John Kerry drew 80,000 people to downtown Madison, WI the morning after his hometown underdogs won the World Series. He joked about the friend who had predicted earlier, “The Red Sox are more likely to win the World Series than you are to be elected president.”
His earlier campaign mistakes behind him, the man was on a roll. He had the energy and the rock star charisma that marks a winning presidential campaign. Hell, he even had the rock star -- Bruce Springsteen. It seemed to the crowd -- and to me, for I was one of those 80,000 -- that in just five days, the man up on the stage would be elected president. They were right. He was.
They say history is written by the winners, and from that point of view, John Kerry was rejected by the voters as a phony elitist, dragged down by a foreign wife and her money, his own inability to stand up to the Swift Boat Veterans, not to mention his overall stiffness and lack of appeal. By now, even most Democrats are sick of him, or so the story goes.
There's only one problem with this version of history. It's wrong.
Just how wrong is the subject of the current Rolling Stone cover story by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stating that “Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.”
The heavily footnoted article is especially scathing about the exit polls. With modern techniques, they’ve become astonishingly accurate and are considered by experts to be the gold standard in election fraud detection -- including the Bush administration, when it doesn’t like election results in other countries.
Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent. (17) ''Exit polls are almost never wrong,'' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ''so reliable,'' he added, ''that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.''(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down. (19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine -- paid for by the Bush administration -- exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency. (20)On election eve, the exit polls showed Kerry winning by a rout: at least 309 electoral votes to Bush's 174, with fifty-five too close to call. Then, mysteriously, the exit polls proved to be wrong as the evening wore on, and experts were found who could concoct BS explanations that ignored the obvious.
That’s all water under the bridge now, though it would be interesting to see what a Democratic Congress armed with subpoena powers could do with some of the allegations in the article. But first, Democrats have to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen this November. The name of the game is voter suppression, and the game is likely to be played with spurious ID challenges spawned by the current immigration hysteria.