An argument full of holes

Caught red-handed
Caught red-handed

Re. the opposition’s strategy to get out the vote, Quico said:

“The reason people were able to vote with cédulas chimbas, or to do coercive votos asistidos, is that opposition witnesses were forcibly barred from doing their jobs. By guys with guns. Backed by guys in uniforms.

That basic power imbalance is still there. There’s no amount of opposition witness training that can shortcircuit the fact that when a guy puts a kalashnikov to your head and throws you out of the voting center, you’re good and thrown out of the voting center.

So I really have to call bullshit on this idea that we have what it takes to stop a 14-A style fraud from happening again. If what Capriles says happened in April really happened, there’s nothing he or any of us can do to stop it happening again.”

Along those lines comes this ditty from Dr. No:

“Elections in Vzla are like a soup eating contest where one of the guys is willing to drink straight from the bowl while the opponent insists in using the spoon. Different moral-ethics standards will bypass the purpose of the contest. We can’t base our bet on the fact that the bad guy someday will fail to cheat.”

Both comments are fallacious, because they are based on the idea that cheating is an “either or” proposition. Either the government cheats, in which case the whole exercise is pointless, or they don’t cheat, in which case let’s all go out and vote.

The fact is that they do cheat, but our actions can affect the extent to which they can get away with it. This is a point Capriles has made repeatedly. Think he’s wrong? Explain, then, how it is that we don’t have a Governor Elías Jaua, or a Governor Luis Reyes Reyes.

Cheating requires the complicity of many people. An organized opposition presence in certain voting centers can and will act as a deterrent. Furthermore, there are many, many voting centers where there is no cheating at all. Capriles’ argument is that if you’re going to win by ten points, cheating may lower that to six points, or eight if you get your act together, but you still win. But if you don’t go and vote, then the battle is lost before it’s begun.

Yes, guys with guns forcibly remove witnesses. But does that happen everywhere? Can we prevent it? Capriles thinks we can … somewhat. He believes our actions can contain the extent to which cheating affects the outcome. And that little sign that says “Gobernador de Miranda” is proof that he can deliver.

At least that’s how I see it. At any rate, I’ll be able to blog about it come December 8th, as I plan to be in Caracas for the election for the first time in eons.

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