No numbers till Monday… though it’s worth sadly noting that by this time tomorrow, the world will have seen its one millionth C19 death. We have a long way to go with fixing things.
You know… “Fixing things” used to mean something positive… like, you have something, it broke, you fixed it… and now it’s good again.
The word’s more sinister implications… well, you have disgraced and disbarred former attorney Michael Cohen… Trump’s “fixer”… who fixed things like campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. Evidently, like cheap scotch tape, his illegal fixes were temporary, and fell apart when put to the test.
I have a particularly fond memory playing poker. A friend went to the washroom, and in the 60 seconds he was gone, we “fixed” the deck. By the end of the hand, he’d put every penny he had into the pot, and lost it all on the last card. He couldn’t believe it, and we couldn’t stop laughing at the emotional rollercoaster we put him through. All in good fun; he was incredibly relieved to hear it was all a set-up, and he hadn’t actually lost his entire net worth. I suspect most fixed poker hands don’t end so well.
When it comes to elections, history has seen plenty of fixes… and some are so blatant, they’re ridiculous.
The Liberian general election of 1927 is a good example. There were 15,000 registered voters. One candidate received 9,000 votes – pretty reasonable. The other candidate received 243,000 (that’s not a typo).
It’s interesting to note that until relatively recently, like the mid-19th century, when you voted, you made your vote public. The British colony of Victoria, ie Australia, adopted a secret voting system in 1856… where a generic paper ballot was produced by an independent third party. Before that, each campaign would produce their own ballot, on a piece of paper with their own colour. To vote, you’d drop your selected coloured ballot… into a glass bowl. Surrounding those glass bowls would be party operatives or even the candidates themselves… persuading, bribing and even threatening the voters. It took guts to vote because, as you might expect, it was frequently a violent undertaking.
Fortunately, neither the American nor Canadian upcoming elections will be people publicly dropping red of blue pieces of paper into large glass bowls, for all to see. That would be crazy.
Unfortunately, what will ultimately happen may be another sort of crazy. I’m not too worried about up here; we haven’t had a disputed election ever, and the closest thing to a scandal was that Conservative robo-call nonsense orchestrated by some junior staffer in 2011.
But south of the border… fasten your seatbelt. I don’t think any of us, in person, have ever seen what’s about to happen… and it’s already started. The president is already calling it crooked, and has made it clear he won’t accept the result if he loses.
Disputing the security of mail-in ballots, watching the USPS dismantle the infrastructure needed for a fair election, seeing how a top official in Philadelphia explained that up to 100,000 mail-in ballots might be invalidated due to a technicality (Pennsylvania is one of those key states that could, on its own, decide the election)… it’s all just beginning.
Just like a slow-moving train-wreck, it seems everyone is watching with morbid curiousity, unable to do anything to stop it. No matter what, it’ll be a big mess to clean up. Let’s just hope we can one day… fix it.