SocraticGadfly: Did Hillary rig the Arizona Democratic primary? I highly doubt it

March 24, 2016

Did Hillary rig the Arizona Democratic primary? I highly doubt it

But, that's the latest meme on certain liberal glorified blog sites, most of which list 4-5 "fast facts" alleging voter suppression in some way, shape or form.

Let's tackle a few of these.

First, closed primaries aren't "shenanigans" and Arizona's primaries have been closed in previous elections. We can call that a problem with the two-party system or something, but ... shenanigans it's not. And, Arizona's primaries have been closed primaries since at least 2004.

Second, turnout was actually lower than in 2008. Comparing 2016 to 2012, with an uncontested Democratic race and Mitt Romney fairly in control on the GOP side by this point is fallacious.

I agree that with a contested Democratic primary, there should have been more polling places. That said, that problem appears to have been confined mainly to Maricopa County.

Third, "calling" the race with only 1 percent? Well, Michigan was a spanner in the spokes, to use the British word, but I assume the media had reasonable exit polling numbers to work with, especially after that. (Also, Clinton won Arizona in 2008, it should be noted.)

Third, on registration issues? Given that such things are in charge of the county recorder, and they're elected officials, and Arizona is strongly Republican (certainly in Maricopa County), this would require the GOP to be in cahoots with Arizona's state-level Democrats. Yes, I know we're getting anecdotal evidence of individuals. But, that doesn't prove any fraud, first, and second, even if there were fraud, I simply refuse to believe that GOP officials would be in cahoots on this.

County officials and the secretary of state have both suggested turning primary elections back over to the parties. That's parties' rights in general, and in many states, how it's done.

Of course, that would then lead the conspiracy-minded to even higher dudgeon.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned electronic voting machines flipping votes yet, because we know that's how John McCain, with the help of GOP-backing voting machine manufacturers, defeated Barack Obama in 2008.

As for the first of those linked glorified liberal blog sites. Well, "Russia-Insider," like "Russia Today," can of course do a great job of spinning every voting mishap in the US, which in Russia ...

As for R-I's claims that Clinton "stole" Massachusetts? Well, Bill probably should have gotten more than just a light slap on the hand. However, the Massachusetts establishment was behind Hillary, and no, Bill Clinton did not stop thousands from voting. Oh, and for Sandernistas wanting Elizabeth Warren to endorse him? Erm, before the Massachusetts primary would have been the time for that! So, no, Sanders ultimately lost Massachusetts and never gained Warren in the first place.

As for the issue of "inactive voters"? In 2012, Fox estimated there were 20 million nationwide. In some cases, it may be the problem of state voting officials. However, in other cases, it may well be the non-voter's fault. And, no, I wouldn't trust a Sanders for President Reddit thread to have full details about problematic registrations in New York State.

Were there irregularities? Yes. Do at least some of the irregularities reflect larger problems with the American political system? Yes.

That doesn't mean we had a rigged election.

Does Twitter tweak algorithms on things like #WhichHillary? Possible, I don't know, but if so, did it specifically target that hashtag? I doubt it. Oh, and private businesses don't "censor." Only governments censor.

I do think this all shows Richard Hofstadter right: the paranoid style remains alive and well in American politics. Actually, this is probably some subset of American exceptionalism.


paintedjaguar said...

Here's an interesting take on what is going on with the Arizona results (and in other primaries):

key paragraphs:

"As of the writing of this essay (2:45 AM ET), Sanders was leading Clinton in Election Day voting in Arizona 50.2% to 49.8%, with just under 75,000 votes (about 17.3% of all Election Day votes) counted."


"So imagine, for a moment, that early votes were reported to the media last rather than first. Which, of course, they quite easily could be, given that they’re less — rather than more — reflective of the actual state of opinion on Election Day."

Gadfly said...

Now that, along with your "no-call" for Canadian elections, is a big point. We have early voting here in Texas, and that happens here, too. I mean I do that, at my "community" newspapers. We're not fancy enough for exit polls, but we report the early voting numbers as soon as we get them.

Flip side is that, on "day of" voting in person, some precincts are going to tilt one way and some another. So, unless you report NOTHING until you report EVERYTHING, "the media" is going to go what what comes out, plus in big contexts, its exit polls.

paintedjaguar said...

The other interesting idea in that piece was this part:

"early voting occurs in each state before voters have developed a sufficient level of familiarity and comfort with Sanders to vote for him.

But on Election Day — among voters who’ve been present and attentive for each candidate’s commercials, local news coverage, and live events — Sanders tends to tie or beat Clinton.

In fact, that’s the real reason Sanders does well in caucuses.

It’s not because caucuses “require a real time investment,” as the media likes to euphemistically say, but because caucuses require that you vote on Election Day rather than well before it."

This has implications for the whole idea of vote-by-mail, too.