ORLANDO, Florida, August 31, 2016 – While the State Parties play a role in the manipulation of elections beyond being the gatekeepers of ballot access, the parties’ National Committees really exert the critical pressure. The effectively control whose candidacy is recognized versus whose candidacy gets buried.
The DNC and RNC are in a position to influence which candidates’ names are included in the national polls. This is critically important because poll performance becomes the method by which parties determine whom they will invite to participate in their primary debates and town halls. It also creates the perfect excuse to eliminate candidates who might become problematic for the parties if they were to gain momentum.
Harvard Professor Larry Lessig is an example. He already had a national reputation, which usually provides sufficient grounds for being included in the national polls. However, initially, his name was absent. This would have precluded Mr. Lessig from participating in the debates.
This was important to the DNC (and the RNC as well) because Mr. Lessig was running on the singular issue of election reform (just as I am now). Neither party wants there to be a debate on that issue because it could jeopardize their control over our political system.
Then, Mr. Lessig began to outraise Hillary Clinton and every other Democratic candidate through crowdfunding. This embarrassed the national polls and forced them to include him. As a result, he was able to reach the percentage threshold that was required by the DNC to participate in the first presidential primary debate. How did the DNC respond? It changed the rules and moved the qualification cutoff date to a period that preceded Mr. Lessing’s inclusion in the polls. Feeling betrayed and that he could not compete without the national exposure of a debate, Mr. Lessig suspended his campaign.
Similarly, I had caught and passed Martin O’Malley in terms of the number of ballots we were on by the end of December. I had even qualified in the critical state of Ohio while former Governor O’Malley had not. Yet, he continued to be included in the polls and the debates, while I was denied access to either.
The only plausible reason I can think of is because, as we have found out from Guciffer 2.0’s released email hacks, the DNC had a favored a particular candidate who needed the minority vote to assure her nomination. I’m a minority candidate, and it’s possible that if I gained any early momentum, I might jeopardize that constituency for her.
If you think that is a stretch of the imagination, witness what happened in Iowa. The Brown and Black Forum is considered to be the nation’s preeminent minority forum for presidential candidates. The RNC was heavily criticized for withdrawing from participation in the Brown and Black Forum this year. The word “racist” was liberally used to describe that decision. However, examine what happened on the DNC side.
For more than a month, Dr. Willie Wilson and I both petitioned the Brown and Black Forum, the Iowa Democratic Party and the DNC to include us in the Democratic version of the Brown and Black Forum. We heard nothing. Then two days before the Forum, we were informed that we would not be invited. It is worth noting that I am “Brown” and Dr. Wilson is “Black” while the candidates invited to discuss minority issues (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley) are not.
Both Dr. Wilson and I were told that the party and Forum had the candidates it wanted, and that they had to draw the line somewhere. It’s worth noting that the RNC found a way to allow 18 candidates to participate in its process, but the DNC unilaterally eliminated its only viable minority candidates before the first caucus or primary was even held. Now, ask yourself, “Why?”
Speaking of Iowa, it not only was first caucus to be held, it set the tone for what became common practice among almost every other caucus. The Iowa Democratic Party’s website only featured Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley (the latter of whom I had already realistically passed and who was to drop out immediately after Iowa). Those candidates’ profiles and pictures were highlighted and links were provided to their websites. This clearly enhances a candidate’s credibility and influences voter perception.
Additionally, these candidates were given caucus location information well in advance of the caucuses so that they could organize their supporters and direct their ground game accordingly. Even though my campaign formally and informally requested this vital logistical information, we were denied access to it until the day of the caucuses.
Because of the favoritism they received, they also were a magnet for media attention, while other candidates effectively remained invisible. Perhaps I should have made crude and insulting remarks about certain classes of individuals. After all, it worked on the Republican side. But I love and respect our country too much to disgrace it that way. I just wish that those who were in charge of the DNC at the time felt the same way about our democracy.
Then, a few days before the Iowa Caucus, we were informed that the State Party had changed its rules to correspond to the polls; the same polls from which we had been denied access. Only those candidates who were performing at a certain level in those inaccessible polls would have their names placed on the critical sign-in sheets at the caucuses. This again is a not-so-subtle way to influence credibility.
The party’s solution was to “generously” list a choice as “Other,” which grouped my candidacy with that of about 144 other democratic candidates who had made no investment in time or money to participate in the Iowa Caucus. My supporters were also not allowed to post signs even though the rooms were adorned with Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley posters. They also were denied areas in which to form their preference groups, which virtually eliminated any ability to survive the first round of the caucuses.
These practices were continued in virtually every state and territory caucus that took place thereafter with the exception of those in Alaska, Utah and American Samoa. Election integrity was of little concern to the DNC. Electing their anointed candidate was clearly “Job #1.”
After the debacle in Iowa, I moved on to the first primary state: New Hampshire. That is where I first witness election fraud.