Liberals' true aim: To win at all costs

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- Hanging chads or no, the show must go on. Or so an 11-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously on the California recall election.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and other liberal Democratic front groups must be gnashing their teeth. They hoped to derail the election and save Gov. Gray Davis' job by arguing that minority voters would be disenfranchised because some areas of the state use punch-card voting systems similar to those used in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. But the 9th Circuit en banc panel didn't buy the argument, thereby overturning an earlier ruling by three of their colleagues.


The point of the ACLU's exercise wasn't merely to try to stop the recall in California. With the pro-recall vote slipping by the day -- now down to 53 percent from 58 percent in the last statewide poll -- and Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the lead to succeed Mr. Davis, liberals may not have much to worry about from the results of the election itself. But their goal is much more ambitious.

Liberals want to convince voters that the only reason elections don't always go their way is that nefarious forces -- read: conservatives -- keep likely liberal voters from voting in the first place or having their votes properly counted once they cast them. That's why liberals keep harping on the "stolen" presidential election in 2000.


To hear liberals talk about it, you'd never know that every single recount of the votes in Florida determined George W. Bush to have won the state's 25 electoral votes and, therefore, the presidency. And that includes a manual recount of votes in largely Democratic counties by a consortium of news organizations, including The New York Times, CNN, The Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

As The New York Times reported Nov. 21, 2001: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward." But the liberals still invoke their "stolen election" complaint at every turn, just as they do their "disenfranchised voters" mantra.

If it's not punch-card voting machines or "butterfly ballots" they're complaining about, it's restrictive voter registration laws. The NAACP, for example, wants to "re-enfranchise" 4 million felons who have lost the right to vote because of their crimes. The group has made this one of its top legislative priorities in recent years.

Some liberals would even like to extend voting privileges to noncitizens. In the 1980s, the ACLU sued the U.S. attorney in San Francisco because he matched voting records against lists of legal immigrants who were not yet citizens. The ACLU argued that trying to determine whether noncitizens were voting would serve a "chilling effect" on Mexican-American voting overall.

What the ACLU was really worried about was that the process actually uncovered thousands of noncitizens who had nonetheless voted in federal elections. In 1996, a similar investigation unearthed hundreds of noncitizens, including illegal aliens, who had voted in California's 46th Congressional District. The noncitizens were registered thanks to the efforts of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, a Latino voter registration group. Yet when conservatives complain about such blatantly illegal tactics, liberals scream "racism."

Liberals claim to want to count every vote and have every vote count. But what they really want is to win at all costs, even if it means passing out absentee ballots to incapacitated nursing home residents, or giving away free cigarettes to vagrants if they'll follow campaign workers to the polls and pull the Democrat lever (as Milwaukee TV station WISN uncovered the Gore campaign doing in Wisconsin in the 2000 election).

If the liberals lose in California on Oct. 7, expect yet another round of whining and claims that the democratic process has gone amiss. What they really mean is that Democratic Party didn't win, despite all their tricks.

Linda Chavez's syndicated column appears Thursdays in The Sun.