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January 10, 2008

If It's An Election, There Must Be A Conspiracy

After watching the Democrats spin wild conspiracy theories about how they lost the 2000 and the 2004 elections, it shouldn't surprise that similar paranoid thinking has arisen in 2008. However, this time the target of the conspiracy thinking isn't Republicans, but other Democrats. Progressive bloggers have begun launching accusations of fraud and vote-rigging in the wake of Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in New Hampshire's primaries:

The results weren't even in when the blogosphere started to hum with a theory that sharply divided Democrats online: Barack Obama lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire because the vote was rigged.

"Something stinks in New Hampshire," a commenter posted on the popular liberal site

Curious about the "wildly inaccurate" polls that put Mr. Obama in a double-digit lead going into Tuesday's primary, blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, questioned the results as soon as they arrived, and all day Wednesday.

"Other folks that I've spoken to, who follow this sort of thing, share my concern at this hour," he wrote on "If I was Barack Obama, I'd certainly not have conceded this election this quickly. I'm not quite sure what he was thinking."

I'd make one criticism of Karen Brooks in this instance. She shouldn't hold John Aravosis responsible for the opinion of a commenter at Americablog. If John has made these allegations, as Brad did at Bradblog, then Brooks can rightly use that as an example. If John didn't write the comment, then it's a bit unfair to show him as a purveyor of this charge. The same holds true at Crooks and Liars, where it appears that Brooks surveyed the comments and not the posts.

The conspiracies have popped up in my threads as well among the supporters of Ron Paul. They're claiming that their fifth-place finish springs from a Diebold conspiracy to discredit their candidate. Paul and his crew have a long history of conspiracy theorizing, and Paul himself appears regularly on the Alex Jones radio show, which lives off of them. Just because those comments appear on my site doesn't mean I agree with them, and as far as I know, no one else on the Right outside of the Ronulans have given it a second thought.

Mostly, this is a debate taking places on the fringe of the progressive blogosphere and primarily among commenters. It's still amusing to see it, however, because if one follows the conspiracy theory to its natural conclusion, it indicts the Democrats' biggest assets. Who benefitted from this alleged vote rigging? Bill and Hillary Clinton. It mirrors the conspiracy mongering on the Right during the 1990s involving Bill and Hillary, at least on the fringes. It makes it harder for the Left to castigate conservatives over the real phenomenon of Clinton Derangement Syndrome when their own allies suffer from it.

Danny Glover notes at Beltway Blogroll that none of the campaigns have floated the notion of fraud. I also notice that the one group that would most benefit from that explanation -- pollsters-- have not mentioned it as a reason for the surprise Hillary win. Will that make a difference for those who see wheels within wheels everywhere they look? Probably not.


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» Conspiracy Theory Of The Day: Did Hillary Hack The Vote In New Hampshire? from The Gun Toting Liberal™
Hillary Clinton Does Not Deny Allegations Of Voter Fraud In New Hampshire One day, the polls predict a double-digit win for Barack Obama, hours later, Sir Hillary Rodham Clinton is celebrating a margin of victory of several thousand votes and a three p... [Read More]

» Kerry to endorse The Empty Suit (PM UPDATE: LIBERAL BLOGGERS BELIEVE NH VOTE WAS “RIGGED”) from Sister Toldjah
Huh. One cut and runner endorsing another. Imagine that. PM Update: So typical: They’re not happy with the results of the NH Dem primary, so some liberal bloggers are suggesting (h/t: Captain Ed) that the vote was “rigged.” Sigh.... [Read More]

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