Stephen Poplin

Stephen Poplin, M.A.
at your service

The American Disappearing Vote Trick

electile dysfunction

  Hi there progressive friends, conscientious Americans,

 I am impressed by the quality of Democratic hopefuls running for President in 2020. I would love to see them all having a say in the next administration. All of them. In my fantasy of a functioning republic, I would love to see all of these fine candidates make a pact that when one of them becomes the next President of the United States, that everyone will add their skills and abilities to the new administration. Each person should be in the Cabinet, the ministry, the many important secretary positions needed to run a large and complex country. Yes, this means that Marianne Williamson, if not becoming President, would lead the new Department of Peace, etc. 

 Now for some unsavory realities. We are hearing it a lot. Vote. It is your right and duty to vote. Stand up and be counted. 

My fellow Americans, I have heard this many times. Very likely so have you.   It is a trick. A con game, playing with numbers, rules, traditions and finally authorities telling you how the vote/game is played. Some background.

 I and my wife have lived in Iowa since early 2015, and in February 2016 I attended my first caucus experience, a sort of primary for specific parties, or so I heard. My wife is from Europe and politically interested, to the point of researching and publishing articles on community participation and representation. At first I attempted to explain how things were done here, but I came to the pessimistic conclusions which I present here. There are remedies. 

Let us look behind the (performance) curtain to ascertain if this is a magician's trick or a con game. There may be other conclusions, but they are obscure or immaterial. 

I attended a mock Caucus in late 2015 at the local university. In this practice session the Democrats and the Republicans gathered together in a great hall. We went to different sides of the room and divided into groups under specific candidates. I was surrounded by young college kids, and the energy was positive and playful. Okay, voting in Iowa! 

Then came the caucus itself. I later felt foolish that I had walked in there with any sort of excitement. I was definitely naive. I published the following on Facebook in early February 2016:

 Iowa Caucus: shame on the Democrats 

The day after. The news shows told you one story, and I will tell you what I saw and experienced personally. I am a Bernie Sanders supporter and I can tell you this: many young people came out to vote – perhaps for the first time, and they walked away disappointed and frustrated, as did I. Furthermore, Martin O'Malley was robbed. 

The strange and sad thing here was that the Republicans did it right. All of their votes counted. 

Shame on the Democrats. 

Here's how it went down. The Democrats are stuck in an unfair antiquated system of counting delegates instead of individual votes – the Caucus. They do not apologize for this but stubbornly declare that it is tradition, “This is how we do it.” Like this lame explanation would convince anyone. Many racist positions of the past were tradition

  The Caucus; they say that it is just math, but it doesn't count. I will give you my numbers, coming from Ames, Iowa. 

404 individuals (parenthetically, and symbolically here, a 404 online is a Server Not Found error message) gathered in a local school here for the three Democratic candidates. This was divided (mathematically) into 8 delegates, or into 50 people per delegate. Yes. We became blocks of 50. Then we were told that we needed to have 15% of this larger group, or 60 people, to be viable. Viable? This became bad news for O'Malley, and probably not just in Ames. As the rules were explained to us, when a candidate did not receive this 15% then those voters would need to choose one of the other candidates, namely Bernie or Hillary. Little did I know at the time was that the Republicans had anonymous paper votes and each vote counted. What a concept. I could guess that O'Malley would have gotten more votes than Ben Carson, who nabbed 9% and is still hopeful. O'Malley could have gotten 14%, but that doesn't count. His votes were subsumed or eaten up by the process, which I find unfair and undemocratic. 

  I continue with our numbers. Bernie then got 219 votes, and Hillary had 185, so We had 34 more votes than she did. This comes to 54% to her 46%. So Bernie defeated Hillary. Not so fast; now comes more bad math: as we were in blocks of 50, and Hillary got more than 175 votes (which would be half of that 50), then she got 4 delegates, and we (Bernie) got 4 delegates. It was a tie. Huh? We were robbed. I saw the frustrated looks on the faces of these young Bernie supporters, and they left, as did I. 

Meanwhile the backwards Democrats were on to choosing individual delegates from the groups. These 8 delegates, misrepresenting the actual numbers, are to go to the next levels, on up to Iowa state representation, which would happen on down the political road. Disappointing and not representative.   Later that evening I discovered that coins had been tossed in six other districts when there was a tie between Sanders and Clinton. Incredulous! The actual numbers from Iowa were never counted, by the way. We really don't know who won there, but my bet it was Bernie. 

Now I know why there is a poor turnout for the Democrats in this caucus. Compare, and do the math; The Republicans had around 40,000 more voters. Why? Their individual votes counted. This unfair delegate system by the Democratic Party in Iowa should be scrapped, as should the anachronistic Electoral College system for the national elections, which will raise its dull head next November 2016. 

Those are the numbers, and my conclusions, and that's the news from here.
 False Primaries.

 Still “reminiscing” about the (twice) stolen election. Shall we look back? And so we Americans went on to separate the candidates into a winner for each party. These series of presidential primary elections and caucuses, as we know, took place between February and June of 2016. My wife and I observed this process with frustration and sometimes with disbelief. 2 parties and 2 candidates. What a choice. 

The phenomenon of Super-delegates became the next undemocratic factor, dismissing millions of votes. This insider device was concocted in the 1980s by establishment Democrats to keep people like Jimmy Carter out of the process. What? I will take a Jimmy Carter as my representative any day, thank you. 

We then witnessed this very system edge out Bernie. I'm sure the DNC establishment toasted that victory – before the debacle of November 2016. Bernie would have beaten Trump.

 What very few people knew at the time was that Cambridge Analytics, headed by Steve Bannon and some self-interested oligarchs, was working with Russia and other foreign governments to influence the US election. (Also Brexit, but that's another story) 

False Positives, or Primaries - Soon we were confronted with a numbers game that evidently these insider Democrats couldn't count. I challenge these party officials to re-evaluate the logic of voting in these primaries when one includes this Super-delegate nonsense with the Electoral College influence. Here is the truth: Any primary “win” in a traditionally red state will not count in a general election! So why bother? 

Do the math - How many red states have you won in the last 20 or 30 years? If we remove the red state primary wins for Hillary, we will see that Bernie Sanders should have been the candidate.

 Back to the illusion of voting. Due to the Electoral College, millions of Democrats who vote in red states will be ignored, and the same goes for Republican voters in blue states – you might as well stay home, depending on where you live, for your vote doesn't count. 

Hangover November 2016

   It is no dark secret that the 2016 election, like in 2000, presented to the world that the president-elect lost the popular vote. Plurality voting or the “one person one vote” is not recognized in the USA. It is ironic and hypocritical that the US has a long history of monitoring elections world-wide, when we have such a broken and unfair system here. Thus it is not surprising that voter turn-out is low. The USA has one of the lowest voter participation in the world, and we are seeing why.

 Shall we look at the results of the 2016 presidential election? 

     Popular vote - Trump 62,985,134  Percentage   45.93 %

                             Clinton 65,853,652  Percentage  48.02 % 

Let's mix the results: Donald Trump  -  Electoral vote: 56.5%

                            Hillary Clinton  -   Electoral vote: 42.2%

   Hillary had 2,868,518 more votes than Donald, = almost 3 million votes tossed

 Thus, the person who lost that election got more than 2.8 million more votes than the "winner". This is like telling Chicago, with roughly the same number of inhabitants, that their votes would be thrown out. Or tell the people of one state, choose one! - Utah, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas or Nevada to stay at home. Don't bother. Millions of votes are tossed out this way. 

And we hear it again ... Vote. Your vote counts.

   This falsehood goes all the way to the Electoral College. The electors are actual people, but they might as well be numbers, or digits on a calculator. Their individual votes, their personal choices, don't count. How? Since the electoral votes morphed into “winner takes all” blocks -  which is not written in the Constitution – it is already determined who they will vote for. Evidently they are cardboard cut-outs, and the people with this important title will vote as they are told. There were actually a few electors who voted differently than the plurality of their state, but they were ignored and reprimanded. And so, ironically, the “electors” were confronted with possibly committing an act of civil disobedience – voting. 

It is difficult to explain this voting process to my wife, let alone to young voters who are encouraged to vote, contrary to the “make your voice heard” rallying cry. Not here. 

We all know the election results: The Donald and his corporate buddies have been turning this country into USA, Inc. - open for business for the rich, the polluters, the ravagers and back-room dealers. If we can collectively fairly vote, we can stop the madness. Investigations are underway. 

Limited options. 

Looking back over my lifetime, and I am in my 60s, too often I have been presented with “the lessor of two evils”. Voting in the US is fixed. Yes, there is a mess. Something must be done. 

Voting reform.

   I hope that it is fairly clear that the unfair delegate/super-delegate system by the Democratic Party, as well as caucuses, should be scrapped. They are Undemocratic, the devise of cons and disappearing votes. And then we have the anachronistic Electoral College – how many potential voters see this injustice and don't bother to go to the polls?

   The USA is a republic, which means that there are representatives chosen to make specific decisions. This is not a democracy (there are probably only 2 or 3 democracies in the world). This makes sense in a huge country, but we have to really choose decent, ethical and wise leaders. Today we are faced with a notion that was previously unheard of, namely, determining if the prospective candidates are mentally and emotionally sound – yes, a screening process to determine competence and im/morality!

 Plurality voting essentially means that the one with the most votes will win the election. What a concept. Evidently the down side to this is that only major parties, and positions, will take to the podium, and to leadership positions. Sizable voting blocks, millions of people with specific concerns, are not represented. Solutions and options. 

Germany, like other nations, has a system of proportional representation and so there are many parties who get seats in their parliament, which form coalitions to create governments. Party members must work together – how about that? Some decades ago New Zealanders recognized that their viewpoints were not met and adopted something similar to Germany. In 1993 they adopted a new electoral law, and New Zealand soon developed a more complex party system. There are other options, and this will motivate people and voters, for they will see that their concerns are represented. As the USA is a complex, multi-ethnic country, we would benefit by growing beyond the bickering two party system.

 Perhaps the millions of voters who never bother might be inclined to participate. 

Abolish the Electoral College. There are those who say this (antiquated) system is in place to give the less populated states more of a voice. Nonsense, we have the Senate for that. 

Gerrymandering must be eliminated. It is a con.

 Voting with taxes. 

I believe taxpayers should have votes via their taxes, and thus April 15th would and could be a clearer source of democracy. As we pay our taxes, we could have a form allotting certain amounts or percentages for our social and governmental concerns: imagine choosing 20% for education, 15% for environment, 5% for infrastructure, etc.

 Now That's voting!

 Shall we really Vote?

  Sincerely, a veteran 

Stephen Poplin

If you feel that this message needs to be shared, please pass it on and ask bloggers, news sites, etc., to please publish it.   As the article suggests, voting is bogus, and our voting system is broken. It can be fixed however. Participate. Vote. 

 Note: In Dec 2016 the editorial board of the NY Times came to the conclusion … “Time to End the Electoral College” (note the unsavory origins of the EC, and how unfair the votes are in comparison to Wyoming and CA) -