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May 22, 2004
Al Franken Calls For Voter Fraud To Elect Kerry

Ben Wikler, from Al Franken's Air America blog, has called for Democrats in safe states to move to so-called "battleground states," using Civil War imagery to promote the strategy of voter fraud in the latest example of left-wing contempt for democratic process (posted here and scroll down to 5/18/04, at the Permalink-deficient Air America website:

Just as 1850s Kansas became a battleground in the fight against slavery, so has 2000s Ohio become a battleground state--in fact, some say, the battleground state--in the fight for the White House. If we win in Ohio, we almost certainly win the entire election.

And we can win. But it will take some work.

The most important factor, of course, is the work being done by Ohioans. But those of us in the rest of the nation could tip the balance. As the office of the Ohio Secretary of State notes, only 30 days of residency are required in order to vote in the election. Have you been thinking about moving this October? Move to Ohio!

In keeping with the "Bleeding Kansas" reference with which Wikler starts his spiel, the nutcases at Air America refer to this new strategy of desperation as "Bleeding Ohio." Bleeding Kansas was a critical, violent run-up to the Civil War that killed 55 people in the Nebraska Territory province in a battle between pro-slavery Missourians who regularly rode in from the east every time a vote was taken on forming a government, and Free State Kansans, mostly transplants from the North who wanted to keep enough land to homestead rather than allow slavers to create the kind of vast plantations that pushed people off the land and into tenant-farming situations. As PBS notes, the vote fraud caused more than just partisan sniping:

Rumors had spread through the South that 20,000 Northerners were descending on Kansas, and in November 1854, thousands of armed Southerners, mostly from Missouri, poured over the line to vote for a proslavery congressional delegate. Only half the ballots were cast by registered voters, and at one location, only 20 of over 600 voters were legal residents. The proslavery forces won the election.

On March 30, 1855, another election was held to choose members of the territorial legislature. The Missourians, or "Border Ruffians," as they were called, again poured over the line. This time, they swelled the numbers from 2,905 registered voters to 6,307 actual ballots cast. Only 791 voted against slavery. ...

Most settlers who had come to Kansas from the North and the South only wanted to homestead in peace. They were not interested in the conflict over slavery, but they found themselves in the midst of a battleground. Violence erupted throughout the territory. Southerners were driven by the rhetoric of leaders such as David Atchison, a Missouri senator. Atchison proclaimed the Northerners to be "negro thieves" and "abolitionist tyrants." He encouraged Missourians to defend their institution "with the bayonet and with blood" and, if necessary, "to kill every God-damned abolitionist in the district."

The northerners, however, were not all abolitionists as Atchison claimed. In fact, abolitionists were in the minority. Most of the Free State settlers were part of a movement called Free Soil, which demanded free territory for free white people. They hated slavery, but not out of concern for the slaves themselves. They hated it because plantations took over the land and prevented white working people from having their own homesteads. They hated it because it brought large numbers of black people wherever it went. The Free Staters voted 1,287 to 453 to outlaw black people, slave or free, from Kansas. Their territory would be white.

So dispense with the romanticism (and I got this link from Wikler on his Bleeding Ohio post, ironically enough). Neither side of Bleeding Kansas represented our values now, but the massive voter fraud from the pro-slavery Missourians started a violent conflict -- probably analogous to a gang war now, or a range war in terms of Western lore -- that only ended with the secession of the Southern states to the Confederacy and a truncated Congress' approval of the Free State, pro-abolition state constitution. Gang fights and range wars: that's what Air America proposes for Ohio?

Let's say that Al Franken and Air America manage to convince a significant percentage of their dwindling audience to suddenly pick up their kit bags and land in Ohio. Not only will they be dropping into an election of which they know nothing except for the Presidency, but they will be diluting the voting rights of Ohioans who will still live in the Buckeye State after the election. How do you feel about that, Ohio? Are you prepared to welcome a few thousand more people who won't have jobs, of course, and who therefore will probably be filing for public assistance? Perhaps some of them will find employment while they stay -- which will take jobs away from Ohioans. Not only that, but their ignorance of state and local matters on the ballot in November won't keep them from casting votes on them, meaning that an influx of New Yorkers or Californians might wind up deciding crucial issues on your ballots.

Wouldn't that make you happy?

This must be Voter Fraud Week on the Left. First, Al Franken and his staff dream up this conspiracy, and then John Kerry decides to play games with his own nominating convention, turning it into a pep rally or a bad TV miniseries with a laughable cliffhanger. What's next, a Torricelli/Lautenberg-type switcheroo at the last moment in order to put Howard Dean on the top of the ballot?

I wouldn't be surprised.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 22, 2004 5:10 PM

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