Monday, October 22, 2012

The Myth of the Myth of Voter Fraud


Do we now have, in Patrick Moran, a real-life "Great McGinty"?  An associate of James O'Keefe has caught Moran, the son of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran (and the Field Director for his father's campaign) on tape allegedly explaining how to cast ballots deceitfully for registered voters. 

Apropos... in this week's New Yorker magazine Jane Mayer poses the question, in her headline no less, "Who Created the Myth of Voter Fraud?"

I dunno... Tammany Hall?  Joseph P. Kennedy and Mayor Richard Daley (circa 1960)?  No, each of those would be a LEGEND, for voter fraud to a legendary degree, rather than a myth.

In any case, theirs is a headline of art in that like a prestidigitator she and The New Yorker direct the reader's attention to the question of "Who" supposedly created this myth, rather than the question of whether the occurrence of voter fraud is in fact a myth.

I will let talking heads debate whether voter fraud happens to a greater or lesser degree than voter suppression, and instead refer you to what may be the greatest movie about politics ever made, The Great McGinty, that tart, cynical film by Preston Sturges.  The film, from 1940, traces the rise of its hero from hobo to governor.  In the scene below, McGinty, having been cajoled into voting under a false name for a $2 fee, impresses the local political boss by voting thirty-seven times in an election the boss's machine is rigging.  The machine paymaster, who has seen it all, protests: "I don't believe a man CAN vote thirty-seven times!"  (Thirty-seven times?  It's a MYTH I suppose.)

The story, and video of Patrick Moran allegedly explaining how to commit voter fraud HERE.

Buy The Great McGinty as part of the Sturges collection, all of which are superb, here.

You can read Jane Mayer's New Yorker article here.

There is an excellent history of New York's legendary Tammany Hall machine inside this book. (More Tammany links will be added.)

Read about the PBS documentary tracing Richard Daley and the Chicago machine's work in the 1960 election here.  (Note to PBS: please re-release that doc!)

For more about Sturges, see his biography here, or read the wonderful, Academy Award-winning script for The Great McGinty in this collection

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