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Friday, June 10, 2016

Greg Palast and the Busters kick the facts in the teeth

I'm writing this because whenever two groups have such diametrically opposed views of what actually happened in a situation, I worry that my view might be the deluded one. Well deluded or not, my Buster friends are going to argue I'm the deluded one. So I'm following up my article on Bernie's 'Bernie corollary to Hanlon's Razor' with more evidence that that is what is going on. I was expecting things to calm down, that Bernie would admit defeat and support the common candidate. But instead I'm seeing more evidence that folks see "fraud" and "rigging" in the election rather than the reality. Some folks like "The Justice Gazette" are so Nutzoid it's obvious. [Just read this [Justice Gazette] carefully and look up who NGP Van is and remember that what they are saying is based on anecdotes contradicted by other witnesses]. Sometimes you can sense the unhinged schizophrenia simply in the font someone uses. But people I otherwise trust are playing the same game!

But normally Greg Palast is my main man! Not this time!

Alleging that California Stole Votes For Bernie

Greg Palast is the main source for the attack on the integrity of the California election on June 7th he wrote:

"It's not some grand conspiracy, but it's grand theft nonetheless. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ voters will lose their ballots, their rights, by the tens of thousands." [Palast]

At least those who show up to vote.

"The steal is baked into the way California handles No Party Preference –"NPP" voters –what we know as "independents." [Palast]

Of course the reason that voting Independent is not easy is that when California tried to make voting easy by making the elections "open primaries" the state supreme court shot them down.

"Proposition 198 forces political parties to associate with—to have their nominees, and hence their positions, determined by—those who, at best, have refused to affiliate with the party, and, at worst, have expressly affiliated with a rival," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority. "A single election in which the party nominee is selected by non-party members could be enough to destroy the party."
see: Wikipedia: California_Democratic_Party_v._Jones

I know I'm in trouble when I agree with the late unlamented Scalia on something. Maybe I'm getting more conservative as I get older. Or maybe he was just right about this.

NPPs and the Democratic Party

So the "No Party Preference" designation was designed to accommodate the folks who wanted "open primaries" without facing Scalia again. Going back to that Greg Palast article he notes:

"There are a mind-blowing 4.2 million voters in California registered NPP – and they share a love for sunshine and Bernie Sanders. According to the reliable Golden State poll, among NPP voters, Sen. Sanders whoops Sec. Hillary Clinton by a stunning 40 percentage points." [Palast]
"However On the other team, registered Democrats prefer Clinton by a YUGE 30 points. NPP's can vote in the Democratic primary, so, the California primary comes down to a fight between D's and NPP's." [Palast]

To vote as an NPP as a democrat requires asking for a Democratic Ballot. To vote as a Democrat one gets the ballot automatically when one shows up (or gets one to mail in). So how many registered Democrats are there in California?

Well to get that number you have to go to the right page:
There are 8,029,130 democrats registered on May 23 2016 (which also was the final day to register) and 4,177,648 NPPs. Total both (which would be inaccurate as NPPs also are GOP and libertarian) and you get about 12 million potential democrat votes.

But 2,021,959 people voted for Hillary (As of June 10, 2016; I'm willing to wait til they are done counting before worrying too much).

and only 1,564,902 voted for Bernie. There are approximately 2 million mail in votes still being counted and nearly 100,000 or so provisionalt votes (which may or may not count), Which means approximate 50% of the registered voters turned out to actually vote. It would have been wonderful, awesome -- and unusual -- if all those people had voted. But Palast Concedes that Hillary dominates the 8 Million Registered democrats. So if 100% of both demographics had turned out the statistics would have been the same.

I could do the math using my handy dandy calculator rounding because this is a guestimate and I'm not sure how to translate points to voting numbers so I'm making a guess that 40 points equals 20 percentage points over 50% and I'm using a more conservative percentage for Hillary out of a concern I might be getting that calculation wrong.

4 M x .70 (70%) = 2.4 Million Bern NPPs and 1.6 M Hill
8 M x .60 (60%) = 4.8M Hillary and 3.2M Bernie votes.

So if everyone showed up Hill gets 6.4M and Bernie gets 5.6 M, she still wins because there are so many more registered voters. But of course the prognosticators were sure that more Bernie would show up. And Greg Palast called the difficulty of voting as a NPP "fraud." So percentage wise the actual vote pretty much tracks the popular estimates. Hillary had a lot more REGISTERED Democrats and way too many NPPs feel entitled to vote in democratic primaries even though they hate democrats. But if they all voted in the election it might make a difference for Bernie.

The Reality, Again, is Hanlon's Razor

But of course the real problem is that our system is antiquated and byzantine. And palast admits this near the end of his rant:

"The Sanders campaign was spending time talking policy at giant rallies instead of educating their voters on how to vote. In the rat maze called the American voting system, the painfully amateur Sanders campaign never provided a vote-guiding map."[Palast]

But the Bern Corollary would rather lay the blame on malevolence. And of course various analysts determined that only about 10% of the millennial vote showed up. So I guess they attended the rallies, listened to the kewl music, felt the bern, and then slept it off on Tuesday.

PS, Still counting

California is still counting votes. So rather than going by the news media the best way to keep track of what is happening is to go this California webpage:

And Politifact gives the Bernie Big Lie Folks a "Pants on Fire" for claiming that Bernie actually won in California:

Justice Gazette
Greg Palast:
California Statistics
And they are still counting votes:

Related Posts and Further Reading:

The Trouble with Bernie Sanders Part II Hanlon's Razor


  1. I was browsing through Greg's blog and I found a whole series of inflammatory articles. Obviously he decided to be whole hog for Bernie months ago. The thing is, his 'evidence' mostly points to dysfunction, archaic systems and the usual bureaucracy and SNAFU; not malfeasance. So he knows better but is fanning the flames of the "bern" anyway. The thing is if he were being accurate, maybe we could fix the real problems.

  2. Palast has been a purist for some time now. I pay no mind to his or Chomsky's opinions of the democratic party these days.