I would bet long odds that Harry Reid actually lost.

That is: granted for a moment God’s omniscient view, I would bet that we would find that, of all the people who were qualified under the law to vote and actually turned in a vote — either either absentee, early, or at the actual polls — more voted for Sharron Angle than for Harry Reid.

Admittedly, my perspective on politics is distorted by being mostly familiar with the local version. Here in Texas, the difficult part of politics is staying cynical enough. Visits made to the polling place by real, live, qualified voters aren’t totally irrelevant, but they’re only one element of the system. Just as important (if not more so) is J. Stalin’s view of the matter: It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes — to which must be added, who has custody of the ballot boxes or equivalent, and who has charge of printing and distributing the ballot forms. In the modern day, that also includes who writes the software for the electronic voting machines, and who has charge of (and access to) the data. A hard disk with election returns for an entire State on it fits easily in a pocket, and is much easier to transport than a bulky box full of slips of paper.

It is good to see Republican and tea-party-promoted candidates get elected to lower level offices like State legislatures, because that gets them closer to the counting process — but it is vital that the tea parties (especially) start infiltrating election commissions and the tribe of volunteers who actually run polling places and monitor the process. An end to machine politics isn’t in the cards, but if machines can be weakened and isolated the results will be better, and tea party or classical liberal candidates have no chance whatever so long as the machines of either party have charge of collecting, collating, and counting the votes.

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