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Greg Palast on “The Purged” (Voters)

Published by marco on

 Greg Palast has been fighting for years to stop voter purging, all on a shoestring budget and with hardly any major media coverage. He’s gotten more prominence recently, but it’s unconscionable how little influence his message still has.[1]

His message is simple: the elites are stealing votes in America with corrupt and illegal practices. Many others abet by staying mute and idle.

“I never use the term vote suppression, because when someone steals your car, you don’t say, my car has been suppressed. Your vote has been stolen, not suppressed.
Greg Palast

Too many in America seem to think that voting is a privilege, not a right, that somehow it’s OK to purge people from voter rolls “just to be sure they’re legal”. No. That’s not how it works. It’s innocent until proven guilty, not guilty, then let’s have a look. Oops, sorry, I guess you missed this election while you were waiting us to decide whether you’re a real citizen.

People are showing up to polls after waiting a whole day only to realize that they’ve been illegally purged, told that they’ve moved (when they haven’t) and told that they should clear up this irregularity and “better luck next time…we’re sure you understand”.

Watch the video below and see how many more votes are being suppressed than would be needed to tip the vote in one of more states (some of them quite crucial, AKA “battleground”). This is a real issue. It may be the real issue that determines the outcome of the election.

And yet, there’s not much reaction or awareness from the mainstream media (which doesn’t care about poor people) or even the recent surge of protests, which have focused more on lives rather than votes. It’s hard to argue with them because they’re already fighting for something that’s right, but they’ve climbed too small a hill. Fighting for people to be able to vote is simultaneously more likely to yield short-term results and more likely to lead to better results on other issues (like fixing policing in America—and saving lives).

Imagine if the combined firepower of progressive ire and activism that we’ve seen this year were focused on the voting issue instead of on police killings—just for now, understand—imagine how much voter suppression could be reversed. With the election right around the corner, though, that ship has, once again, sailed for another four years, leaving Palast to publish short lists of advice for people to do their best to ensure that their vote will actually be counted.

  • Vote in person, if at all possible.
  • Don’t take no for an answer.
  • Don’t allow them to give you a “provisional” ballot.

The Purged: The Vanished Voters of Trump's America by Greg Palast (YouTube)

The United States of America is not a democracy, not by a long shot. How can it be, when the basic right of participation is contingent for so many? It’s a sham and scam, plastering over its gaping holes with marketing and unearned goodwill. The American people are being conned every day into thinking that they have anything to do with how their country is run for them.

Even if you do get a shot at voting, your opinion on matters generally doesn’t matter. I wrote about this recently in Corruption in the US:

“Regardless of whether Americans were completely against or completely for a policy, there was a 30% chance of it being enacted. […] The influence of the top 10% is much, much closer to the ideal—where issues with 0% support never pass and those with 100% support always do—they effectively kill ideas they don’t support and tend to get what they do support (60% chance instead of 30%).”

But, hell, if you can’t even vote, then how can you even make your voice heard—and then ignored?

And, even once you have voted, there are people who care so little about democracy that they’ll try to invalidate those votes on any technicality they can find, as well. The article Republicans Are Trying To Cancel More Than 100,000 Votes in a Deep Blue Part of Texas by Eric Boehm (Reason) documents how Harris County expanded its curbside voting to anyone—because of COVID-19—rather than for just people with disabilities (as it was to-date).

“State election officials had previously signaled that Harris County’s drive-through voting plans were legally permissible. A Republican effort to block the drive-through voting stations was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court earlier this month, and the state Supreme Court on Sunday rejected an attempt to get those votes thrown out.”

It’s almost enough to make you give up, but then you let the bastards win. The bastards have been winning for a while—and a bastard will definitely win this time, again. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it. Part of their power is that people let them assuage their consciences by telling themselves and us a fairy tale about how they’re the good guys. If the least we can do is rob them of our belief, then that’s a start.

[1] Leonardo DiCaprio has recently joined with Palast to get his message out to more people. I also noticed that Yvette Nicole Brown (“Shirley” from Community) is a producer of the video).