The election results aren’t even 24 hours old and already one losing candidate’s supporters are claiming that her opponent cheated in the race. Republican and Tea Party Senate hopeful Sharron Angle was the predicted winner by a narrow margin in recent major polls up to Election Day. Instead, with a few percentage points of votes still outstanding, Sharron Angle lost in the election against incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. According to Toni Fitzgerald of FameCrawler, Angle supporters are now claiming Reid somehow cheated.
Yeah, because polls are never wrong? This was no isolated incident in a contentious election season that many are glad is finally over.
Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, was accused by her Republican opponent of cheating during one of the final debates. In this case, the allegation proved to be correct, although whether it was intentional or not is up in the air. Linda Feldmann, of the Christian Science Monitor, writes of the incident that Sink was handed a cell phone during a commercial break that had a text message from a campaign aide, which is against the rules of the debate. While perhaps a minor mistake on Sink’s part, it may have played a role in her defeat last night to Republican opponent Rick Scott.
While not levied at a particular candidate, Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the 2010 election suggesting that Democrats “have a plan to cheat” according to a clip from his show, posted on mediamatters. This comment was based on Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod’s comments telling people to “stay up for the full night.” Was Axelrod hinting that Democrats did indeed have something up their sleeves? Well, if it meant losing 60+ seats in the House and narrowly avoiding losing the Senate, I’d say they need a better game plan next time.
And who can forget Alvin Greene, the Democratic nominee for Jim DeMint’s United States Senate seat for South Carolina. This time, it was Democrats accusing Republicans of cheating by suggesting that Republicans nefariously paid his registration fee to compete in the primary election. Greene handily won the Democratic nomination, despite being unknown to the vast majority of people who voted for him, for what many, including political science researcher John Sides claims in his popular political science blog, The Monkey Cage, is the simple fact that his name was first on the Democratic Primary ballot. He brought increasing consternation to the Democratic Party when, the day after his Primary win, he was hit by criminal charges for allegedly showing pornographic images to a university student.
Some candidates and members of political parties will stop at nothing to win. Plenty more examples of shady tactics, underhanded dealings, and outright cheating can be found from this election and ones previous. As always, there are sour grapes at the end of an election. The question is, are we going to cry about it and reward those who engage in dirty pool? Or are we going to work toward more transparent elections and reward honesty?
Feldmann, Linda. (November 2, 2010). Top 10 Mistakes of Election 2010. The Christian Science Monitor.
Fitzgerald, Toni. (November 3, 2010). Steal Nevada: Did Harry Reid Cheat to Beat Sharron Angle? FameCrawler.
Mediamatters. (2010). Limbaugh Claims Axelrod Election Predictions Mean Democrats “Have a Plan to Cheat”.
Sides, John. (2010). Did Alvin Greene Win Because of Ballot Order? Because of Race?. The Monkey Cage.