Mock the Vote
It would be quaint in hindsight, if the naiveté weren't so heartbreaking: eminem's rebel army clad in black hoodies, moshing through the streets, charging up the steps and straight through the doors of the...polling station?
Oh yeah, about that. Funny thing....
If it's true that this election was stolen, then it was the third straight theft. It was a relatively crude operation in 2000; 2002 was the first occasion for unaudited ballots to be counted by unregulated Republican machines, and bizarre returns saw Republican candidates win surprising victories. If 2004 was stolen (and let's get this straight: it's not a "conspiracy theory," it's a working hypothesis), then there's no comfort in presuming the theft an anomaly. This isn't better luck next time. The machinery with their backdoors are in place, and the means, motive and opportunity to steal will persist. Rather than a one-off, or three, this is the future of American electoral politics: a technological upgrade of Mexico's of the last century, with the GOP essaying the role of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
The normalization of fraudulent elections - even elections which simply cannot be verified due to faith-based proprietary software - means American democracy is now a sham. Americans of good conscience who see Zappa's brick wall, and who hope to strip the Right of its fraudulant mandate, need to stop lending it the cover of their engagement in the hoax. Participating in a fraud provides it with de facto legitimacy, while what the fraud really deserves is delegitimizing.
If Americans fail to win back the integrity of their vote, then Americans need to stop voting.
This isn't a call to opt out. A boycot of electoral piracy is not the same as encouraging voter apathy. Rather, it's taking the compromise of one's vote so gravely that it is withheld in protest.
What would become of the Democratic Party if a good number of Democrats withheld their votes? Certain loss, undoubtedly. But what will become of the party if Republican machinery counts its vote in perpetuity? Of course, if the trojan virus of the DLC wins the day, and the party tacks further right, it will cease to matter whether the vote is rigged or not. Even East Bloc states boasted minority parties, which gave their constitutional assemblies the semblance of plurality. Left unchecked, this is the fate of the Democratic Party.
True despots rarely allow themselves to be voted out of office. But in the end, every despotic regime has only as much legitimacy as its citizens are prepared to confer upon it. When the people recognize the regime's claims as illegitimate, suddenly its hold on power melts away. People have taken back their countries in relative peace. And just like fascism, it too, can happen here.
There is no more important fight for the Democrats than that for a verifiable vote. Republicans have their own answer for voting "irregularities": an end to exit polling. If the status quo, or worse, is in place next election, then Democrats ought to make their own democracy elsewhere.
Get out the vote? Fuck that shit. Get out your pots and pans, like the people of Belgrade, and bang them loud and long until America's Milosevic receives the message.