A profile of Secretary of State John Kerry published Sunday in The New Yorker reveals that, 11 years after his election loss to George W. Bush in 2004, Kerry still believes he was robbed via systematic fraud.
The article itself, written by David Remnick, focuses mostly on Kerry’s efforts to achieve peace and democracy in the Middle East, but it also dwells extensively on his presidential defeat more than a decade ago.
“In 2004, when Kerry lost the Presidential race to George W. Bush, who is widely considered the worst President of the modern era, he refused to challenge the results, despite his suspicion that in certain states, particularly Ohio, where the Electoral College count hinged, proxies for Bush had rigged many voting machines,” Remnick writes.
Mike Barnicle, a former Boston Globe columnist and Kerry friend, adds fuel to the narrative.
“For a long period, after 2004, every time he even half fell asleep all he saw was voting machines in the state of Ohio,” Barnicle says in the article.
Kerry apparently doesn’t just believe the 2004 election was a sham; Remnick also describes him using the supposedly stolen election as a tool for diplomacy. He describes the Afghan election of 2014, where Ashraf Ghani defeated Abdullah Abdullah in a contest marked by significant fraud allegations. Remnick says Kerry called up Abdullah and had to urge him to swallow his anger, concede the race and agree to collaborate with Ghani’s government.
After flattering Abdullah for his strength and importance in the country, Kerry said, “I will share with you a very personal experience: When I ran for President of the United States, in 2004, against George Bush, in the end, on Election Day, we had problems in the state of Ohio on how the votes were taking place. I even went to court in America to keep polling places open to make sure my people could vote. I knew that even in my country, the United States, where we had hundreds of years of practicing democracy, we still had problems carrying out that election. The next afternoon, I had a meeting with my people, and I told them that I did not think it appropriate of me to take the country through three or four months of not knowing who the President was. So that afternoon in Boston I conceded to the President and talked about the need to bring the country together. . . . One of the main lessons from this is there is a future. There is a tomorrow.”
Several days later, Abdullah Abdullah conceded and joined the Afghan government.
Theories that the Bush administration rigged the 2004 election are widespread on the Internet, with Robert Kennedy Jr. among the most notable figures to promote this view. Elements of the conspiracy include purging Democratic voters from the rolls, engineering long lines at Democratic precincts, and even deliberately rigging computerized vote machines to take votes from Kerry and give them to Bush. Theories mostly focus on the state of Ohio, which would have won Kerry the presidency had he cobbled together 120,000 additional votes.
But the supposed evidence of Bush’s theft is full of holes, and rigorous investigations of the evidence have found no evidence of systematic fraud, relegating these theories firmly in the realm of the conspiratorial. Evidently, though, it’s a conspiracy the Secretary of State at least partially buys into.
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