"if i stole it" by el gato malo
a thought experiment on stealing not just elections, but whole societies
stealing not just an election, but the society that underpins it is a tradition as old as democracy. many civilizations at many times have done it many different ways: some by stealth, some by blatant grabs, and many with the idea that if their treason doth prosper, none shall dare name it treason.
but to really do a good job of it, you have to start planning ahead and laying groundwork in advance.
of course, you need to be sure that exactly who is voting, for whom, and how many times is basically impossible to determine by moving to dodgy closed source voting methods and mail in ballots that can be added at will, ballot stuffed, and generally mishandled. this is just 101 stuff.
it’s also important to not only harp on endlessly about “the importance of elections” but also to establish yourself as the “side of probity” and your opponents as “election thieves, liars, and enemies of democracy.” this is all in the fine tradition of goebbels (accuse the enemy of that which you are guilty) and a bit pedestrian and par for the course here.
it’s also a bit small ball in its thinking. to really steal an election, you need to steal not just the vote but the hearts and minds. unless you plan to rule with the barrel of a gun where you can stand next to a rigged count of “95% vote in dear leader for life again!” and just smile menacingly, you need pretext.
and here’s where you can gain some real ground because what you need is not only a justification to shift blame, but a populace pre-primed to expect the election to be a clownshow and for the “bad guys” to deny its validity. hammer this home with strident repetition until even the act of asking questions makes the asker look like they seek to subvert democracy.
for reasons we’ll get to, implausible actually works better
tell them, for example, that an election will take days to count and set the bar super low.
then use media to generate an expectation that your opponent winning is “a mirage” and that people should expect to see the lead flip.
piles of mail in ballots and other such unaccountable and easy to rig means of counting (mentioned above) really come in handy here because here’s where it gets sophisticated:
first off, trump up some serious election interference/faux supervision from your own partisans. in the US, this is great because it’s all state level and by law, the feds have no right to be there. so you get let in my your own team, barred by the other, and can make hay about how any red county cannot be trusted because they did not allow imperial stormtroopers onsite to oversee the alderan elections. LIKE THIS
this “let me intimidate/harass/impede/rig you or get called a cheater” then pays big dividends because on election day, not only do you cheat, but you cheat so blatantly and in exactly the places and manner in which is is expected that you’d have to be absolutely blind or wildly partisan to miss it.
and who doesn’t appreciate a gambit like “can’t count it here, so uh, put it in this box and we’ll, uh, yeah, take it somewhere else and maybe count it and rest assured none will go missing or have extra stuff added. cuz, trust me!”?
the classics never go out of style.
<new jersey has entered the chat>
be sure to hit the high visibility ones and focus on abstruse technicalities and drag court after court into the fray.
just keep doing it until you not only impact voting but force response. you can claim votes were or were not invalid and you can create such huge disparities by voting type and location that no one trusts anything.
remember: your goal here is not just to steal big parts of an election, but to discredit the results of the parts you cannot affect all while jamming the idea that “the results must be accepted” over and over while making it abundantly clear that no sane person should accept these results.
you want endless, obvious questions and no good answers.
you want blatant thumbs on scales, utter lack of accountability, implausible outcomes that the audience is forced to watch forensically as they play out in all their conspicuous glory.
and then you want to stand there on visible mountain of lies and claim “this was free and fair and anyone who contests it is the enemy of democracy and of america.”
this is the part many rookies screw up.
they try not to get caught.
don’t. you WANT to get caught. you need it for the plan to work.
this is because, most importantly of all (and this is the part your opponents will miss):
you want to place them in an impossible fork.
you’ve set them up. you’ve told the world they will deny the election. and now you need to goad them into proving you right and making you look credible. this is a king/queen fork with the knight.
either they accept the election, knuckle under, become submissive, and let you run off with it
they stand up, cry foul, validate you, and if and when they try to actually do anything about it, you get the reichstag fire you need to declare actual war on them and start taking rights by fiat and arresting people in the fine tradition of running a coup while calling it “protecting the will of the people.”
it’s a fine setup and a tricky one to play against.
it’s too big, too pervasive, and too endless to really go toe to toe with calling out lies and tricks like some hyperkinetic penn and teller. few can really pay attention like that and assimilate it. it exhausts opposition and makes them look crazy and you ever more reasonable and prescient.
“jeez, i guess they were right, these election deniers really were nutso all along…”
the only reliable way to beat it is to deny its whole premise and point not at each penalty flag and foot fault, but at the playbook as a whole so that it can be seen, refuted, and opposed as a piece instead of piecemeal.
but hopefully no one does that to you.
and posts it on the internet.
because then this gets a lot harder…