Ben Franklin said that nothing is certain except death and taxes — but then Ben lived before there was a Republican Party to make the political dirty trick every bit as predictable.
We predicted what would happen as the race for the California attorney general took a swing in favor of Democrat Kamala Harris, and what do you know, it did. Over the last few days, as Harris’ lead has stayed around 30,000 votes, Steve Cooley’s campaign has pulled out that old Republican standby, challenging the vote count.
Naturally, their deep concern is focused only on counties where Harris holds large leads. There, Cooley’s campaign staff has begun attacking not only the credibility of the process, but also the professionals overseeing the process. And their narrative has actually taken hold, with stories in the Wall Street Journal and some local papers.
The real story is that their candidate is losing. But all too often, Republicans see reality as negotiable.
Cooley spokesman Kevin Spillane claims that his campaign’s attempt to throw out provisional ballots in Democratic counties is a case of “exercising our rights to try to do what we can to prevent any voter fraud.” Note that wonderfully useful little word, “any”: no actual evidence of voter fraud is required. You could equally justify trying to prevent “any” voter pantsing — as the old saying goes, it could happen. Better be on guard!
Spillane is engaging in a full-court press, even implying that a legal battle may ensue after the vote is finalized.
As a result, the county registrar has found himself defending the process and even his own qualifications.
But wait, you say, gaming of elections does happen. Yes, it does. Trouble is, the champion practitioners are in the Republican Party, which has perfected the process over decades, particularly by targeting poor and minority voters. Democrats seldom do it. You may not know that, given all the Republican-ginned hysteria about Acorn and the “New Black Panthers”. That, too is part of the GOP’s game: accuse the opponent of exactly what you yourself are most guilty of (also known as Swift Boating).
But all this exertion by the Cooley campaign is actually a good omen for Kamala Harris. Clearly Cooley’s people are setting up the troubled vote count narrative for a reason: they believe they’ve lost. Why else try to discredit the process, unless they think it’s pointing to an unfavorable outcome for their side? If it were otherwise, we can assume they would be going out of their way to praise the wisdom of the people and the miracle of democracy in action.
The Cooley campaign has received a lot of money from trickster grandee Karl Rove. We can well imagine the kind of mentoring he might throw in with it.
Luckily, the Harris Campaign appears to have been prepared for these attacks and has fought back. Meanwhile, we agree with the Fresno Bee. Although that paper endorsed Cooley, its editorial yesterday was headed “Cooley should cool it on vote count in race for AG’s seat”, and concludes, “Candidates have the right to monitor the count, but not interfere. Let county voting officials do their job.”