Monday, October 23, 2006

Manipulating the Elections

We are nearly two weeks away from the midterm elections, and once again there are signs that the Bush administration is pushing to manipulate the American vote. While I am far from a conspiracy theorist, it leads to a simple question: is democracy served when the group in power uses its power to retain power?

Perhaps the biggest issue we’re seeing is the resurgence of the US economy. We’re hearing now that the deficit will be far lower than anticipated (only $423B), but Rob Portman, OMB director said that while economists try to make the most accurate forecasts possible, the forecasting model does underestimate tax revenue from time to time, ostensibly intentionally, according to US News and World Report.

The price of a barrel of oil has dropped significantly, and thus the price at the pump, as well as the price of heating fuel is dropping. This has occurred despite the fact that OPEC has made significant strides to lower production and increase the price of crude. Why the significant drop in price, then? Most point to the lower cost of refinement of crude oil. Given the Bush family’s significant interests in the oil refinement industry, it begs the question of whether lower refinement costs are linked to the upcoming elections.

Furthermore, there has been recent infighting in the Republican Party, and many Republicans have feared that this would lead to low Republican turnout for the November 7th elections, as people refuse to back Republican candidates and the general sense shows the Democrats already taking back the Congress. Then, Barron’s features a cover story today, indicating the Republicans may yet retain Congress and the House, once again pushing voters to the booths. Many say the article is little more than a paid advertisement.

Plus, we’ve seen recent articles about growing terrorist threats, very much a reality of life today but certainly nothing new to us. While the best military minds in the country indicate that we need to find a new strategy in Iraq, the Bush administration spouts the success of our campaign there and our progress in working towards our goals in the region. And events like nuclear testing by North Korea are downplayed as the administration talks of better unity with China in facing the issue.

Are all of these coincidences, or are they timed perfectly to give the Republicans a fighting chance on November 7th? Are they tactics which are unique to the present power structure, or have they been used by administration after administration over the years in an effort to maintain power in the US?

Perhaps the biggest question of all is, are these tactics proper to use, or do they skew the democratic process in favor of one party retaining power? Perhaps my thinking is naïve, but I still believe that America should be a place governed by the will of the people, and I believe deceiving the American people to be the quickest way to destroy the democracy so many have fought to preserve. I don’t have all the answers, certainly, but I hope the answers are found before the elections so we can see a fair election in two weeks.

Posted by Scottage at 1:06 AM / | |