A new collection of essays edited by Mark Crispin Miller called "Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000 - 2008," tells the story better than any single source I've seen yet.

The Supreme Court stopped a recount in Florida in 2000 that would have made Al Gore president. This is not speculation. The recount was later done.

Numerous elections were stolen in 2002, in Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and elsewhere, including Senate, Governor, and House races in Georgia that were practically openly swiped by Diebold's elections unit president flying in at the last minute and altering the election machines. The theft of Don Siegelman's 2002 election as governor of Alabama was almost as transparent. One county reported a set of results from electronic machines that made Siegelman governor, then recalculated and reported a different set of results. The new results were statistically impossible, and the pair of reports strongly suggested exactly how the machines were rigged, first mistakenly and later as intended.

John Kerry and John Edwards won the presidential election in 2004. The evidence of specific fraud in Ohio and elsewhere is overwhelming, but so is the evidence of the exit polls. The unadjusted exit polls show Kerry and Edwards winning. When the results are "adjusted" to conform to the official results, we are asked to believe that Bush and Cheney increased their big city voters from 2.3 million in 2000 to 5.4 million in 2004, a 153 percent increase. While support for Cheney-Bush dropped off in rural areas, small towns, medium sized cities, etc., it skyrocketed in the Democratic strongholds of big cities. Let me be clear: that's the official story of what happened, not the wild conspiracy theory of ordinary people who allow themselves to be influenced by facts, logic, or memory of actual events.

Election fraud was not limited to Ohio or to the presidential race in 2004, but was widespread and systematic. This was also true in 2006. In many cases, Democratic turnout overwhelmed Republican fraud in 2006, and the Democrats picked up 30 new seats. But those victories were by larger margins than people believe. In other races, Republican fraud won out, and was immediately hushed up. Read the evidence in "Loser Take All," and then think about how the current Congress would have been different with 40 or 50 new Democrats rather than 30. The 2006 elections saw the most widespread and sophisticated election fraud our country has yet seen, combined with the greatest public confidence since 2000 that elections were honest and verifiable. That combination does not bode well for 2008.

The views of Senator John McCain are so far from those of most Americans, that Miller rightly refers to the Republicans as a fringe party. But that fringe party is perfecting election theft. The only way to prevent John McCain from being the next president would be to hand him such a whopping defeat that he could not plausibly claim to have honestly won. Sadly, Senator Obama (the Democratic nominee, barring an antidemocratic coup by super delegates) appears intent on avoiding a landslide at all costs and aiming, rather, for a tight victory of 1 or 2 percent. (And Senator Clinton appears intent on losing the election should she be miraculously nominated.)

Obama is sitting on a number of keys to a landslide if he would only pull them out of his pocket and use them. Thus far it appears he will not. The 20 percent of Americans who support the occupation of Iraq are not potential Obama voters. There is nothing to be gained by appealing to them. But when I talk to people in the peace movement, they are increasingly telling me they plan to stay home or vote for a third party candidate such as Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. None of them are potential McCain voters. They are, in fact, what Senator Hillary Clinton disdainfully refers to as "the activist base of the Democratic Party." According to Clinton, these people:

"turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of [my] positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them."

Well, guess what, we don't agree with Obama either. We appreciate the credit Clinton gives us for her defeat. For his own good, Obama needs to understand that he's next, that those of us who actively represent the 80 percent of the nation opposed to the occupation will direct our activism at him until he agrees to a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq. And we will mobilize millions to guarantee a landslide if Obama stands up this week and leads a filibuster of the next $170 billion for the occupation. If he continues to claim that he opposes the occupation while funding it with our grandchildren's borrowed treasure, his criticism of McCain will fall flat. If he continues to speak of reducing the U.S. presence in Iraq to "non-combat troops" while soldiers get their heads blown off deep within the Green Zone, he will lose all credibility. A "non-combat troop" in Iraq is another name for John McCain's fantasy that the Iraqis will someday stop resisting. If Obama votes No on the $170 billion without actively lobbying his colleagues to vote No, he will not be seen as sincere.

Obama was asked last week in Philadelphia about impeachment, indictment, and accountability for Bush and Cheney. He suggested that he MIGHT investigate their crimes AFTER we elect him president, and that he MIGHT prosecute them "if" they were found to have committed crimes. "If"? "If"? That word may become as famous as Dick Cheney's "So?" At every stop Obama makes on this endless campaign, people should hand him copies of John Conyers' "The Constitution in Crisis," a book you can buy in most bookstores which documents a long list of criminal offenses committed by Bush and Cheney. Does Obama disagree with the book's conclusions? Does he have a response to Bush's public confession to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Does he question the two Government Accountability Office studies that have found that in a significant percentage of cases, when Bush has announced his right to violate laws through signing statements, he has proceeded to violate those laws? Does Obama now believe the invasion of Iraq and everything that came with it was possibly legal? Was the February 7, 2002, order from Bush allowing the torture of detainees a legal act? "If?" "If?"

(You can find Conyers' whole book for free here: Just click on "Summary," print out that short section, and send it to Obama.)

If Obama were to quietly allow impeachment hearings on Cheney or Bush to proceed on such subjects as torture and signing statements, he could put McCain on the defensive and force him to defend each crime while promising not to commit it. Impeachment hearings could squeeze out all coverage of nonsense spats and scandals. And if the American public understood that voting for Obama would put Bush and Cheney behind bars, we would see a landslide that could not be denied.

Sadly, it looks like we're going to see a tight race. During this tight race, good citizens will avoid all other political activism and devote their energies to the race. And not just their energies. We will transfer enough wealth to build a real populist movement for justice or a legitimate source of news into the hands of corporate television networks in the form of campaign ads. And, as a reward for our efforts, the election will be stolen.

Unless we interrupt this script and make some changes.