Several of my blogging colleagues have noticed the alarmist rhetoric state representative Dan Severson lobbed against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie on Thursday night. Others looked at the flimsiness of his accusations of fraud in the recount.
My attention was captured by his rant about The Gap clothing chain and vote fraud:
We are going to get, we’re going to get accountability back in our system. You know we’ve also got the retailer, the GAP, who sponsored a button that says vote twice. Vote twice. Is that a problem? Should we keep going to the GAP? And people started writing, yeah I think that’s had an impact on their thoughts on what’s funny and what’s not. But the bottom line is that when we as individuals in America, do the research, we pick our candidates and we figure out who we want to vote for and who stands for our principles and we go to the polls and we cast that vote we believe that that vote counts one vote. But you know what if they guy in the booth next to us thinks it’s kind of funny to vote twice and he may be voting two or three times, that dilutes our vote. That disenfranchises the people that are honest. And we need to take that back.
Since there's no Gap near my home, I don't shop there. This was a brand new atrocity to parse.
I a JFGI expert, so it didn't take long to get to the core of Severson's allegations. The National Review wrote about the scandal in Gap Gets Serious About Vote Fraud
... two Gap outlets on Broadway in Manhattan’s East Village also featured a button designed by John Waters, the legendary Baltimore filmmaker behind such hits as Cry Baby and Hairspray. His contribution offered very simple advice: “Vote twice!” it insisted, in red, white, and blue.
As questions arose about the buttons, the Gap explained the collectible:
Gap has a long history of supporting the arts, and we thought it would be interesting (as part of this campaign) to ask 10 renowned artists to create ‘Vote for’ buttons which are being sold in select stores. Almost 19,000 artist buttons were created, of which only 2,000 were the John Waters ‘Vote Twice’ creation. This is less than 12% of the entire collection, which is being sold in 100 out of 1140 Gap stores in the US.
Four days before the election, the chain pulled the tone-deaf item, but not before some accused them of being in league with ACORN to get people to vote twice, not just buy a John Waters' button. Apparently, Dan Severson equally challenged by the notion of camp.
What I have to wonder is how many of those 100 stores selling the buttons were located in Minnesota and what connection--if any--they had to Mark Ritchie. There's no evidence the Baltimore filmmaker ever gave to Ritchie's campaign or any state-level campaign in Minnesota.
As for the Gap itself as an engine of voter fraud in Minnesota in 2008, I'm simply puzzled by Rep. Severson's trying this unfortunate episode in retail to the outcome. After all, I could only find one Minnesota politician in the FEC database to have ever received a contribution from the Gap Inc. Political Action Committee:
VIA COLEMAN FOR SENATE 08
Now if John Waters could just explain Edie the Egg Lady to Dan....
Photo: Divine, a frequent star in early John Waters films.