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Excusing defeat is a sure way to keep losing. In the 2012 election, conservatives, libertarians, and tea party groups were outworked and outvoted by an array of forces that should have been demoralized and bitter, but instead focused on their common enemy and working together. If we want to avoid a repeat of that performance in 2014 and 2016, we must first recognize one reality: We lost.
Maybe there was fraud around the edges, or maybe it was massive, blatant, and made the difference. Whatever the case, there is one way to prevent it from happening again, and that is for you personally to take care of business on the local level.
Grassroots activists on the right were properly alarmed by reports of voter fraud in the wake of the 2008 elections. Candidate Obama had used his experience registering new voters in Chicago to tap into a nationwide network of street activists, paid by how many new voters they registered. As a result, many registered phony names.
A subsidiary of the group was paid $800,000 by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign to register voters for the 2008 primaries, and ACORN's political wing endorsed Obama back in February. But Obama's campaign told CNN that it "is committed to protecting the integrity of the voting process," and said it has not worked with ACORN during the general election. Brian Mellor, an ACORN attorney in Boston, said the group has its own quality-control process and has fired workers in the past -- including workers in Gary. But he said allegations that his organization committed fraud is a government attempt to keep people disenfranchised."We believe their purpose is to attack ACORN and suppress votes," Mellor said. "We believe that by attacking ACORN, they are going to discourage people that have registered to vote with ACORN from voting."
The people of TrueTheVote.org did great work in documenting and exposing fraudulent and sloppy voting practices.
Further investigations of ACORN revealed shoddy accounting and corruption, forcing the sham of an end to government funding and the group's nominal breakup. But though ACORN no longer exists, the group continues to work under different names, using the same resources and the same people to do the same things.
As I'm sure the activists at TrueTheVote would agree, If you want to stop voter fraud, and that's your big concern, here is one way to do it: become a precinct committeeman in the political party of your choice.
The precinct committeeman recruits election judges to work on election day, and also can find and train designated poll watchers, whose ability to gather and relay information varies from state to state. Usually every candidate is allowed one poll watcher in each precinct.
So even if you're not going to become the go-to political person in your precinct, you can at least volunteer to be a presence at the polling place.
We must drop the idea that the Obama reelection campaign relied on cheating to win. Pointing at cheating excuses our failure in messaging and pursuading people toward our values. We will never take stock of our own weakness if we don't admit that we lost.
There were not millions of fraudulent votes. That's too big a conspiracy to hide. If we are manning the polling places as we should be, our opponent would not be able to cheat at all. If your polling place is adequately staffed, you will know who voted. If that result differs from the returns, wave a red flag.
As I was enlightened by a Twitter friend, blaming the election loss on fraud also "makes us no better than the gross 'Bush stole Florida' hanging chad crowd." Thorough studies have revealed that the President Bush clearly won Florida in 2000.
Vote fraud is a non-issue when a polling place is attended by poll watchers, our election judges, and ... most importantly ... lots and lots of our voters.
Electronic voting machines, and the programs that run them, are a big worry for some people. Here again, if we had adequate staffing of polling places and were monitoring how many of "our" people voted, we would be able to point out any systematic fraud.
Get out of denial. We lost. Get involved and influence the people in your neighborhood to see that those on the right are likeable and have at heart the best interests of America and the people who are its citizens.
Change hearts. Fight fraud. Encourage integrity in the system. It all has to be done locally.