Well, had a longer post about this but stupid host errors wiped it out. Best thing I can do now that I wasted time writing that is point you here:
Imagine an election where one of the participants calls foul. Investigations are launched or at least called for. Prosecutors raise the specter of charges, the U.S. attorney and FBI get involved. No voter fraud is ever actually found. But by the time that conclusion is reached, the myth has been solidified both to soothe the loser’s supporters and condemn the winner.
Sound familiar? Sound like the recent ACORN scandal?
Well, actually I’m talking about the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. That Nixon was cheated out of a win is the stuff of legend on the Right. The allegations say that Kennedy loyalists fixed the vote counts in Illinois and Texas–swinging 51 electoral votes and a majority in the Electoral College to Kennedy. In more hyperbolic versions there is alleged involvement by the mob, the Teamsters Union or legendary Chicago mayor Richard Daley.
The story goes on that Nixon, “for the good of the country,” conceded honorably and exited the scene. No matter that Nixon was later chased out of the White House for cheating in an election. The myth endures.
It’s also worth noting that similar allegations were made against ACORN in the last few election cycles, and several investigations were conducted, none of which found evidence of widespread voter fraud. Many of these were conducted by US attorneys, who were pressured by GOP political figures to investigate the issue, then fired after they failed to come up with sufficient evidence.
So as the GOP campaign to make an issue out of ACORN continues — and we’ll be keeping you posted as it does — remember that the number of fraudulent votes that will be cast in November as a result of the group’s voter-registration activities is close to zero. But the number of valid voters who could potentially have obstacles placed in their way of voting, as a result of the Republican campaign, is far larger.
Don’t expect to hear anything from the wingnuts in the Ohio blogosphere about Republican voter suppression. This is the kind of “fraud” they actually kinda like.