himself
an immense arsenal of powers for which the term "dictatorial" is a
The framers established our government with checks and balances. But executive
orders have accumulated important precedent. The Emancipation Proclamation,
by which Lincoln declared an end to slavery in the South, was issued under the
"military necessity" of adding blacks to the Union Army, a step without
which the North might not have won the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt's Executive
Order #8802 established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Harry Truman's
Executive Order #9981 desegregated the military.
More to the point, FDR's Executive Order #9066 ordered the forcible internment
of 100,000 people of Japanese descent into the now infamous concentration camps
of World War II.
There is also precedent for a president overriding the Supreme Court. In the
1830s, Chief Justice John Marshall enshrined the right of the Cherokee Nation
to sovereignty over its ancestral land in the Appalachian Mountains. But President
Andrew Jackson scorned the decision. Some 14,000 native Americans were moved
at gunpoint to Oklahoma. More than 3,000 died along the way.
All this will be relevant should Team Bush envision a defeat in the 2008 election
and decide to call it off. It's well established that Richard Nixon -- mentor
to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney -- commissioned the Huston Plan, which detailed
how to cancel the 1972 election.
Today we must ask: who would stop this administration from taking dictatorial
power in the instance of a "national emergency" such as a terror attack
at a nuclear power plant or something similar?
Nothing in the behavior of this Congress indicates that it is capable of significant
resistance. Impeachment seems beyond it. Nor does it seem Congress would actually
remove Bush if it did put him on trial.
Short of that, Bush clearly does not view anything Congress might do as a meaningful
impediment. After all, how many divisions does the Congress command?
The Supreme Court, as currently constituted, would almost certainly rubber
stamp a Bush coup. If not, like Jackson, he could ignore it as easily as he
would ignore Congress.
What does that leave? There is much idle speculation now about what the armed
forces would do. We also hear loose talk about "90 million gun owners."
From the public side, the only conceivable counterforce might be a national
strike or an effective long-term campaign of general non-cooperation.
But we can certainly assume the mainstream media will give lockstep support
to whatever the regime says and does. It's also a given that those likely to
lead the resistance will immediately land in those new prisons being built by
Halliburton et. al.
So how do we cope with the harsh realities of such a Bush/Cheney/Rove dictatorial
We may have about a year to prepare. Every possible scenario needs to be discussed
in excruciating detail.
For only one thing is certain: denial will do nothing