On the night of October 19, the national waterboarding known collectively as the three presidential debates came to an end. There are 19 days left before this nation chooses a spray tanned fascist with a satanic comb over or a stealth Republican with an ISIS itch for President. Donald Trump’s Mussolini inspired fragrance, “Il Duce”, has given Hillary Clinton enough cover to laugh off her email scandal and Putin’s hacking of her private server. The generally offensive Chris Wallace played moderator and he actually pushed the combatants into a substantive exchange while the live studio audience was ordered to stifle their laughter when Wallace nagged them for having pulses and heartbeats.
Jill Stein and Gary Johnson were denied access to the debate stage and were left to back channels in whispering their talking points. It was the most distinguished evening at UNLV since the basketball team wore freshly laundered uniforms in a home game. Trump’s effeminate, undersized hands tried to wick away Hill’s squawking points while punctuating her answers with a parrot like, “Wrong!”, to keep his loyalists interested.
As more women emerge with accounts of being sexually abused or groped by the Republican nominee in past years, there is enough misogyny left over for Hillary to actually appear sympathetic with Trump referring to Clinton as, “a nasty woman”, in the last five minutes of the debate. Hillary is less sympathetic with her email controversy but she has some company there. Her campaign boss, John Podesta, had his emails hacked and CBS News reported on October 20th that Podesta entered his information into a link called, “Fancy Bear”. It’s a Russian based hacking site and Podesta fell victim to a “spearfishing” operation, according to CBS. I am generally averse to posting Fox News content but Chris Wallace peppers Podesta here about the Russian hack job.
The U.S. intelligence apparatus has stated outright that Putin is trying to get the outcome he wants in this election and that is a Trump win next month. Because the endless American election cycle involves winning the majority of 50 state elections and a lack of oversight to assure a clean game on the federal level, we are turkeys waiting to be plucked and ex KGB man Putin knows a soft target when he sees dinner through the rifle scope. At least the state by state system spreads the risk just a bit. With Trump not committing to accepting the election outcome unless he wins, a disqualifying statement on its face, there are sure to be lawyers in lock step to challenge the result. In some states, there will be no paper back up system to assure an honest count. This soulless little snippet is used here to make the point that democracy is made of paper and not bits.
Just as some criminals use intermediaries to pass information, only in person and with no paper or electronic trail to trip them up later, the election system in this country is already decentralized with the states in charge of voting. That’s a big advantage against hacking to start with. Paper should be the primary record for all elections and the software should be an additional record to go with the paper count. I can claim just a little direct experience as a former poll supervisor in my town. (Hold the applause please.) After the polls closed, the machines were locked down and a paper roll was removed with official witnesses present. A poll supervisor, me in that case, took the locked ballot box with the official paper roll locked inside and drove it immediately to the Board of Elections. Paper is honest, retrievable and impossible to hack unless the machines themselves have been compromised.
The above video makes the point and my choosing it because I am arguably less nerdy than the fine young people featured cannot be proven with any certainty. Machines need to be too simple to be hacked by malicious programs but that is admittedly above my pay grade.
As to the election, Hillary will almost certainly be the President-Elect on the morning of November 9th. Trump has shattered all the rules by all but breaking our political system. Hillary probably rigged the primaries in her favor and Bernie Sanders made nice with her later for the good of the country, something Trump is simply unable to do.
He has coarsened this culture to all time lows but he has proven that women deal with abuse and obstacles that few men have ever contemplated. If you are half awake and not a Donald J. Trump minion, Hillary deserves respect for running her race with a glass ceiling above her and a misogynist floor beneath her. She and Podesta deserve condemnation for making an electoral hack possible in the alleged “greatest democracy the world has ever seen.” She doesn’t have my vote but she gets a little respect because for women, the game really is rigged. I’ll be voting for a woman anyway on November 8th.