The 2018 mid-term elections are already history-making, and not just for illustrating the gaping political divide between urban and rural voters. Republicans have been bleating for years about rampant voter fraud, while working diligently to prevent citizens from voting and when unsuccessful in that to stop votes from being counted. Turns out that the few documented cases of actual fraud involve Republicans.
Remember North Carolina? That’s the state whose GOP-controlled legislature, in a lame-duck session after the 2016 election, passed a bill limiting the governor’s powers. The lame-duck Republican chief executive signed the bill before vacating his office for the newly-elected Democratic governor who had beaten him in the election. (Fast-forward to 2018: Wisconsin and Michigan have just done the same thing.)
Republican fraud in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district 2018 election was so blatant and so egregious that the state’s Board of Elections—made up of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent, responsible for tabulating and verifying every ballot – voted unanimously not to certify Republican Mark Harris’s purported win. Republican lackeys had gone door-to-door in the district collecting mail-in ballots, claiming authority to gather and deliver them as a service to voters.
For an updated, blow-by-blow sequence of NC’s yet-to-be-decided congressional election go to ballotpedia.com.
For an illustration of how to steal an election, let’s go back seventy years, to Lyndon B. Johnson’s successful 1948 Texas primary campaign for the U.S. Senate.
In his third term representing Texas’s 10th congressional district, LBJ suffered an ignominious defeat in a 1941 special election for the Senate. He retained his House seat, running unopposed in the next three elections. The House though, was a dead end in Johnson’s mind; his ambition reached far beyond being a congressman. In 1948 he ran again for the Senate.
The important election was the primary. Southern states were solidly Democratic and had been since Reconstruction. The general election would be a formality. Former governor and living Texas legend Coke R. Stevenson was LBJ’s main opponent in the three-way race. Steven won the election –Johnson was second – but did not receive the required majority of votes. A runoff election was scheduled.
Johnson campaigned in frenzy, crisscrossing the state in the“Flying Windmill,” a rented helicopter with his name emblazoned on its sides.He drew crowds by simply landing an aircraft that most residents of rural towns had never before seen.
The initial tally gave Stevenson a narrow victory. A few days later an amended count from Jim Wells County in southern Texas gave Johnson 202 additional votes, providing him with an 87-vote margin of victory. George B. Parr – banker, rancher, oilman – considered the “Emperor of South Texas” and a Johnson supporter, controlled elections in more than a dozen south counties, but not Jim Wells County. Had he controlled Jim Wells, LBJ may have won without the controversy.
The amended count from Precinct 13 – Jim Wells County – showed, oddly, that voters had cast their ballots in alphabetical order, had signed in with identical handwriting and used the same pen. Some were not eligible to vote or were out of the county on Election Day or were dead. Jim Wells’s officials produced neither the actual ballots nor the ballot box. (The votes and “Box 13” have never been found.) Democratic officials – in those days, political parties ran the primary elections – declared Lyndon Johnson the winner. LBJ easily beat his Republican opponent in the general election. Johnson entered the Senate carrying his new nickname: “Landslide Lyndon.”
Johnson soon became the unchallenged “Master of the Senate.” John F. Kennedy chose him as his vice-presidential running mate in the 1960 election. He moved into the White House after JFK was assassinated in 1963. A year later he won the presidential election by a genuine landslide.
LBJ famously said, after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that he had steered through the Senate, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” Republicans have since controlled the southern states for two generations and counting.
Robert A. Caro provides a riveting account of the 1948 election and the general political climate in southern Texas in Means of Ascent, the second volume of his The Years of Lyndon Johnson.