November 22nd 2014


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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL How Obama has eroded America's global influence

CANBERRA OBSERVED China FTA: more about diplomacy than trade

FAMILY POLICY Canada introduces income-splitting for families

VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION Freedoms under threat if Labor wins

MARRIAGE Historic U.S. court ruling upholds man-woman marriage

UNITED STATES U.S. midterm elections change American political landscape

UNITED STATES Democrats threatened voters at midterm elections

EUROPE Why thousands of Jewish citizens are leaving France

CLIMATE CHANGE Why is Coalition spending billions to cut CO2 emissions?

SOCIETY From farmers' markets to money markets

SOCIETY Slavery and trafficking are still big business

LETTERS

CINEMA Do not go gentle into that good night

BOOK REVIEW Contemporary reporting of World War II

BOOK REVIEW The criminalisation of fathers and parents

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UNITED STATES
Democrats threatened voters at midterm elections


by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, November 22, 2014

After the innumerable scandals of the Obama administration, from Benghazi to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to Obama’s series of foreign relations disasters, one would hardly think there was room for yet another from the Democrat Party, now largely hijacked by the far left. 

However, another has surfaced, and it is one of the nastiest yet, showing how far this major party has departed from American political traditions and values. The story was broken by the New York Post (October 30, 2014). 

The Democrat Party sent out a million letters to people living in New York, threatening them if they did not vote in the recent New York gubernatorial election (voting in American elections is not compulsory).

As well as being nasty and probably illegal, the threatening letter seems incredibly stupid and almost certainly counter-productive. If anyone threatened me at an election, I would make a point of getting up early to vote against them.

My first thought, indeed, was that this was a disinformation exercise by the Republicans. 

However, Democrat spokespeople have not only admitted to the letters but defended them, even though they have disgusted some in their own party.

The New York State Democratic Committee was responsible for these bullying and intimidating letters, which warned that it could easily find who failed to cast a ballot on November 4.

“Who you vote for is your secret. But whether or not you vote is public record,” the letter said. 

“We will be reviewing voting records … to determine whether you joined your neighbours who voted in 2014.”

It ends with a line better suited, the New York Post says, to a mob movie than a major political party: “If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not.”

The letter and accompanying postcard were criticised even by party members, with one Democratic consultant actually having the nous to say it was the wrong way to inspire votes.

“It’s a threatening letter. It’s a scare piece that is unnecessary and inappropriate,” the insider said.

Brooklyn and Manhattan residents who received the letter were reported to be furious, calling it an attempt to browbeat them into showing up at the polls.

“I’m outraged. Whether I vote or not is none of your business!” said a Manhattan voter, who complained to a local Democratic leader.

“The letter is ludicrous and menacing,” said the voter, who, not surprisingly, requested anonymity.

This woman also received a “report card” of her voting record, pointing out that she had failed to vote in two of the last four elections.

The Post says that the state’s Democrat committee, chaired by a former State Governor, David Paterson, instead of apologising for the tactic, defended it, calling it standard practice throughout the country (it isn’t). 

“This flier is part of the nationwide Democratic response to traditional Republican voter-suppression efforts, because Democrats believe our democracy works better when more people vote, not less,” said Peter Kauffmann, a committee spokesman. 

These “voter-suppression efforts” are not elaborated on, but possibly refer to the concerns voiced by many Republican politicians over illegal aliens voting, and to Republicans advocating rolls being “cleansed” to eliminate such practices as voting by the dead. 

As in Australia, corruption of the rolls is a major problem in many areas (but at least Australian voters can hardly be swayed by threats of this kind, which are equally alien to Australian and American political culture, values and ideals). 

The Post quotes Kaufmann as saying. “The difference between Democrats and Republicans is they don’t want people to vote and we want everyone to vote.”

The paper says Paterson declined to comment.

The letter has a phone number on it that goes to Election Protection, a non-partisan voting organisation.

The organisation said it had received a “significant” number of calls about the letter.

Such attempts to shame people to vote — what politicos call “social pressure” or peer pressure — has become more frequent and was used by the Obama campaign in 2012, sources said.

A Yale University study in 2008 found that voter participation increased substantially after lazy voters received letters telling them their spotty voting history was a public record that would be scrutinised.

The notice included a “vote report card” rating New Yorkers’ voting records as “excellent,” “good”, “fair” or “incomplete”.

“Many organisations monitor turnout in your neighbourhood and are disappointed by the inconsistent voting of many of your neighbours,” it said.

The letter came a week before heavily favoured Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo faced election against Republican Rob Astorino (Cuomo subsequently won).

Democrat Party sources, the paper said, insisted that Cuomo was not behind the threatening letters. But Astorino scoffed, “Andrew Cuomo’s thuggish tactics just crossed the line into creepy territory.… Threatening and intimidating people is not how honourable elected leaders operate.”

Despite Democrat efforts to defend the indefensible, this scandal is further proof, after all the Obama administration’s previous scandals and disasters, that since its hijacking by the left the Democrat party, the party of Truman and Kennedy, is unfit to govern the world’s greatest democracy.

Hal G.P. Colebatch, PhD, is a Perth author and lawyer. His most recent book, Fragile Flame: The Uniqueness and Vulnerability of Scientific and Technological Civilization, is available from News Weekly Books. 

 


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