An overwhelming number of Americans likely to vote in the November 2022 election said they were troubled to one degree or another by the problem of “fake news,” a survey released Friday said, likely prompting them to view the information they are getting from traditional media outlets with a degree of distrust.
The poll conducted by the firm Rasmussen Reports found a vast majority of the 1,000 likely voters questioned – 83 percent – called “fake news” was a serious problem. A clear majority – 55 percent – defined it as “very serious.”
“Only 37 percent of voters say they trust the political news they’re getting, while 43 percent say they don’t trust political news,” the polling firm reported, calling it a “slight improvement” since April 2021 when a similar survey found only 33 percent of respondents said they “trusted political news.” That same poll had 54 percent of those participating saying they thought “most reporters, when they write or talk about President Joe Biden, are trying to help the president pass his agenda.”
Distrust of media, the poll showed, is widespread across all demographic categories, with 54 percent of whites, 56 percent of black voters, and 60 percent described as “other minorities” believing “fake news” is a “very serious problem in the media.”
Alarming as those numbers might be, even more shocking – but perhaps not unsurprising – is the number of respondents in agreement with the characterization of the media as “truly the enemy of the people,” an accusation made by former President Donald J. Trump that was widely criticized even by some journalists who are not considered members of the media elite.
The Rasmussen Reports survey found a majority of those surveyed – 58 percent — saying they agreed “at least somewhat” with Trump’s description including 56 percent of whites, 63 percent of blacks, and 60 percent of other minorities considered likely to vote in the next election.
“As might be expected, Republicans are more likely to agree with Trump’s description,” the firm said of its findings while cautioning that “37 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party also at least somewhat agree.”
The poll finds members of the GOP also more likely to identify “fake news” as a problem but, incredibly, 74 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of unaffiliated voters also thought it was “at least a somewhat serious problem in the media.”
The numbers concerning Democrats and independents are surprising considering that, as Rasmussen Reports found, it’s President Joe Biden’s strongest supporters who “have more trust” in the media than those who are not satisfied with the direction his presidency is taking.
“Among voters who strongly approve of Biden’s job performance as president, 72 percent trust the political news they’re getting,” Rasmussen Reports said. “By contrast, among voters who strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance, 74 percent don’t trust the political news they’re getting.”
The effort to knock off U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski – the last legitimately pro-life Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives – was a multi-year project undertaken by some of the progressive movement’s most important and influential organizations. When it finally succeeded, it automatically conferred rising star status on the woman who beat him.
Now that woman – US. Rep. Marie Newman – is midway through her first term in Congress and finds that star tarnished by allegations she promised a job to a potential primary opponent in exchange for him agreeing not to enter the 2020 Illinois Democratic congressional primary.
According to CBS’s Chicago affiliate, WBBM-TV, Iymen Chehade, a Palestinian-American adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, is suing Newman saying she agreed to give him a well-paying job on her staff if he stayed out of the primary “so she could win more easily.”
Newman won the 2020 Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 3rd congressional district seat with 47.3 percent of the vote against three other candidates including Lipinski, in no small part by emphasizing her support for legalized abortion. There’s no way to tell if an additional candidate might have made a difference in either 2018 — when Lipinski eked out a win, 51-49 percent — or in 2020. Given that Newman’s eventual margin of victory over Lipinski was just about 3,000 votes, the possibility exists that the presence of one more office-seeker on the ballot might have produced a different outcome.
Newman, Chehade’s suit alleges, promised him a government job with a $135,000 to $140,000 salary and the twin titles of “foreign policy advisor” and “legislative or district director” if she won. This was memorialized in an employment contract entered into in December 2018 in which he agreed to help her as an “informal advisor” to draft her campaign stance on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“Newman was conscious of the fact that there was a large Palestinian-American community in her district and that her chances of success in the Democratic primary would improve if she had significant support within that community,” the suit he filed against Newman charges. Through a spokesman, Newman denied what Chehade claims in his suit.
“Mr. Chehade was never and has never been a candidate in a congressional race for Illinois’ 3rd District. Mr. Chehade was not hired in part because he not only misrepresented his qualifications but was ill-suited for a senior role in a congressional office, as demonstrated by his interactions with Ms. Newman and her campaign volunteers,” the spokesman told Chicago’s Channel 2.
“In fact, in the summer of 2019, Mr. Chehade explicitly conveyed to Ms. Newman over the phone that he could not work with her. It was only after several months of no direct communication between the two that Mr. Chehade contacted Ms. Newman pleading to her to hire him in her official office,” the unidentified spokesman continued, claiming also that Chehade had “spent over a month making false statements to the press.”
The suit, of course, is not Newman’s only problem. What Chehade has alleged is bigger than just a dispute between him and the congresswoman over her failure to live up to an employment contract, says noted election law attorney Cleta Mitchell.
“It is a criminal offense under federal law to promise a job or appointment of any kind for the purpose of securing support for a candidacy. If the facts of the complaint have any merit whatsoever, the FBI should be investigating this matter. In addition, the Office of Congressional Ethics should open its own investigation, which it can do without any third party filing a complaint,” Mitchell says. “OCE has the authority to open the investigation on its own and that is what they should do. This is the kind of law-breaking we’ve come to expect from leftists who preach about how idealistic they are when, in reality, they are just partisan thugs. “
The Democrats don’t plan to run on their record in the 2022 midterm elections. They plan to go to the voters and argue that Republicans are too crazy and too outside the mainstream to be allowed to return to power in Congress.
Whether that will be enough will depend in part on the health of the U.S. economy. If the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer spending binge and planned tax increases don’t hamper the post-COVID recovery, that might be enough. However, if the economy tanks and the Republicans pull together a realistic program for bringing growth and jobs back and getting spending under control, a GOP-led majority in both chambers is not only possible but likely.
Before you snicker, remember the Republicans came within a hair of winning back control of the House in November 2020 even as Donald Trump was losing. GOP congressional candidates ran ahead of Trump in about 180 of more than 210 winning races, and Republican House candidates won more contested races than Democrats did. A change in control isn’t out of the question by any means, which is why the progressive campaign machine has to do all it can to discredit its opposition in the minds of the electorate.
Enter QAnon, the internet-based wellspring of conspiracies ranging from the sublime to the outrageous—and all of them ridiculous. Unfortunately for the GOP, a few folks who’ve lately been their voters (not to mention a newly elected member of Congress or two) have been caught on social media spreading the conspiracists’ tales.
Up until it filled a narrative need, QAnon was a little more than a curiosity among the relatively few people who were aware of it. The intrigues it promulgated did produce a few notable and even tragic events but, in the main, it drew the attention of the fringe. That is, until its usefulness in painting a picture of the GOP as controlled by radical insurrectionists became clear. After that, the legacy media became the biggest outlet for its tall tales under the guise of reporting.
Up to a point, the strategy of elevating QAnon been a success in that it left GOP leaders in the difficult position of defending their own while repudiating the insanity. It’s a tight rope to walk. What the Democrats must do now is determine whether they can sustain these attacks over two years, and whether they’re insulated enough to avoid serious blowback.
You see, it’s not just the GOP that has a problem with conspiracy kooks. The Democratic Party is full of them too—and they’ve got the reins of power now. Consider that Rep. Maxine Waters, who now chairs an important congressional committee, was first heard of across America when she accused the CIA of being behind the crack epidemic in the nation’s inner cities.
She’s a problem, not that people bring that up much anymore. Maybe the GOP should. Republican leaders might also want to talk a bit about the Democrats who said George Herbert Walker Bush flew to Paris in 1980 to negotiate a secret agreement with the Iranians to keep the hostages until after the election. (Spoiler alert: He didn’t, but it took a congressional investigation to knock that rumor out).
Remember all the things the Democrats said about the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians and the allegations contained in the Steele dossier. They didn’t remain inside the confines of cyberspace; no, they became front-page news and were treated seriously for months until poof, nothing.
In the last few weeks, prompted by another tirade by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a guy who could have given the late Joe McCarthy some lessons on tactics, social media was abuzz about the supposed “real” circumstances leading to Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to step down from the U.S. Supreme Court with a cast of characters including his son, officials of Deutsche Bank, and others appended to numerous tweets.
It’s undeniable, as historian Richard Hofstadter famously wrote back in 1964, that there is a “paranoid style in American politics.” What he and others miss is that it’s not confined to the Right. It’s at least as prevalent on the Left, if not stronger. The difference is that while the GOP’s crazy sometimes becomes unpleasant, the Left’s progressive crazy sometimes becomes law, which is much harder for all of us to deal with. If you doubt me, read the text of H.R. 1 closely.
Congressional Democrats are pitching their H.R. 1 “For the People Act” as a necessary salve for a broken electoral system. If enacted, they claim, the bill’s provisions will fix a broken campaign finance system, protect voting rights, and make the average American feel once again like they can trust the system we use to select our leaders.
Truthfully, it doesn’t do any of those things but they’re hoping no one catches on. Or because they fear being called “racist” or worse for failing to fight “voter suppression,” won’t fight. That’s unfortunate, at least for the GOP – whose strategy to stop the bill depends on the filibuster – because it’s a bad bill that would keep the Democrats in power almost in perpetuity.
Among its many outrageous provisions is one that would essentially vitiate state laws requiring voters to produce some form of government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. To most Americans, that’s a commonsense kind of thing, backed by 75 percent of likely voters in one recent poll.
Look at the facts. We’re asked to show ID every day, whether we’re trying to get on an airplane, make a bank deposit, or enter a federal government building. Democrats say, without offering a convincing explanation as to why it’s so, that asking the same of voters at a polling place would be racist and constitute voter suppression rather than protect the constitutional guarantee of “one person, one vote.”
The American public isn’t buying the criticism, something Red State Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Arizona’s Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, and Montana’s Jon Tester should be thinking about when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York tries to twist their arms and get them to vote for the bill. There is room for a principled objection to the bill because voters still back the idea that a valid photo ID must be shown before a ballot can be cast by overwhelming margins.
A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found 75 percent of likely voters agreed voters should have to show a valid driver’s license or some other form of government-issued identification before they could cast a ballot. Less than a quarter of all those surveyed – just 21 percent – said they were opposed.
When an issue has nearly 80 percent support, a smart politician just stands next to it. As it now stands, on top of the near-universal support it has nationally, 36 states have some form of voter ID law that would be nullified to one degree or another if H.R. 1 – which passed the House with only Democrat support — becomes law.
In its analysis, Rasmussen reports said, “Support for voter ID laws has actually increased since 2018, when 67 percent (of likely voters surveyed) said voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to vote.”
Voter ID laws are strongly backed by Republicans, with 89 percent saying they support making people prove who they are before they can cast a ballot alongside 77 percent of non-affiliated voters and, remarkably, 60 percent of Democrats sharing that view. The party in Congress, it seems, is out of touch with its rank and file.
As to the claim that voter ID laws are discriminatory, Rasmussen Reports says, voters, reject it by a margin of nearly 2-to1 as “60 percent say laws requiring photo identification at the polls don’t discriminate.” Just under a third, 31 percent, said they do while 10 percent were not sure either way. Unsurprisingly, a bare majority of Democrats – 51 percent – say such laws do discriminate 79 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents said they did not. Somewhat shockingly, the pollster said, “Voters under 40 support voter ID laws more than do older voters” as do most whites (74 percent), blacks (69 percent), and other minorities (82 percent).
The abolition of voter identification requirements is but one of several odious provisions contained within H.R. 1 that would, many analysts have claimed, make it harder to prevent election fraud in the future.
Other provisions contained within the legislation would mandate same-day registration in all 50 states, expand early voting that in some states runs into months rather than weeks or days, and establish rules for handling ballots that would essentially codify the practice of ballot harvesting some states have already made illegal.
By winning control of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020, Democrats created an opportunity to make it easier for them to win in the future and harder for anyone to criticize them. Their first order of business, which House Democrats call the “For the People Act,” is largely an exercise in taking the worst election laws in some of the worst-governed states and imposing them on the entire country.
The bill has passed the House, and plenty of worked-up activists (including much of the media and the still-Never Trump establishment) think Democrats should abolish the filibuster to pass it through the Senate.
H.R. 1 would override state election laws and impose all sorts of mandates, including automatically registering adults to vote, even if they don’t want to register. Democrats passed the For the People Act in 2019, too, but the newest version has some new ideas that they apparently gleaned from the 2020 election.
The bill would bar states from even requiring that identification be provided as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot.
With these and other provisions, H.R. 1 would nationalize the administration of elections. And it goes even further in nationalizing other bad ideas.
The Democrats’ bill aims to normalize ballot harvesting by striking down any state safeguards against the practice. Yes, some states’ anti-ballot-harvesting laws might accidentally criminalize innocent activity, such as letting Joey run your mail-in ballot up to the mailbox. But if we really believe the vote is sacred, basic safeguards against coercion, fraud, and bullying are necessary.
Taking up Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s “dark money” obsession, the bill requires corporations, unions, trade associations, and other advocacy groups to disclose campaign-related expenditures over $10,000, as well as the donors who fund them. That would function as a clear deterrent to constitutionally protected political speech and association.
California has a law like this, and it’s a bad law, aimed at curbing criticism of politicians. Groups as ideologically divergent as Citizens United (yes, that Citizens United) and the American Civil Liberties Union are lobbying the Supreme Court to strike down California’s mandate.
Why would you want to impose this disclosure burden on groups that might criticize a politician or simply express a political opinion? We don’t really have to guess. Democrats are known to use the power of elected office to punish political dissenters. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has practically made a career of this, and he is about to be promoted into the Biden administration for it.
As usual, Democrats want to intimidate and silence people whose views they don’t like. They also want to deputize Big Business to do it for them — as when they demanded that Amazon deplatform Parler and Twitter deplatform former President Donald Trump. Now, Democrats are pressuring AT&T to drop Fox News.
Democrats know that with forced disclosure, they can scare any businesses or individuals out of funding groups that oppose the Democrats’ aims or criticize them.
The bill also nationalizes another bad state-level policy: the politics tax. H.R. 1 would establish the taxpayer funding of political campaigns — and you can be forgiven for reading that as welfare for the political consultant swamp-class. The House bill tries to cover up the fact that the money ultimately comes from taxpayers by claiming that it comes from criminal and civil penalties on corporations and rich people. But money is fungible. And whenever politicians lack the courage to admit they are funding their proposals through tax dollars, you know they’re ashamed of it.
Coercing voters by normalizing ballot harvesting, coercing donors through forced disclosure, and forcibly funding politicians and their consultants — one wonders why Democrats believe more in coercion than in freedom and debate.
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, under fire and with her approval rating among the folks back home dropping, has drawn what will likely be the first of many opponents in the next GOP primary.
The No. 3 Republican in the GOP House leadership, Cheney is under fire for her vote to impeach former President Donald J. Trump, a largely partisan effort launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, after the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Democrats and some Republicans have repeatedly referred to the riot as an attempted “insurrection” prompted by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. The objective of the rioters, some say, was to disrupt and perhaps force Congress to suspend that day’s counting of the electoral college ballots as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution and to prevent Joe Biden from being officially declared president-elect.
Cheney has drawn heat for her vote to affirm the charges against Trump and for insisting it was, for her and for all Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives a “matter of conscience” that permitted members to cast aside any partisan allegiances by which they might feel bound.
Taking on Cheney is Wyoming State Rep. Chuck Gray, a Republican who announced his intentions on social media.
“It’s time for a leader who actually listens to the hard-working people of Wyoming, and not to the D.C elitists,” Gray tweeted. “Join me on my journey as I seek the Republican nomination for the United States Congress.”
In February, the Wyoming Republican Party voted overwhelmingly to censure Cheney with only eight of the 74-member state GOP’s central committee openly opposing the punishment in a process that did not conclude with a formal vote. An effort by GOP House conservatives to remove Cheney from her party leadership post failed 145-61.
Gray has repeatedly criticized Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump and accused her of taking positions that were “nothing more than a stepping stone” to higher office. “Well, not anymore,” he said. “Wyoming agrees with President Trump” who, during his recent speech to the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference called Cheney out by name and said he hoped she would be defeated.
The subject of Trump’s speech caused some friction between Cheney and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who told reporters at a press availability he thought the former president should speak to the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservative political activists. Cheney disagreed, saying she did not believe the former president “should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
Cheney, who was first elected to the House in 2016, has not yet said whether she will be a candidate for reelection in 2022. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, held the seat she now occupies from January 1979 until 1989 – when former President George H.W. Bush nominated him to be U.S. Secretary of Defense.
A forgettable speech may be just what the country needs
It was impossible to hear Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address without comparing it to Donald Trump’s. Four years ago, Trump blamed the “American carnage” that propelled his rise to power on a feckless and out of touch elite who had collaborated with nefarious outsiders to rob the middle class of its wealth and status. Trump’s speech was brief (16 minutes long), direct, uncompromising, and unforgettable. It left the political world in shock. George W. Bush spoke for many when he was overheard saying, “That was some weird s—t.” The Trump inaugural foretold a presidency like no other.
President Biden’s inaugural could not have been more different. He is Trump’s opposite not only in ideology but also in background and style. Trump was the only president not to have previous government or military experience. Biden served for almost 50 years in Congress and the West Wing. Trump used social media as a weapon in his politics of polarization and confrontation. Biden has gone out of his way to ignore Twitter, and has relied primarily on traditional media to convey his message.
Trump sought to disrupt the norms of Washington because he and his supporters believed those norms had become a cover for American decline. Biden wants to restore the norms, and to lower the political temperature, because he believes, correctly in my view, that civility and proceduralism stand between America and the abyss. Every aspect of Biden’s inaugural—its structure, its bipartisanship, its quotations, its length—furthered his aim of realigning the office of the presidency with its traditions of institutional decorum.
The speech itself was not memorable. But this prosaic quality was in its own way reassuring. After all, most inaugurals are forgotten. (Can you quote a line from either of Bill Clinton’s, or from either of Barack Obama’s?) Biden’s delivery was much stronger than his text. He recapitulated the themes of his campaign, explained how he believes the nation faces crises of public health, economics, racism, and climate, called for national unity, and pledged to serve all of the people. His peroration was inspiring: “With purpose and resolve, we turn to the task of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts.” Overall, however, you came away with the sense that Biden’s presidency will be defined more by actions than by words.
What stood out most about the entire day was its religious spirit. Biden began the morning with a bipartisan Mass. The benedictions before and after the inaugural program were moving. Garth Brooks offered an incredible rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Biden asked all Americans to participate in a moment of silent prayer. He cited Scripture. And in one of the most interesting passages of his address, he invoked Saint Augustine’s description of a people as “a multitude defined by the common objects of their love.”
For Biden, these common objects are values: “Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and, yes, the truth.” Few would argue with this list. But its very universality raises the question of what separates Americans from other peoples, elsewhere, who also love opportunity and security and liberty. It’s easy to come up with a more particularistic catalogue of the common objects of our national love: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the national motto and symbol, the flag, the Founders, Lincoln, the Capitol building, the land itself. And this difference between transcendental aspirations and concrete loyalties may be one way of thinking about the gulf that separates left from right.
One danger for Biden is that the electorate will come to view his call for unity as a mask for a partisan liberal agenda. There was little policy in the Inaugural Address, but the executive orders he will sign this afternoon and evening, and the legislation he is proposing to Congress, do not herald a future where the parties are reconciled to one another. His presidency might proceed along two tracks, with Biden standing as a symbol of comity and consensus while his administration sustains and expands the Democratic coalition. Biden might want to pay particular attention to a recent Washington Post /ABC News poll showing that 55 percent of independents have “just some” or “no confidence” in his decision-making abilities. Letting Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have their way will not shrink that number.
For now, the ceremony is over. Joe Biden is left with two jobs: End this pandemic and restore faith in America’s constitutional order. His Inaugural Address was a fair start. But speeches won’t be enough. In his videotaped farewell address, President Trump wished his successor luck. President Biden will need it.
It would be nice if everyone had given their attention to how quickly Congresscompleted its work Wednesday. How, after a brief disruption, it counted the electoral ballots and confirmed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris‘s victory. That the norms were upheld and the victorious indeed emerged triumphant.
It would be nice—but it would ignore the elephant in the room.
Many regard the U.S. Capitol with the same kind of awe and reverence shown by Jimmy Stewart’s character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I know I do and, after nearly 40 years of being intimately involved in the political process, I confess a great deal of earnest sentimentalism has managed to survive beneath my hard-shell journalistic cynicism.
The Capitol is an amazing building, unique for what it represents. To the world, its dome means freedom, liberty and equality. It stands for the idea every man and woman has an equal chance to succeed, unhampered by those factors that in other nations perpetuate class, caste and regional differences. We are, as a friend often reminds me, a great country full of amazing people who often do amazing things.
What happened Wednesday is an abomination. More than that, it sullies the very democratic institutions and processes those who came to protest the counting of the Electoral College ballots in what they believe is a stolen election said they had come to protect. Spontaneous or not, the assault on the Capitol was an affront to us all, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike—no matter who committed it.
As has been argued by others, President Donald J. Trump bears considerable responsibility for this madness. He sent those people off on a mission believing they were patriots standing up against the culmination of a corrupt process that denied him a second term. That is not, however, an indictment of the nearly 75 million Americans who voted for him in November.
Those who broke the law should be sought out and, if apprehended, punished to the full extent allowable by law. Those who entered the Capitol to ransack it not only made a mockery of the majesty and ritual with which America’s legislative process is conducted, they proved the Founding Fathers to have been correct in every way in which they warned against the dangers of the mob.
There is a coarseness in politics today that, for some time, has debased our democratic system. James Madison warned that partisanship would be problematic. We can see now how prescient he was. Disagreement and dissent are now too often presented as dishonorable, especially by the people on the other side of any given disagreement. The plain fact is there’s plenty of blame to go around, and the mob that attacked the Capitol were no more “patriots” than the assassins of the two New York City police officers murdered in 2014 while sitting in their cruiser were “civil rights activists.”
Words are the way we are supposed to settle things—not violence. That’s what my mother and father taught me and, I presume, it’s what most of you who are reading this now were also taught in your formative years. The disputes we have over the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, whether grounded in reality or a fantasy-fueled attempt to hang onto power, cannot and will not be settled by brawling or attacking democratic symbols.
As a new administration comes into office, hopefully both Democrats and Republicans will adopt a calmer approach to settling differences. The persistence of our democratic republic is a tribute to the vision of the Founders and the living legacy of men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Kennedy and Reagan—all of whom did so much to give it life. It is a tribute to them that our institutions and our democratic republic have not yet crumbled on account of the lesser lights who have been sometimes chosen to lead it.
However unfairly Mr. Trump was treated during his presidency, he must realize at some point that he brought many of these indignities upon himself. He chose to throw sharp elbows and should not have been surprised when they were thrown back. He could have left the presidency on a high note, confident he’d built a movement that would outlast him and that, in just four years, he’d successfully pushed policies leading to greater peace and prosperity (at least before COVID-19 hit). Ultimately, he surrendered to the lesser parts of our nature and seems, for the moment at least, to have destroyed any meaningful legacy he might have left.
First Dem-controlled gov't in a decade means fights over filibuster, court packing, socialist agenda
Victory in Georgia has guaranteed Democratic control of the White House and Congress, giving President-elect Joe Biden expanded options but also denying him cover from the demands of his party’s radical left wing.
Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s surprise double triumph on Tuesday makes possible many of Biden’s more expansive legislative priorities, such as his promised revisions to Obamacare or his $2 trillion climate plan. But it also means that he has lost the convenient excuse of a Republican-controlled Senate, which would have allowed him to refuse the more revolutionary changes endorsed by members of his party.
Instead, progressive groups are already agitating for proposals such as ending the Senate’s filibuster. Eli Zupnick, spokesman for the left-leaning Fix Our Senate, responded to the news of Warnock and Ossoff’s victory with bluntness: “What does this election mean? The filibuster is dead.”
Similar calls will soon emerge from other corners, pushing for court packing, the addition of new states, radical appointees, and the agenda of the House’s socialist “squad” caucus. Paradoxically, Biden’s victory in the Senate may have set up an even greater battle: not against Republicans, but across the ever-growing fault lines which divide his party.
As much is particularly true due to the razor-thin margin by which Democrats control government. They will hold the Senate only through the grace of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, while Republicans chipped away at their already narrow control of the House in the November election.
That margin will come into play over a likely contentious debate over the filibuster. Democrats’ sub-60-vote position means that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) can still stall much of Biden’s agenda, as he did in the latter days of the Obama administration. Recognizing this, soon-to-be majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has repeatedly signaled an openness to ending the practice.
In this, Schumer has been joined by progressive members of his caucus such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), as well as former president Barack Obama. But blue dog senators have been hostile: Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), and Jon Tester (D., Mont.) are all opposed, while Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) has dodged the question. So too has Warnock, while Ossoff offered only a “maybe” when asked.
Abolishing the filibuster would be a prerequisite for another major change Schumer has been eyeing—granting statehood to the District of Columbia and possibly Puerto Rico, guaranteeing two to four more Democrats in the upper chamber. But it would not be necessary to add further justices to the Supreme Court, a move many Democrats agitated for in the wake of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment. Biden has remained conspicuously silent on the issue of court packing, which would require his involvement but would see the ostensible moderate yielding to progressives over the majority of Americans.
Such major changes are not the only place Democratic control could be a headache for Biden. McConnell’s control of the Senate was expected to moderate Biden’s selection for top posts, and the president-elect has leaned toward the center in many of his taps.
But a Democrat-controlled Senate will allow more controversial choices, like the inflammatory OMB pick Neera Tanden, a serious hearing Biden may not have expected. And it could give new life to appointment priorities from the left, like the list of 100 foreign policy progressives that until Tuesday appeared dead on arrival.
A similar headache may await House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), as a smaller caucus gives more power to the growing “squad” of Democratic socialists in her chamber. A cadre of online progressives spent the days leading up to the vote for speaker agitating for Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), and others to withhold their votes unless Pelosi agreed to allow a vote on Medicare for All. Ocasio-Cortez shot down the idea but acknowledged it—indicating future pressure efforts may be more fruitful.
Pelosi, in other words, could experience a redux of the standoffs that defined the relationship between former speaker John Boehner and the House Freedom Caucus, which ended with Boehner’s resignation. Biden, similarly, risks his agenda being hijacked—not by obstreperous Republicans, as expected, but by members of his own party eager to seize power.
Americans are bandwagon people, jumping quickly from one opinion to another. Once we jump, we want to fire up the engines and go full speed ahead.
Now, in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, many want to impeach the president right now or use the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove him from office less than two weeks before his scheduled departure.
The fact is that our Founders designed an ocean liner government, not a speedboat. The government is intentionally designed not to take sudden turns or execute instant changes of course. The republic was constructed with all manner of filters, checks and balances, and separations of power, requiring time and deliberation to change course. Our Founders urged that we follow “the cool, deliberate sense of the community” over time, not the passions and factions of the moment.
Impeaching a president requires not just a vote of the House to impeach but a subsequent trial in the Senate. The most recent impeachment trial, of President Trump himself, took approximately three weeks to complete. At five weeks, former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial was even longer.
The notion that a president would be impeached, prepare, and stand for a full trial in less than two weeks (with both chambers on recess and out of town, no less) is simply not realistic. Our system was not built for that kind of speed. It was built for deliberation.
The use of the 25th Amendment is also problematic. It is really designed for a president who is disabled, not one we no longer trust. All three times it has been used involved medical procedures for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Like impeachment, it is also a complicated process that will take time, requiring first a declaration by the vice president, supported by the majority of the Cabinet, that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Does not liking or trusting how he is discharging them render him “unable”? I doubt it.
Then, the president could dispute the declaration, causing Congress to reconvene and decide the matter (requiring a two-thirds majority vote to find him “disabled”) within 21 days. By then, of course, Biden will be president.
Removing the president promptly, then, is highly unlikely through the push of a constitutional button. But there is another alternative, one that the Founders also contemplated: We will need statesmen and leaders to help guide us through the next two weeks.
We will need Vice President Mike Pence, who stood up and told the president he could not change the electoral vote, and who apparently also called for the National Guard to help quell the riots, to step up. It will mandate that members of Congress worry less about how they look to Trump’s political constituencies and care more about how they lead the republic. It will call for more from Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse and less from the intemperate Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.
In our time, we think any problem should be fixed immediately, like that truck I saw hauling sod down the freeway with its sign reading, “Instant grassification.” But a democratic republic is a slow, careful, deliberative, sometimes messy business. However, it does respond to the voice of the people, more often through leadership than through structural processes.
We will be healthier in the long run if we survive the next two weeks through greater bipartisanship and leadership rather than through more Senate trials or divisive impeachment and 25th Amendment votes. Let the rational voices stirred by the mob this week, and the steadier leadership we have seen from some of our leaders, see us through.
It’s not only the best way. Given the limited time for the alternatives, it is the only way we will make it.
Pardon us if we are a little confused regarding the current status of the 2020 election results. We have been saying all along that we are dedicated to following the rule of law. Now, however, we are watching all levels of the Judiciary — who personify the law in the USA – rejecting what appears to many of us as highly suspicious behavior on the part of the vote counters. Some without even hearing the evidence of the plaintiff. These rejections are north of 60 cases, at all levels of the judiciary from Circuit courts to federal appellate courts.
What is going on? And where are the chief law enforcement organizations, the Justice Department and the FBI, who should be leading the investigations into allegations of monumental crimes of election fraud? Instead of leading the search for truth, they are nowhere to be found. Attorney General William Barr, thought to be a non-partisan pillar of integrity, ducks out of his responsibilities by saying that his department could find no crimes which would change the outcome of the election. This without citing any such investigatory efforts.
The only Judge showing enough true grit to hold the state officials to their oath of office is Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who is hot on the trail of the Pennsylvania mess. Of course, the end game of most of these lawsuits will be the actions of the Supreme Court as a whole when some of the current cases have traveled the gauntlet of judicial rejections in order to get standing for the high court to act.
So, here we are, days before the traditional certifications of the electoral college to begin, waiting to see what the Supreme Court will do. Will they accept the case(s) and issue a decision as in the case of Gore v Bush in 2001, or will they also decline to exercise their duty? If they do accept the case(s), what will their verdict be?
The very vastness of the suspected corruption is a challenge which gives everyone pause. What is being alleged is a conspiracy which touches nearly every state in the Union. A pattern of ballot tampering which has eerie similarities in nearly every suspicious state, which in turn strongly suggests central planning. The remedy may mean declaring the entire election null and void! Then what? Another election? Extension of the present terms while the new election is organized. For the first time in American history?
Alternatively, the selective decertification of certain votes among the many cast in person and by mail? Who would enforce strict behavior of the recount and the responsibilities of the poll watchers?
There are other issues as well, particularly the widespread use of the Dominion software (some 34 state users) which has been roundly criticized as an instrument of ballot tampering. A prohibition against use in an American election could cause an upheaval in the many states which relied on this technology to operate their balloting.
The other factor is, if the Supreme Court does accept one or more cases, how will they vote? Will the Chief Justice retain his posture of going with the wind as he has in some notable previous cases? Or will he be guided by the Constitution? What will be the effect of the new Justices on the rest of the Court, if any?
Yes, these are exciting times we live in. But also very confusing.
Let the rule of law prevail
This is a difficult time for Trump supporters. The unofficial, unelected, arrogant news media took it upon themselves to declare Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States, thereby confusing a lot of people by giving them the impression that this election is over.
That is nor true. Nothing official has changed between noon and 6 pm on November 7, 2020. Until the recounts and investigations with their resulting lawsuits have been settled, THERE ARE NO WINNERS OF THE 2020 ELECTIONS. The nominal deadline for the official announcement of the winner is December 14, 2020, when all electors are due to cast their votes. But they will not do so if there are unresolved legal actions pending.
The current federal election procedures carry a whole sequence of delayable dates for the final determination of the election results, ending up on January 6, 2021 before a joint session of Congress. Even then there is a dispute process available. Everything does have to be solved by the Presidential Inauguration date of January 20, 2021.
So, don’t be fooled by the networks, who are trying to hijack the declaration of the victor, presumably to stir up the Biden supporters. The result will be that, when the Trump faction announces their actions — which will delay the official declaration of winner — they will be discredited, discounted, and despised. If the outcome ultimately favors Mr. Trump, the hate campaign of the past 5 years, will be off and running for another term.
Our role is to stand by and let the actions of Rudy Giuliani and his team play out, knowing two things: 1) that this will all take time – possibly as much or more than the 41 days Al Gore used in 2000 before conceding. And 2) there is a true American principle being observed in all this: namely, that the rule of law will prevail. It is the American way of settling disputes, the reason we have such a sophisticated judicial system; the adversaries each bring forth the evidence they have uncovered before the open court and the court ultimately declares the victor.
America does NOT settle its disputes by violence, street protests, rioting or civil war. Those who choose such methods of protest have to be stopped by law enforcement, whether by police or National Guard. As Americans, we have supported this approach throughout the most violent summer since the Civil War. We must respect the ultimate judgement of the courts this time also – no matter the outcome.
The preliminary reports of the Senate and House elections seem to afford some measure of reassurance that, even if the Biden/Harris ticket were ultimately to win, the line of defense against their extreme agenda will be tempered by a Republican Senate and a strengthened Republican presence in the House – with still a chance to take control, depending on the outcomes of some recounts.
All said, our role right now is to relax and let the wheels of justice grind in peace.
Voters might not have had concerns about irregularities, if fundamental steps were taken, and problems fixed.
No wonder half the public is concerned about irregularities in the 2020 voting.
No wonder they would support Donald Trump’s skepticism, once a reputable legal team quickly, publicly, and transparently presents to the nation justified concerns about constitutional violations in changing state voting laws and documented accounts of computer glitches, inexplicable late arrivals of ballot troves, and systemic efforts to prevent transparency — all at a level that reasonably could question the authenticity of the final vote count or even serve a dire warning of things to come.
Voting sanctity was not just questioned by Trump. It became a recent issue in 2016. Then-Green Party candidate Jill Stein was used as a surrogate by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment — to the chagrin of her own supporters — to sue in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to overturn the 2016 election. The charge was deliberate voting-machine irregularities, for which there was not even much anecdotal evidence.
When that failed, the Left went full Hollywood with a media blitz to convince the American people that the election was a fraud and the electors had to do their “patriotic” duty to overturn the mandates of their own state — and reject Donald Trump.
Within days of that failure, a Democratic narrative appeared that Donald Trump was an illegitimate president due to “Russian collusion.” Soon Hillary Clinton joined the “Resistance,” on the basis that Russians, not the American people, had chosen the president — a charge that eventually sabotaged Donald Trump’s first two years in office, as Robert Mueller’s 22-month, $40-million “Dream Team” failed to prove that a myth, born in efforts to delegitimize an election and a president, was after all a myth.
Indeed, within days of Trump’s inauguration, dozens of Democrats voted for impeachment, as activists wrote about the need to either impeach him, or declare him crazy — or whispered about the need for the military to become vigilant — in a manner later to be dubbed “coup porn.” Again the pretext was a false charge of Russian collusion that had delegitimized the voting.
After that, a new narrative took hold, eventually flagrantly so in the 2019 Democratic primaries, that the Electoral College was illegitimate and should be junked, and the present Supreme Court had to be packed to ensure correct decisions. So the idea that the future voting itself would be politicized started nearly as soon as, or even before, Donald Trump was elected.
Millions of voters now find it rich that suddenly the Democratic Party is vouching for a pristine voting count, after for four years warning in venues like the New Yorker or PBS that new questionable electronic voting machines and dubious state officials were toying with deliberate distortion, and that foreign interests would “again” be seeking to disrupt the election.
Activists spent much of 2019 and 2020 seeking to overturn constitutionally mandated laws of the state legislatures. Their efforts in key states often succeeded in ensuring that federal elections would be radically transformed into a long process of weeks on end, through both early and predominately mail-in voting, with allowances for troves of ballots arriving well after the polls closed.
The point is that after being lectured by Clintonites, by the media, and by big tech for years that voting was likely to be suspect, the Left did all it could by lawsuits and radical changes to voting statutes to ensure that the count would be, well, suspect by its own prior standards.
Still, half of the American people might not be so angry had just one state — as Florida in 2000 — failed to deliver a final, transparent, and timely tally.
But by 2020, we had 20 years to learn from Florida’s endless days of recounting and warped chad auditing. Although the suspicious circumstances were different — this time state executives and judges changed the state voter laws to enhance mail-in balloting in a way inconsistent with the Constitution’s directives — states were nonetheless courting the same disaster of delays, popular outrage, and inconsistent rules of counting and certification.
Now two decades later, Americans, in third-world fashion, suffered five Floridas — Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — all of which for some reason could not produce a transparent result on Election Day or in the hours shortly after. All had been warned that in some cases new computer voting systems, or in other cases radical transformations to mail-in voting, or in all cases insufficient awareness to transparency might once again provoke popular distrust. And in addition, a deadlocked Supreme Court ignored clear warnings that state judges and executives were overruling constitutionally mandated legislative laws of voting.
So the public is mystified that the center of global high tech; the bastion of transparency and civil rights; the birthplace of the computer, the Internet, and automatic voting; home of the $4-trillion Silicon Valley masters of the universe; and the nation that vowed never again to suffer another 2000 has again failed.
A nation whose tech wizardry can ferret out a single improper tweet and block an individual account in a nation of 330 million surely can use such omnipresence to ensure a nearly instantaneous voting result in certified machines. Or is the opposite true? Precisely because of that scary omnipotence, we need to be ever more vigilant?
Mutatis mutandis, will the same Bush standard be extended to Trump, to go through the process of reexamination that the Bush team rightly demanded? It would not require much effort for the Supreme Court to determine whether particular states followed or ignored the Constitution in radically changing voting laws in 2020. Either they did so by votes of the Legislature or they did so by executive and bureaucratic mandates, which are not what the Constitution seems to direct.
It would not take much effort simply to reexamine voting machines and computer software, to determine whether hundreds of personal anecdotes of illegality are signs of either systematic failure or mere disgruntled partisans.
Still, the deplorables might have kept quiet had allegations of fraud occurred along bipartisan lines — that for every mysterious Wisconsin and Pennsylvania vote there was equal concern in hotly contested Texas and Florida. Both sides might have pointed to voting stoppages in the nocturnal hours, and the sudden appearance of new ballots and the record 90-percent turnout of registered voters in particular counties. All that weirdness would likely have been ignored had it occurred in bipartisan fashion regardless of the eventual vote.
So again half the country now worries that purple swing states in which it was anticipated the vote would be close were targeted by Democratic activist-bureaucrats, especially in big cities — whether by preelection radical changes in voting laws and regulations, or laxity in ensuring proper date cutoffs, or inattention to computer authenticity to ensure “glitches” would not unduly sour public confidence.
Still, voters are a forgiving lot. They might have sighed “move on” had the prior polls simply conditioned the country for a close race, predictions they trusted and thus could have prepared them for a long and acrimonious night.
Instead, the party that drumbeats “voter suppression” ad nauseam hectored the country about the “historic” reckoning to come on Election Day. The Left went full Bob Mueller “bombshells” and “walls are closing in” to condition the nation for a 1964-like Democratic landslide, the just sendoff for the hated Trump.
Red-state America for months was assured by pollsters and their partners in the media of the slaughter to come. On election eve, Trump was down 17 points in Wisconsin in the ABC/Washington Post poll. Trump was 12 points down in the CNN popular vote poll. Trump would suffer a 383-vote landslide loss in the Electoral College in the last YouGov poll.
These authoritative predictions, often framed to the decimal point and the result of thousands of “computer simulations,” were not just off, but so far off to be easily seen as laughable.
Had the presidential polls at the state levels, or polls of the Electoral College or those of Senate and House races, been close and thus approximated the actual vote that transpired on Election Day, voters would have shrugged that this time around at least the polls were in the margin of error in their wrong predictions.
But again, what the country got instead was assurance of a Democratic Krakatoa, contrary to what people saw in the contrast between Trump’s huge rallies and Biden’s pathetic assemblage of honking cars. The public witnessed a “sure-loser” president greeted ecstatically at huge gatherings while “sure-winner” Biden lost his train of thought before a few hundred car-bound onlookers.
Still, Americans might have shrugged even then and sighed, “polls will be polls” — had not there been the example of 2016. Then most of the state polls were wrong, but predictably wrong in their prediction of a Clinton landslide. After that collective embarrassment, voters were assured that pollsters were looking inward and that the media was venturing out to Red State America to discover “what makes these people tick.” That too was a hoax.
Perhaps voters still would have said, “2000 Florida 5.0 is weird, but I guess it can happen.” They might have added, “2016 polls, I guess, never fixed their methodology for 2000.”
But then there was the media.
The media itself funded joint polls and reveled in their investments on television as gospel. On Fox News, Arizona was called early on election eve by its analytics experts. That spark in nanoseconds was aired through the networks with editorialization along the following lines: “If conservative Fox now says Trump’s red-state base has repudiated him in the first hours of vote counting, and he’s already lost Arizona, imagine what is now to follow!”
Instead, what in reality followed were clear big Trump wins in Florida and Texas — much more likely results not called until much later. When asked to defend the Arizona decision, a few of the statisticians of Fox doubled down, ensuring that what we are now witnessing in Arizona was “impossible,” the insult to their additional injury of reassuring America that the Democrats would pick up seats in the House.
The public knows that when a candidate loses a base state early in the evening, then the entire media menu for the night is set. Long predictable wins are relabeled “comebacks” or examples of “surprising strength.” Close losses are thematized as “clear pattern of voter unease with the president.” Why question later reports of insecure polling or suspicious late arriving ballots when you lose Barry Goldwater’s state in a mere two hours after polls closed?
Still, the voters might have shrugged, “Well, who believes these premature media-ratings driven calls, anyway?”
But then again, for days before the election, the media not only censored stories of Hunter Biden, but was aided by the clout of Silicon Valley into outright blacking them out — quite in contrast to their earlier two-year-long megaphonic assertions that Donald Trump was soon to be indicted, as Robert Mueller and Christopher Steele had all but proved their cases.
In addition, for months the media assured the nation that a small group of money-grubby apostate Republicans were the voices of morality in the Republican Party. Indeed, Never Trumpers could prove a valuable fifth column to siphon off key support from the Republican ticket.
Flush with nearly $70 million in left-wing cash, the “Lincoln” Project kingpins were glamorized in their efforts to destroy Republican senatorial and House candidates, to flip Republican swing voters, and to pose as the saviors of the Republican Party.
Instead, Trump got more support from Republicans in 2020 than he had in 2016, reaching in so-called exit polls rates of 93 percent.
In the end, Never Trump, Inc. was just another media fiction, although a lucrative one for its concocters if AOC and the Squad don’t appropriate their post-campaign cash reserves.
So what angers half the country could be summed up as the likely mindset of the Trump voter:
We don’t care whether an irrelevant Twitter cancels us out. So what, when Facebook and Google warp their technologies? Screw the polls; we knew they were corrupt and unreliable. Who cares if partisan woke bureaucrats reinvent the rules of elections to favor their own and contravene the rules passed by their own legislatures? Not even rumors of computer glitches will matter. And even the most rapid transformations in American election history, from Election Day balloting into a decision by all sorts of bizarre early and mail-in balloting, will not matter. There is no way in America that huge Election Day leads will vanish by midnight in all the suspicious places. We are the people and all these efforts will come to nil. On Election Day, at least we will finally be heard. After all, we are not yet a third-world state.
But such trust proved one bridge too far. We are a third-world state now with malleable laws, an inert Constitution, voting that cannot be certified beyond a reasonable doubt within a reasonable time, with a media that massages rather than reports the news, and pollsters who seek to modulate rather than reflect likely voting.
And that realization that a transparent Election Day vote is a distant memory is what enrages Barack Obama’s clingers, Joe Biden’s dregs, chumps and ugly folk, and Hillary Clinton’s deplorables and irredeemables — the final injury after a host of insults.
America's polarized and divided politics aren't going anywhere.
The polls were wrong. The blue wave was no tsunami. The Democratic majority did not fully emerge. Parts of the “coalition of the ascendant” drifted to the right. For a generation, American politics has been closely and bitterly divided between the parties. There has been high turnover in office, and frequent shifts in power. Majorities are unstable. No victory is permanent, no realignment durable. The stalemate goes on.
If Joe Biden becomes president, he is more likely than not to take office with Republicans in control of the Senate. That hasn’t happened in 116 years. He will certainly take office with a reduced House majority—the Democrats have a net loss of six seats at the time of writing. Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Republican appointees. The partisan breakdown of state legislatures and governor’s mansions will resemble, almost precisely, the pre-election status quo. It’s a good thing Biden campaigned as someone willing to work across the aisle. He’ll have no other choice.
If Trump wins a second term, practically nothing will have changed in American politics, except that both Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell will have fewer votes to work with.
The country remains split. The New York Times exit poll says 37 percent of voters were Democrats and 35 percent Republicans, with 28 percent identifying as independents “or something else.” The Fox News/AP voter analysis pushed “leaners” toward one party over another. It says that 47 percent of voters were Republican or lean Republican, and 48 percent were Democrats or lean Democrat.
Only 24 percent of voters in the exit poll identified as liberal. The rest said they were moderate (40 percent) or conservative (37 percent). The Fox News voter analysis has similar results, with a slightly higher percentage of liberals (30 percent) and a lower percentage of moderates (33 percent). Conservatives were at 38 percent.
The sorting of parties by race, education, marital status, and religious practice has polarized our elites and made politics heated, noisy, and apocalyptic. Every election is billed as the most important in our lifetimes, the potential end of democracy and our ways of life. For all the fire and fury online and on cable news, however, elections continue to be decided in the middle.
Look at the suburbs, where a lot of those moderates and independents live. They backed Bush in 2004, then went for Obama in 2008. Two years later, repelled by Obamacare, Republicans won 56 percent of the suburbs and 56 percent of independents. Obama won reelection in 2012 by erasing those margins. The electorate in 2014, however, looked almost exactly like it did in 2010. And in 2016, Trump won the suburbs by 5 points and independents by 6 points. (He lost moderates by 11.)
According to the 2020 exit poll, Trump lost the suburbs by 3, independents by 14 (a 20-point swing), and moderates by 31. In the Fox voter analysis, Trump lost suburbs by 10 points, independents by 14 points, and moderates by 25 points. Both campaigns turned out their supporters. But the Trump campaign assumed its base would be enough to win. It looks like they were wrong.ADVERTISING
If Trump loses, it will be because voters in the middle grew tired of his antics. The public assessment of Trump’s actions was filtered through its distaste for his comportment, rhetoric, and behavior. And Trump’s personality often overshadowed or undermined the progress of his own administration.
These dramatic self-owns became most obvious, and most harmful, during the coronavirus pandemic. The elected officials who demonstrated steadiness, compassion, and concern these past eight months have seen their job approval numbers rise, no matter the actual status of their communities. Trump’s scattershot response prevented him from building on the slight uptick in support that he enjoyed last March. The voters who said the coronavirus was their most important issue went for Biden overwhelmingly.
This rejection of Trump was personal. It did not extend to the entire Republican Party. Several GOP senators ran ahead of him. The gains in the House speak for themselves. At the moment, the only governor’s mansion to flip is Montana’s. It’s a Republican pickup. Voters rejected a graduated income tax in Illinois and affirmative action in California. Even if Democrats sweep the two Georgia Senate runoffs, and Chuck Schumer gets to be majority leader thanks to Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, the chances now that he will abolish the filibuster, pack the Court, and grant statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., are nil. The Democrats dreamed of legislating the GOP out of existence. That’s not going to happen. It’s why they are so morose about these results.
The Republican challenge today is the mirror image of the party’s dilemma after 2012. Then, the GOP needed to retain its support in the suburbs while boosting support among whites without college degrees. Now, it needs to retain its support among whites without college degrees while boosting support in the suburbs. And it needs to solidify its gains among black males and Hispanic voters who responded to policies aimed at tight labor markets and economic empowerment.
It’s a tall order. But, as always, the Republicans’ best allies will be Democrats, who like all winners will interpret an electoral victory as an ideological mandate. Overreach is inevitable. And so is the backlash. The vote counting isn’t over, but the GOP comeback has already begun.
It appears that Democrats in Detroit, a city with a long history of election fraud, are tampering with absentee ballots and breaking state law.
As absentee ballot counting continues in a handful of key states across the country, reports of voter fraud, ballot tampering, and the illegal removal of Republican election observers are cropping up in Michigan, especially in Detroit, a Democratic stronghold which has a long history of voter fraud.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it was filing a lawsuit in Michiganover what it claims are systematic efforts to prevent Republican election observers from monitoring the ballot counting process as allowed under state law.
The lawsuit comes as video clips continue to surface on social media showing election officials denying access to authorized GOP poll watchers.
Aric Nesbitt, a Michigan state senator, posted a video on Twitter Wednesday afternoon of election workers at the convention center in Detroit, where absentee ballots are being counted. The video shows workers cheering every time an official election observer with the Michigan GOP is ejected from the counting room. Apparently this has been happening frequently, in violation of state law. Democratic observers, says Nesbitt, now outnumber Republicans observers at the convention center 3 to 1.
Here’s why that’s a problem. When an absentee ballot is unreadable for whatever reason, a ballot counter takes out a blank ballot, lays it on the table next to the unreadable ballot, and transposes the vote so it can be filed and tallied. Republican and Democratic “poll challengers,” as they’re called, are supposed to observe this process as it happens and make sure that the vote is transposed accurately. In addition, Michigan state law requires that a Republican and a Democratic official sign off on every voting precinct where absentee ballots are cast in this manner.
Phill Kline is a former Kansas attorney general and now an attorney for the nonprofit Amistad Project, which filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that tens of thousands of ballots in Detroit have been illegally filled out by election officials and Democratic election observers. “We have confirmed evidence that Democratic election officials have violated state law,” he told The Federalist, “and have opened the door for fraud involving tens of thousands of ballots.”
Kline confirmed Republican officials have been barred from observing the counting of absentee ballots, and that transposed absentee ballots are being certified despite a GOP official not signing off on them. The law, Kline says, states that an official from both parties must sign off “if possible,” and that Democratic election officials are claiming they can’t find a Republican to sign off—even though they are also kicking Republican officials out of the counting rooms.
I also spoke by phone to one GOP poll challenger who asked to remain anonymous and told me the election officials at the convention center are not letting Republican poll challengers remain in the room where absentee ballots are being counted, saying there’s “too many” of them. Asked how many people were in these rooms, the officials in charge could not say, according to this person, who added that the rooms in question are enormous, the size of a football field (remember this is at the convention center, where the Detroit auto show is held).
After kicking out Republican poll challengers, election officials began covering up the windows of the counting rooms with cardboard to block the view of Republican observers. “It was pretty chaotic,” the poll challenger said.
News reports are starting to reflect the chaos at the convention center. The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday morning that a lawyer, Jessica Connarn, who was working as a Republic poll challenger, filed an affidavit saying she was told by someone counting absentee ballots that workers in Detroit were “changing the dates the ballots were received” so they would be considered valid.
“When I approached the poll worker, she stated to me that she was being told to change the date on ballots to reflect that the ballots were received on an earlier date,” Connarn says in the affidavit. The Free Press goes on to report:
Connarn states when she tried to get additional information later from this poll worker, she was “yelled at by the other poll workers working at her table, who told me that I needed to go away and that I was not allowed to talk to the poll worker.”
In that interaction, the poll worker slipped Connarn a note, she states.
The note says “entered received date as 11/2/20 on 11/4/20.”
In Michigan, only ballots received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, this year Nov. 3, are valid.
None of this is new for Detroit, which has been plagued by corrupt election officials for years. In 2005, federal officials launched an investigation after the November election and state officials took over the handling of absentee ballots in Detroit after the Detroit News reported that “legally incapacitated nursing home residents were being coaxed to vote and Detroit’s voting rolls were inflated with more than 300,000 names of people who had died or moved out of the city.” A post-election audit found that nearly 30 percent of precincts showed discrepancies in vote totals.
Despite reform efforts over the years, these problems have persisted. Back in December, a public interest group sued the city in federal court, claiming its voter rolls are “replete with typos, dead people, duplicate registrations and mistakes about gender and birth: One Detroit voter is listed as being born in 1823—14 years before Michigan was annexed into the Union,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
In the 2016 presidential election, voting machines in more than a third of all voting precincts in Detroit registered more votes than the number of voters tallied by poll workers. The irregularities meant that more than half the city would be ineligible for a statewide presidential recount that was eventually called off by the Michigan Supreme Court. Here’s what Detroit News reported at the time:
Overall, state records show 10.6 percent of the precincts in the 22 counties that began the retabulation process couldn’t be recounted because of state law that bars recounts for unbalanced precincts or ones with broken seals.
The problems were the worst in Detroit, where discrepancies meant officials couldn’t recount votes in 392 precincts, or nearly 60 percent. And two-thirds of those precincts had too many votes.
But these problems persisted. In the August primary, ballot counts in 72 percent of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast, and in 46 percent of the city’s precincts the combined vote counts for Election Day and absentee voting were out of balance. Even Democratic election officials admitted that something had gone wrong in tracking ballots by precinct.
According to Michigan state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match up with the number of ballots cast can’t be recounted. That might present problems for any eventual presidential recount in the state, as it did in 2016.
For now, it seems clear that credible evidence of election fraud has surfaced in Detroit, which is not surprising given Detroit’s troubled history of election fraud. But it’s also deeply disturbing. The Trump campaign’s lawsuit to halt what appears to be a corrupt process is, in this case, entirely appropriate. We need to get to the bottom of what’s going on in Detroit.