Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Follow-up on Mexico's "election"

[Ed. Welcome, Buzzflash readers. There are a number of related posts here on the Mexico elections.

1. Mexican election results brought to you by ChoicePoint
2. ChoicePoint results in Mexico
3. Follow-up on Mexico's "election"
4. On the ground in Mexico


As has already been discussed here, the ChoicePoint elections in Mexico have exhibited some interesting similarities with those of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. Add now to the reported long lines, shortage of ballots, and all manner of "bungling," which seemed to more affect constituencies supportive of the lefitst Obrador, are reports that exit polls are divergent from the vote count, complete with charges that some 3 million ballots are missing.

One of Obrador's campaign workers, Luis Mandoke, must have been feeling like all those Kerry workers in 2004 when he said,
It was unbelievable. We were wondering, 'What happened to our lead?'
Indeed, what did happen? Well, on Saturday, this was my prediction:
I can safely make a prediction without knowing anything of the candidates' campaigns: Calderón by 2-3%, a result that is within the "margin of error."
Today, the two main corporate television networks, Televisa and TV Azteca, reported that
their exit polls showed the gap between the two candidates was within the margin of error.
Which is really implying that the exit polls are not useful; please, people, pay no attention. However, this is not entirely comforting considering that the magazine Proceso, citing police sources, reported that
senior Interior Ministry officials had persuaded the networks to keep their exit polls off the air.
Remember the television network shenanigans with exit polls in 2004? It is entirely possible, indeed, it seems quite likely that the exit polls would be a source of discomfort for officials involved. Apparently, Mexican government officials and the networks learned from the US exit poll fiasco and were determined to not expose themselves to such embarrassment.

I'm now waiting for the day when exit polling is declared illegal. Exit polls are now simply a source aggravation for the establishment run elections, an establishment that is becoming less and less disposed to acting on the will of the general population.


Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

Elections may be annoying to the minority-corporatocracy-oligopoly but they are useful in shaping the public will behind 'the winners.'

That is, in the current era, most people of education expect a democracy, and elections by majorities is the central ritual of democratic rule.

So, use of Choicepoint to scrub voters off the rolls in advance, combined with widespread failure of election machines in certain districts is part of the new election ritual this century, since a story that unfolds with databases and election night arcana across many towns does not make a soundbyte, enabling sham elections and sham democracies.

It used to be that we should register and vote, but now the message is register and vote massively so that they have to cheat massively. It is not a simple 'go vote' message, one that is likely to further reduce elections to an empty ritual for those who can afford to game the system.

I agree that in this climate that it seems likely to 'ban the exit poll.' More realistically, if they are smart, they'll just attack the exit polls as flawed and anti-privacy, making it more difficult to rally around the pro-exit-poll cause, which is basically the cause of freedom of the press, which the oligarchy has successfully campaigned against by campaigning against the media to the point that a minority probably even approves of or even trusts the press.

2:11 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Yes, enzo, you are exactly correct. In fact, much of what you describe has been the standard operating procedure in the US since 2000. We saw a large effort here on the part of the mainstream to discount exit polls and paint them as an unreliable. My suggestion that exit polls would be made illegal was facetious, really, and the "attack the exit poll" strategy is more subtle and effective.

The use of that tactic not only dismisses any current problem exposed in an election but forces polling companies to make their polls fall in line with the putative results. Some have suggested this would result from an necessary recognition by polling companies that they need to deliver polls that match results because that is how they make their money. If their polling is not "accurate," they'll soon be out of business.

Your suggestion that voters attend elections "massively" has also been made by Mark Crispin Miller, who views the situation in the same way: they would then need to cheat on a scale that would surely expose it. Whenever the results are within a "margin of error," there is now a system in place that will deliver the system's preferred candidate the win.

Thanks for your comment.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Musclemouth said...

Problem: Exit polling invades voter privacy.

Reaction: Stop invading my privacy!

Solution: Exit polls banned.

Effect: More sham democracy.

6:29 PM  

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