If an election was rigged, who really lost? The winner, of course, won. But who is the real loser—the losing candidate who goes off on a long vacation; or the public left behind to live with the taint of a questionable winner; or doomed to expend tax dollars on the court battles about the rigged results.
The United States has a strong foundation for allegations of rigging: we have the notorious 1960 election of Kennedy versus Nixon, claimed to be determined by some rigging in Chicago. You know the innuendo of the Mob and Sam Giancana getting dead people to vote. Bush vs. Gore centered on rigging in Florida, but more on that later. We have no term limits for Congress which makes it hard for anyone new to break into the circle of paid interests and lobbyists supporting reelections. And there’s the quaint practice of gerrymandering, redrawing voting districts into crazy shapes to suit politicians’ ambitions and/or prejudices.
Rigging it is fair to say is throughout our pop culture. Clearly we don’t trust the other guy — or gal ― to play fair. We watch it play out in movies ranging from Election to Wag the Dog. Shonda Rimes’ Scandal had a voting rig at the heart of the first season and even in outer space, i.e. Battlestar Gallatica, elections apparently can get rigged. Books are spun around it and as an author I have played that card too — it’s just too tempting. I invented a cyber mob that runs statistical analysis to help elect a candidate for President. It all comes down to a few places in the country, one of them my hometown in Florida and it is there where the hacking into the computer voting system occurs. It can happen, right? Of course, Florida is rigged ― it’s Florida. Outrageous scandals are not fake in Florida (see above).
The examples to prove the point are limitless. Florida brought the world Bush v. Gore (2000), where the precedent-setting opinion that determined the President of the United States and changed the history of the world was deemed, not precedent by the very Supreme Court that wrote the precedent – unprecedented! I guess the Supreme Court was rigged. The next President is going to definitely have to rig it back the other way. Of course, with 8 justices now with no scheduled hearing to approve President Obama’s appointment by the Senate in sight, the Supreme Court really is itself kind of rigged - at least rigged for inefficient work flow. I’m not saying nine justices are required, but at least an odd number to break ties.
As a lawyer, I represented the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, Florida after Bush v. Gore, who ushered in a new electronic voting system that administratively caused severe grief in the process of calculating and verifying votes, among other administrative problems in her office. Some claimed that these problems cost then former Attorney General Janet Reno the win in the Democratic primary for Governor of Florida. Eventually, it cost the Supervisor her authority and then her job.
So now we have a major party candidate for President that says if he loses, it’s going to be because the election was rigged. Wonders of wonders: something is rigged before it even happens. Polls that say his campaign is experiencing in a stall are rigged ― because you know who sponsors the polls, the rigged media, which even though there is a conservative media and a liberal media, the two don’t necessarily counteract each other. Can’t the truth or non-rigginess exist somewhere in there? Certainly there is science, evidence, and proof somewhere. Or does campaigning mean rigging?
Claims of rigging seem to trend upward around election time so it makes me wonder if the claims of the rigged are the sore losers’ way of not taking personal responsibility for failure. The dynamics of special interests, money, gerrymandering, and never-ending incumbency does not mean the system is completely rigged. How long could such a massive systemic conspiracy to rig the outcome of elections, economic system, and the world remain undiscovered? Benjamin Franklin said three people can keep a secret if two are dead. One has to wonder are we ignoring the rigging or is there no evidence of rigging because there’s no rigging. Among all the yelling and accusations made with absolute certitude about rigging, I have to wonder if even this article is rigged.
About the author:
Robert Buschel is an attorney in Florida who handles both criminal and civil cases, some of which have been featured on 48 Hours, Dateline as well as other national news outlets and in People and USA Today, The Miami Herald and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. He is a member of the Florida Bar, California Bar and admitted as Attorney of the United States Supreme Court. His first novel By Secret Majority, a political thriller set in the White House, published in August, 2016.