Streetwise Professor

November 10, 2018

A Job That Americans Are All Too Eager to Do

Filed under: History,Politics — cpirrong @ 6:36 pm

That job?  Voter fraud.

In three states where major elections are within the margin of fraud, ballot boxes are miraculously appearing in solid Democratic counties after Republicans appeared victorious.

This is a time-honored tactic.  It’s how “Landslide Lyndon” Johnson obtained his nickname.  After it appeared that LBJ had lost a Senate primary to Coke Stevenson, several ballot boxes containing 20,000 votes miraculously appeared, giving Johnson victory by an 87 vote margin.

So spare me chin pulling–and hysteria–about foreign interference in American elections.  American interference in American elections is a far greater threat to democracy.  And it’s a job Americans have been doing–and doing all too well–since the beginning of the Republic.

Reading about the shenanigans in Florida, Arizona, and Georgia spurred me to Google “Landslide Lyndon” to refresh my memory about his 1948 “victory.” The first several hits were from MSM (NYT, WaPo) reviews of Robert Caro’s biography of Johnson that documented the fraud.  Given how Johnson had been savaged by the left during Vietnam, it was astounding to see the lengths to which mainline liberal/leftist publications went to defend Johnson and criticize Caro.  It was like T-cells attacking a foreign body.  Yes, LBJ was a bastard–but he’s our (Democratic) bastard!

This is particularly revealing given the incredible research that Caro had done.  But he attacked one of the tribe, so he must be destroyed.

I remember vividly reading this Caro volume.  I finished about half of it, and had to put it down.  Johnson was such a loathsome human being–to put it charitably–it was nauseating to read the details.   I cannot think of one redeeming quality in the man.  Not a single one.

I was already pretty cynical about American politics by that time.  Caro’s Means of Ascent turned me into a die-hard cynic.   It was a perfect illustration of Hayek’s principle: the worst always get on top.

What is going on in the aftermath of the 2018 midterms is putting an exclamation point to that cynicism.  (Not that there were no reinforcing events in the intervening years–far from it.)   And we should not be surprised.   As government has grown in scope and power, the stakes of winning elections have grown commensurately.  If fraud paid in 1948 (or 1960), it pays far more now.

Indeed, I suspect that the obsession with idiotic Facebook posts or tweets allegedly posted by Russians is driven by the fact it is a very convenient distraction from far more real–and far more enduring–threats to the integrity of American elections.  Homegrown threats. But if you read the MSM, Russian meddling is a real and important threat, but even entertaining the possibility that American elections are rife with domestic fraud is to advance a conspiracy theory.  This is another illustration of their incomparable ability to invert reality.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Al Franken also won his former seat because a load of ballots just so happened to have turned up in the back of a car with his name on. How convenient.

    Comment by Tim Newman — November 11, 2018 @ 2:59 am

  2. The protections we used to have against voter fraud in Britain were pretty flimsy. Nobody was much bothered because it was assumed that little of it went on except in constituencies with lots of Irish. Trade union elections, of course, were rife with fraud.

    Nowadays we probably have lots of fraud, with the Irish no longer being the main suspects. Indeed the Blair government changed the rules in a way designed to encourage voter fraud – it made the racist assumption that it would gain lots of Moslem (= largely Pakistani) votes by making fraud easier. The fact that it went on to annoy lots of Moslems by its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan is just a reminder that Blair was no thinker.

    But we’ve had Coalition and Conservative governments for years now and they’ve done nothing to remedy matters.

    Comment by dearieme — November 11, 2018 @ 6:35 am

  3. This is the inevitable byproduct of hysteria, and more importantly, supposedly college educated voters who will not think critically for themselves.
    For them, any means justifies the ends, since “life as we know it will end in flames” if those ends aren’t achieved, even if those ends are impossible. (Free Stuff for anyone who can claim it!)

    This is an emotional phenomenon that no conservative or libertarian argument can come close to refuting. Credit Trump, at least, for bringing some emotion back into it, but in the end once you’re out of the realm of reason, I don’t know how you get back. Taking this trend in the limit takes us to some very dark places. A few weeks ago, I heard a 60yr old woman in a random midwestern store announce “why don’t they just string Trump up now?” This isn’t my only data point by any means, but I fear we’re closer to those dark places than we realize.

    Comment by dh — November 11, 2018 @ 7:41 am

  4. Craig, you and I are from Chicago. We know voter fraud. We experienced it first hand. The Democratic Machine here is full of fraud and corruption. It’s so bad, they passed laws making fraud legal. When I was a voter judge in Chicago I went to training. You don’t have to show ID, a voter card and if your signature doesn’t match, don’t worry about it. One Democratic voting judge at each precinct is charged with bringing the votes in.

    If we want a democratic republic, we need voter id laws. Especially with open borders.

    Comment by Craig — November 11, 2018 @ 8:01 am

  5. hmmm, where have I seen this before, where have I seen this before? in Ukraine!!!

    disappearing ink; ballots filled in by “election workers”; ballots kept in reserve in closets for the right time

    Comment by elmer — November 12, 2018 @ 8:56 am

  6. Well, LBJ did have the good sense to marry Lady Bird, so he did have that going for him. But beyond that, I agree that he was a thoroughly loathsome character. Caro’s four volumes are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how such people are able to acquire and mold power.

    Comment by Tom Kirkendall — November 12, 2018 @ 7:43 pm

  7. @Craig (er, @Jeff?). Absolutely. The danger is that the Dems want to take the Chicago model national.

    It is a mathematical fact that a vote cast by one ineligible voter disenfranchises an eligible one exactly the same as keeping an eligible voter from the polls does. (@soncharm made this point on Twitter earlier today.) If you can’t be bothered to prove eligibility and get a legit document, why should I shed a tear?

    But that in some sense understates the harm. If fraud in Chicago elections only affected what mouth breathing grifter gets elected Mayor, or alderman–oh well. That’s Chicago’s problem, and if Chicagoans want to do something about it–go ahead. But fraud in statewide elections disenfranchises people who have no ability to influence what goes on in Chicago. Indeed, it can have national implications–not now, since Illinois is solidly blue, but it very likely did in 1960. (The ability to leverage fraud into statewide and national elections is likely one reason why Chicagoans have little incentive to combat it.)

    And it’s not just Chicago/Illinois. I saw the same crap in Missouri when I lived there. The main St. Louis/Kansas City trick is to keep the polls open late, until they can see how many votes they need.

    Comment by cpirrong — November 12, 2018 @ 8:24 pm

  8. My father served as an election judge in Baltimore decades ago. He witnessed ballot stuffing and at the time was shocked by it. Based on his first hand experience he was certain that Ellen Sauerbrey lost her first bid for Governor due to ballot stuffing. I also suspect that Bob Ehrlich lost his re-election bid to ballot stuffing as well. Maryland is rife with fraudulent elections and of course our state is a punchline for gerrymandering jokes. I’ve personally lost a lot of respect for the legitimacy of many in government, especially here in Maryland.

    Comment by Daniel Rust — November 12, 2018 @ 11:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress