© 2018 Henry Scanlon


 A stage play in one act that gets endlessly repeated, by Henry Scanlon


The Precinct Captain


[SCENE: Basement meeting hall, Anytown, USA. Shirtsleeves rolled, brow glistening, a middle-aged Precinct Captain commands the room...)

PRECINCT CAPTAIN: Okay, lookit: I’m only going to say this once, so pay attention. I don’t want to hear anybody using the term [air quotes]  “voter fraud”. That’s number one. It has a bad connotation. When you use a word like “fraud”, what do people think of? Anybody? That’s right—cheating. You know: dishonesty—double-dealing, double-dipping and double-crossing. Double everything. We don’t want that. We don’t want the word “fraud” anywhere in the vicinity. So what are we talking about, then? Anybody? Anybody? Okay, here it is in a nutshell, and let’s not get confused: we’re talking about outcome enhancement. That’s it; that’s all. Period. A tweak here and a tweak there for the simple purpose of adding a little assurification—so that some mope doesn't get elected by accident. “Fraud”? I don’t think so. Say it after me: Outcome enhancement.

Let’s not forget: We’re the good guys; they’re the bad guys. On what planet is it a bad thing to make sure the good guys win, fair and square?

[ A Solution in Search of a Problem]

Always remember this, number one: Voter fraud doesn’t exist. How do we know that? Anybody? That’s right: because there is no evidence of voter fraud, and, hence, there is no voter fraud. No evidence, no fraud. [Chuckles] That gets me every time. Of course there’s no evidence. Have you ever heard of a little thing called the secret ballot? Believe me, in the precincts we control, the secret ballot is going to stay plenty secret because this is America. And don’t forget: If you’ve got some stuff lying around that it would not be helpful to have land on the front page of the NY stupid Times, what’s the procedure? Correct. It goes away. The reason there’s not evidence is that there’s no evidence, and if you need to take a little heat about the strange nature of the disappearance of certain things, well, what? Anybody? That’s right: It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Our motto is: if someone calls you incompetent, that’s a compliment. Fooled ‘em. Am I right? The only people who don’t understand that outcome enhancement has been a time-honored tradition since the first ballot box with a false bottom was set up somewhere outside Plymouth Rock are a few true-believers in our own party, bless their gullible hearts. Don’t clue ‘em in: put ‘em right at the front of the parade.  

See, what we’re doing here is something called “framing the argument”. We want to set the discussion up this way, and this is important, so pay attention: If you can’t demonstrate that voter fraud is going on all over the place, then voter fraud isn’t going on at all. Get it? Nobody is going to be able to prove that voter fraud is going on all over the place, because voter fraud is not, in fact, going on all over the place, it’s only going on where necessary, where a little voter fraud—enhancement—is going to go a long way.

The problem is, where is that going to be? And when? You don’t know. That’s why the most important thing is maintaining capability. Broad based capability, while, at the same time, maintaining the absolute ability to take the position that voter fraud doesn’t take place at all. You want to be able to do what you need to do when you need to do it, where you need to do it, and, after you’ve done it, you want to make sure you’ve done it in a place where it goes poof—nothing to see here, all gone.  The way things are set up, it’s extremely easy to do that; we just need to make sure it stays that way.

[Maintaining Capability is the Number One Thing]

So what are the components of maintaining broad based capability to be used when you need it? “No Fault” absentee ballots, for one. Anybody know what that is? That’s right, in the bad old days you needed to have a reason to absentee your darn self, like serving in the military overseas or some other documented excuse. No more. Not since Clinton rammed through the motor voter law has there been a sweet spot like this. We love absentee ballots. Combine that with a lot of dead people on the voter rolls, or people registered to vote in multiple states, and you’ve got yourself something to work with.

Early voting: Don't forget, one of our largest constituencies consists of those who don’t know anything and couldn’t care less. It takes time to find these people and haul them to the polls, sometimes more than once, depending. The longer the voting period the better. We have a lot of ballots to fill out. Certain things take time.  

You want to know where maintaining capability isn’t? You listen to all these Republican busy-bodies and do-gooders yammering about voter I.D. and cleaning up the registration rolls and sticking their noses all over absentee ballots, and going on and on about wanting to put two and two together. Well, we’re not in favor of putting two and two together, and I’ll tell you why: when you start putting two and two together, pretty soon you’re putting two and two together, and you know where that leads? It leads to losing elections that you have no business losing. Any talk of voter ID needs to be eradicated as soon as it starts. It needs to be obliterated. It needs to go away.  Same with cleaning up the voter rolls.  If you limit yourself to just people who are eligible to vote, or physically capable of voting, like for instance, people who are demonstrably alive, what you have is a finite number, something that inadvertently provides an unhelpful limitation as to, you know, count.  We like numbers that are flexible, that can expand as needed.  It’s just common sense.  Somebody gets all fired up about “cleaning up” the voter rolls, here’s what you say: Who needs to waste money doing that when there’s no evidence of voter fraud? We’re in favor of sending that money to orphanages instead, because, we’ll, that’s just the kind of folks we are, as opposed to the other people, the [air quotes] “clean up the rolls” people, the bad people.

Fortunately, none of this is ever going to happen. Why? Simple. And I don’t really need to point this out to you, that’s how obvious it is—and, I might add—how foolproof it is:

[Every time they do anything to prevent dead black people from voting, just start yelling that they’re trying to prevent live black people from voting.]

The most fertile territory for voter harvesting is where? That’s right: poor neighborhoods. And who tends to live in poor neighborhoods? Correct: people of color; lots of people of color, which is to say a large portion of our base—the most reliable portion, I might add.  That’s right: poor neighborhoods where nobody’s got a stupid ID and maybe Aunt Mable who died a few years ago is remembered very fondly and everybody damn well knows who she’d vote for if given half a chance.  

So where are the bad guys going to look to find voting…irregularities? Of course! Poor neighborhoods! And what’s going to happen when they do that? Right. Thank you. Racism. Voter suppression. It’s as simple as pie: We’re going to gaslight their sorry butts. We do it every time and it works every time. If they start waving the Constitution around like it’s some kind of holy writ, what’s your response? Racism. Thank you. Holler that there’s a direct line from their behavior to Jim Crow, Bull Conner, fire hoses, rabid dogs, and Maya gosh darn Angelou, even though there might not be a direct line you can, you know, point to, and, well, okay, fine, you and I might know it’s ridiculous, and they can squawk all they want about how the reason they’re targeting poor neighborhoods is because that’s where the irregularities are, but we know better: Just give Scoop the reporter a racism hook to hang his hat on, and he’ll run with it from one end of town to the other. Don’t forget: He’s one of the good guys, too, in his own estimation, just like you and me. Just keep talking about voter suppression, give them every opportunity to show the world how enlightened they are, and go about your business. They’ll keep those racist Yahoos a million miles away from anything that’s going to present a problem for us, and you don’t want to dwell on it, anyway, because pretty soon somebody’s going to point out that we’re the ones taking the position that black folks are too dumb, unambitious, backwards and clueless to go out and get a simple photo I.D.

All that being said, let’s boil this down to bite-size chunks, shall we, the ABC’s of achieving responsible results:

[Never Cast a Phony Vote You Don’t Need]

I don’t care how many dead voters’ absentee ballots you have in your back pocket, you’re only going to use as many as you need—and not one more. You don’t want to be sending votes in willy-nilly. I know, I know, sometimes you have the folks willing to vote multiple times lined up around the block, or stacks of “no fault” absentee ballots itching to be filled out, and you feel like you want to just landslide that Republican, union-hating pant-load into oblivion, but you need to be smart about it. Believe me, we’ve been doing this a long time, and we’re good at it. Nobody needs to draw attention by winning by a lot; we just need to win. The last thing we want to do is lose by a little. There’s no excuse for that; it’s just negligence.

[Never Cast a Phony Vote In An Election you Can’t Win]

 Don’t screw around unless it’s going to make a difference. Put that right at the top of your list. If some Republican gasbag plutocrat is running away with it, well, you can’t be hauling out four million people willing to vote multiple times, it’s ridiculous. Let it go. Likewise, if our guy has it locked, don’t take any chances or squander capability unnecessarily. There’s always the possibility some self-appointed Sherlock Holmes or Trey Gowdy is going to sniff something out and make a federal case if it. I realize that when it’s so easy it’s tempting to have yourself a little voter rodeo, but that’s just a waste of good votes that you might want to use down the road. If it helps you to restrain yourself, pretend there’s voter ID or a workable system to legitimize absentee ballots or to cross-reference the guy you dragged in during early voting three weeks ago with the guy here today wearing a different shirt. Pretend all those things are actually being done if it helps, but just remember this: if the other guy is going to win big, or if you’re sure your guy is going to win even by a little, or if for some reason this race just doesn’t matter much—keep your hands off. You might even want to use this one as a “show” venue: You know, like the Chinese do when they let inspectors in to see one particular gussied up town to make them think they’re all like that. Do it by the book to make ‘em think it’s that way everywhere.

[Never cast a phony vote in a venue you don’t control]

 Speaking of precincts, let’s talk about that. A lot of people think this whole voting hoo-ha is run by the Feds. It’s not. It’s a state thing and each state gets to make up its own rules and regulations, except when the Feds step in, which they’re not supposed to do, but they do, of course, constantly. But forget the feds; forget the states, it’s the precincts that matter, like this one, and guess how many of those there are? Thousands. That, my friends, represents thousands of opportunities, at least in the precincts our guys control, which is roughly half, give or take, and they are your best friend. If you can’t maintain the sanctity of the secret ballot—which is to say, if you can’t render things un-existent after it’s been “counted” [MAKES AIR QUOTES WITH FINGERS], and if some kind of “inspector” [MAKES AIR QUOTES WITH FINGERS] comes in wanting to nose around, if that “inspector” [MAKES AIR QUOTES WITH FINGERS] doesn’t happen to be your cousin, the answer is “no”. When in doubt as to what you need to do, remember this adage: Go away, racist bastard.

And here’s the best part: Nobody needs to be told what to do; there are no grand conspiracies for the voter fraud obsessives to point to. Everybody knows what to do and how to do it, because, for one thing, until some damn fool puts in place so-called voter fraud prevention regulations, it’s so simple any idiot could do it, and we have no shortage of those.

Speaking of which, be sure to be here next week when we'll be discussing public sector unions, or how to turn every city, state and federal employee into a Democratic Party operative. There’ll be a guest speaker from the IRS, so you don’t want to miss it.

# # #