Every Trick in the Book

There’s an old saying, “buyer beware.” And in America, it should be “voter beware.” Yes, I’ve seen some dirty tricks in Jamaican elections. And I bet you could find them anywhere democracy is practiced.

But in America, dirty tricks have become a science. I wouldn’t be surprised to see courses in Dirty Tricks introduced in American universities.

Back  in the days of Tricky Dick, the public was shocked to learn that the President’s men had burglarized Democratic headquarters and then covered up the crime. I wonder how many people would be surprised if today’s Republican Party did something like that.

“Gerrymandering” electoral districts to ensure victory for one party or another has become the rule across America. But, in general, Democrats seem more reluctant to get down and dirty. Apparently, they want to be seen as a fairly honest bunch of folks.

In contrast, the Republicans don’t seem to care whether they’re found out. They seem quite proud of their skullduggery. There’s that famous news clip of a Pennsylvania politician bragging that the legislature’s voter suppression law would win the state for Mitt Romney, for example.

Still, even the most shameless scamps should be embarrassed by the latest “dirty tricks” revelation.

This one verges on fraud.

The Republican Party has crafted websites apparently designed to trick donors who think they are sending money to Democratic candidates. Instead, the money goes to the Republicans (photo above shows one of the websites).

The scam was exposed in the Los Angeles Times recently by Daniel Rothberg.  Here’s an excerpt:

The National Republican Congressional Committee bought up hundreds of URLs ahead of the 2014 election cycle and has created nearly 20 websites appearing to support Democratic candidates in all but the small print, a spokesman for the campaign confirmed Thursday. The websites include donation forms that accept credit cards and encourage viewers to contribute up to $500, but instead of money going to the Democratic candidates, it goes to the NRCC.

You must be asking yourself why a political party would find it necessary to stoop so low. But the answer seems obvious to me. They know their policies are so unpopular that they have to depend on tricks – and an avalanche of money – to win votes.

They also depend on a vast network of right-wing media outlets they’ve built up over the years. Even CNN seems to be chiming in. Under its new president, Jeff Zucker, CNN is looking more and more like a tabloid and that means a sharp turn to the right. Why else would Chuck Todd misread the recent CBO report on Obamacare? And he was one of the pundits who announced that the new health care law would cost America moe than 2 million jobs – a total misinterpretation as it turned out.

The November mid-term elections will test the American voter’s acuity as never before. With the Koch brothers  and other billionaires already dumping unprecedented torrents of cash into Republican campaigns and a rash of voter suppression laws spawned by the Supreme Court’s trashing of the Voting Rights Act, American democracy is under assault from every direction.

Click for Rothberg’s article.

Click for story on Pennsylvania lawmaker.