After watching Iowa devolve into chaos like a car crash in slow motion, I regret to inform you that California will be stolen from Bernie Sanders.

It’s happening now, and anyone with a vague understanding of what took place in 2016 should know how the grand theft will go down. But the good news is there’s still a chance to have a legitimate vote in the land of sunshine and broken dreams, which is why the Democratic National Committee probably doesn’t want you to read this column. So if DNC Chair Tom Perez comes around and dumps hot tea in your lap in the next few minutes, you’ll know why. (He has a lot of free time.)

California is one of the biggest prizes, with 495 delegates up for grabs. And it’s even more important this year because its primaries have been moved up to Super Tuesday, March 3. Right now, Bernie Sanders, aka  “Old Man Rational,” has jumped to the top of the California polls. So if you were the ruling elite of California and you wanted to rig your primary against people like Bernie Sanders, what would you do (Short of breaking the legs of anyone who gives change to a homeless man)?

Well, I guess one thing would be to make it really hard for a person to vote if he isn’t a full-on bread-and-butter Joe Biden-loving Democrat who owns a T-shirt featuring Barack Obama riding on a dinosaur. Candidates like Bernie attract a lot of voters who are outside the two corrupt Wall Street parties, i.e. independents. And independents are no small group. In fact 45% of Americans consider themselves Independents, while only 27% call themselves Democrats and 27% Republicans.

So if you’re an independent in California, when you registered to vote, some of you probably checked the box that said “American Independent Party.” There’s only one problem: The American Independent Party is a borderline neo-Nazi group. It’s the name of a party that opposes gay marriage, hates immigrants and apparently hates women, because the last line of its manifesto (of course it has a manifesto) actually states, “In consequence whereof, we call upon all men who value their God-given liberty to join us in pursuit of these political convictions!” (Emphasis added … but you could feel it.)

Can I also add that I strongly believe one can’t just follow racist, sexist crap with the antiquated phrase “in consequence whereof” and think that makes it OK? Rarely do you hear a story like, “The other day someone said to me, ‘In consequence whereof, I consider you a bucket of dicks.” And I responded, ‘Why thank you, my good man. Henceforth and forsooth, go screw yourself.’”

So, do you think a lot of independents in California accidentally sign up for the bigotry party? Yes they do. “A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that a majority of [the American Independent Party’s] members have registered with the party in error. Nearly three out of four people did not realize they had joined the party. …”

Therefore, Californians should be forewarned that if they want to vote for someone outside the centrists — say, Bernie Sanders — they need to change their party affiliation to either Democrat or No Party Preference. But it gets even worse.

In order to stop the “No Party Preference” people from voting, the state (read: the corporate Democratic machine) does not give them a ballot with the presidential choices on it … which is RIDICULOUS! Do they honestly think millions of people skipped work to stand in line at a polling place playing Pokemon on their phones for three hours in order to vote for the City Council’s assistant treasurer?! No! They showed up to tell Joe Biden to check into a retirement home. And there is indeed a way they can vote in the presidential primary, but it’s complicated.

To sum up — millions of California independents are accidentally signed up for a racist, homophobic party. Millions more are handed a ballot without presidential candidates. In consequence whereof — millions of people will not get to cast a vote in the primary. But, as investigative journalist Greg Palast has revealed, it gets even worse! He wrote, “… if an NPP voter asks the poll worker, ‘How do I get to vote in the Democratic party primary?’ the poll workers are instructed to say that, ‘NPP voters can’t get Democratic ballots.’”

The poll workers are not lying … kinda. NPP voters can’t get Democratic ballots, but they can get Democratic crossover ballots, which do include the presidential race. So as Palast explains, “…if you don’t say the magic words, ‘I want a Democratic crossover ballot,’ you are automatically given a ballot without the presidential race.”

You have to say the goddamn golden phrase to get to vote?! Poll workers are nearly instructed to lie to Independents unless the voter has the passcode. It is bananas that it’s this hard to obtain the correct ballot in California! (I’ve had an easier time procuring meth in a Mormon household.)

Because of these intentional hurdles designed to stop Independents from voting, millions of Californians will be handed something called a “provisional ballot.”

Let’s see, how do I explain a provisional ballot? You know when a little toddler has a ball and they go to throw it, and they cock their arm back and then the ball rolls out of their hand behind them, and they end up throwing nothing but air? But they think they threw the ball, so you can see them watching for where the ball is going to land? That’s a provisional ballot. It’s a lot of buildup, but you didn’t do shit. Because no one will ever count it.

In truth, a certain percentage of provisional ballots are indeed counted, but by the time they are, it’s too late. The results have been reported, and the provisional ballots are really just an afterthought. For this reason, Palast calls them “placebo ballots” — they’re designed to make you think you voted. So don’t accept a provisional ballot. Demand your right to vote in the presidential primary. Demand a crossover ballot.

Election integrity activists in California also recommend people vote early, which can be done right now, in person, at your county Department of Elections. That way you’ll have plenty of time to deal with what they call in the election integrity biz — fuckery.

Ironically, our government fights to make sure as few people as possible vote in our elections. Since the mainstream media has been captured by corporate America, only alternative media now reveals how the wealthy and the powerful game the systems.

So tell your sun-bleached Cali friends to demand a real ballot with the presidential candidates on it. I’m not going tell you or them who to vote for, but in consequence whereof the American Independent (Homophobe) Party is fighting for your rights, such as the right to speak like it’s the mid-1800s. (As long as you’re a white male landowner of military age. Immigrants and women need not apply.)

Feature photo | A supporter holds up a sign for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a rally in Venice, Calif., Dec. 21, 2019. Kelvin Kuo | AP

If you think this column is important, please share it. Lee Camp’s new book, “Bullet Points & Punch Lines,” is available at LeeCampBook.com.

This column is based on a monologue Lee Camp wrote and performed on his TV show, “Redacted Tonight.”

This article was published with special permission from the author. It originally appeared at Truthdig.

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