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.
I specifically waited to write this post until the election was over. As we now know, and many predicted (including this writer), this one may not be over this week! For the sanity of the voting public, we need a better system.
As it is, there is at least one uncontested result of this election: the pollsters (with some exceptions) got it wrong again. After all the assurances that their mistakes of 2016 had been identified and corrected, we find that that was not the case. It seems obvious that, in both campaigns, they “missed” millions of voters – mostly on the Trump side.
There have been allegations of purposeful manipulations of survey data to make the Biden campaign look stronger than it was. But, whether intentional or not, the errors are too blatant to merit any confidence in their “data”. Here is an industry which must reform itself or it will not survive.
What else has Election Day taught us? In some ways, the campaign was a story of the “The tortoise and the hare”, although the hare may have actually won this race. Certainly, this race was like nothing else in my lifetime. That applies to both candidates: Biden campaigned less than any candidate in my memory; while Trump’s choice of a campaign activity – the political rally – almost exclusively was unlike any I can remember. Then the way he used it toward the end of the campaign was quite astonishing.
Another distinguishing characteristic was the major premise of the Dems’ strategy to run their entire appeal as a protest against the President. More than anything else, theirs was a “Dump Trump” message. It allowed them to transcend a confusing message on so many other policy issues, often because different spokespersons were presenting different answers. In the end, none of this seems to have mattered.
It seems there’s not a lot more to say about the election at this stage. We don’t know a lot more about the people’s choices on a score of simmering issues. Nor do we know what kind of a future awaits us. This is one day I’m glad I am not required to buy and sell stocks for the future!
A group led by former New Jersey GOP Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said Friday it would be spending “at least” $10 million on a digital, television, and direct mail campaign in key states with the intent of defeating President Donald J. Trump in his bid for re-election.
“Millions of lifelong Republicans who have voted Republican in every presidential election are ashamed of Donald Trump’s lack of decency and incompetence,” Whitman, the former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under George W. Bush and national chairwoman of the Steering Committee for Republicans and Independents for Biden. Her group is one of several composed of one-time GOP elected officials and political consultants who are engaged in efforts to stop Mr. Trump from winning a second term.
The campaign will be surgically targeted, the groups said in a release, to suburban voters, particularly suburban women who, it claimed, “have been fleeing the Republican party in droves” over concerns for Mr. Trump’s character and his lack of empathy for the American middle class.
“His refusal to follow the science has led to over 200,000 American lives lost to the pandemic and voters across the country know it. Republicans and Independents For Biden will spend the rest of this election letting Republican voters know that it is okay to set our partisan differences aside in this election and vote for the only decent, experienced, leader on the ballot,” Whitman – who was twice elected governor of New Jersey with less than 50 percent of the vote said.
The group’s first ad in the campaign, “Daughters,” will initially begin appearing in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona almost immediately across multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and television streaming services.
Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona are all home to pockets of suburban women who voted for Trump in 2016 but, according to polls the group conducted for the ad campaign women, “are not only concerned about his glaring character deficiencies, but also his incompetent and inadequate response in addressing the coronavirus.”
According to its release, Whitman’s organization is “affiliated with and paid for by The Lincoln Project,” a group formed by high-profile GOP operatives, several of whom are veterans of the McCain presidential campaign. The group has been criticized by many regular Republicans for taking multiple, large dollar contributions from Democrats and for expanding its efforts into campaigns for the U.S. Senate with the intent of flipping control of the body to the Democrats in the 2020 election.
Among those involved in The Lincoln Project are former McCain presidential campaign senior strategist Steve Schmidt, former McCain and John Kasich for President aide John Weaver, former Evan McMullin strategist Rick Wilson, and Jennifer Horn, the one-time chairman of the New Hampshire State Republican Party.
State says it will accept ballots for 8 days after election, even without postmark
Republicans are challenging a move by Minnesota election officials to allow ballots to be counted past Election Day even if they are not postmarked.
State representative Eric Lucero (R.) and Republican elector James Carson filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging secretary of state Steve Simon’s consent decree that allows mail-in ballots to be counted as late as eight days after Election Day with or without a postmark. The lawsuit argues the decree violates the U.S. Constitution by moving the ballot deadline without the authority of the state legislature and violates federal law by permitting “ballots with no post mark and no evidence of having been cast on November 3” to be counted.
“This means that persons in Minnesota may vote for days after Election Day and have their votes counted,” the lawsuit states. It also warns that the decree will likely lead to disputed results, disenfranchised voters, and may even cause the results of the vote in Minnesota to be rejected entirely.
The consent decree states that if a ballot is not postmarked, “the election official reviewing the ballot should presume that it was mailed on or before Election Day unless the preponderance demonstrates it was mailed after Election Day.” Simon described the seven-day window as “an automatic seven-day cushion” for Minnesota voters.
Simon’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the assumption that unmarked ballots were sent on or before Election Day.
The lawsuit was filed with the support of the Honest Elections Project, a nonpartisan election integrity group whose executive director Jason Snead told the Washington Free Beacon that the decree could incentivize illegal voting.
“You wind up with these ballots that arrive potentially many days after the election, they could be the decisive ballots. But there’s absolutely no proof that they were cast validly on Election Day,” Snead said. “And when you consider what’s at stake here, not only does that amplify the need for us to have clear outcomes, it also amplifies the incentive to try to gin up a few extra ballots after the fact if you see that your candidate is losing.”
“Even if that’s not going to happen, the mere fact that it is possible risks casting doubt on the result,” he said.
Minnesota is among 16 other states this year that permit mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day to be counted, including the battleground states of North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Texas. With the exception of West Virginia, which allows ballots without postmarks to be counted up to one day after the election, it is the only state to allow ballots without postmarks to be counted.
As the election nears, Republicans and Democrats have stepped up efforts to litigate state voting regulations. Lawsuits filed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and Nevada have pitted the parties against one another in protracted fights over the use of ballot drop boxes, and ballot deadlines, as well as rules for collecting, processing, and counting ballots. Republicans have largely favored maintaining existing voting regulations within states, while Democrats have advocated expanding voting access and loosening regulations.
Twitter, the social media giant that dominates online chatter, suspended Friday the account of the pro-ballot integrity group “True the Vote,” after alleging the group’s tweets about military ballots and voting deadlines violated the platform’s rules.
True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht responded angrily to the move, the latest in a series of actions by the media platform that have some accusing it of trying to stifle debate and the free flow of information during the election season to the detriment of conservative candidates and activists.
Twitter temporarily suspended the group’s account, according to a statement from Engelbrecht, after a Sept. 15 post that encouraged citizens and potential voters to confirm their counties were following the rules for mailing out ballots to members of the military serving in other states and overseas.
Twitter and other social media sites have in recent months announced new policies to protect against tampering by foreign nationals and security agencies seeking to affect the 2020 election. The increased supervision of posts began after congressional investigating committees and an inquiry overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller all concluded the Russians had penetrated U.S. social media platforms with misleading messages during the 2016 campaign. No evidence was ever produced, however, that demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow in these activities as many Democrats charged then and still maintain was the case.
Advocates for the military have for some time complained that ballots for local, state, and federal elections are often not mailed out early enough for soldiers, sailors, and Marines serving overseas to receive them, fill them out, and return them in time for them to be counted. Effectively, they say, this leaves America’s troops in the field – many of whom are presumed to vote Republican – disenfranchised.
“True the Vote, an election integrity advocacy organization, was sending out information of public interest regarding deadlines for our military voters, pursuant to the ‘Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment’ Act, federal law, which requires states to send absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters at least 45 days before federal elections,” Englebrecht said, adding that information “in no way” violated Twitter’s terms of service.
The now-controversial tweet was “retweeted” by President Donald J. Trump two days after it was initially posted, an act Engelbrecht suggested in a statement might have provoked the ire of Trump opponents inside Twitter supervising what goes up on the platform while searching for electoral disinformation.
True the Vote is appealing the sanction and said it fully expects to have its access to the site restored in short order. Officials at Twitter could not be reached for comment.
With less than two months to go until the election former Vice President Joe Biden’s once considerable lead over Donald J. Trump appears to be vanishing. Polls are showing the Democrat still ahead nationally and in several crucial swing states. Many equally reliable surveys however show the president closing.
Whether this is due to a change in voter attitudes or a change in polling methodology and the way pollsters look at their numbers is anyone’s guess. Public opinion surveys are highly objective analyses of electoral sentiment that can be influenced by both those crunching the numbers and those participating.
Any good survey seeks to replicate the partisan and ideological breakdown of the electorate that will be participating in the next election based largely on what happened in the last. That’s not always a reliable measure as it requires those conducting surveys to manipulate the numbers to account for ideology, partisanship, race, religion, and gender among the respondents that may not resemble who shows up on Election Day.
Environment influences optics. People in solidly Democratic areas are likely to feel comfortable putting Biden/Harris signs in their yards while Trump/Pence supporters in the same neighborhoods might be reluctant to bring attention to their intentions. Demonstrating support for the president, an admittedly divisive figure, can have adverse consequences. In one notorious incident, two 21-year-old women stole a “Make America Great Again” hat off the head of a seven-year-old boy at August’s Delaware Democratic state convention.
They’re now charged with hate crimes as well as robbery, conspiracy, and endangering the welfare of a child – and what they did what was inarguably cruel – but it hardly scratches the surface of what’s going on around the country. The social sanction shown toward Trump supporters is severe and encouraged by Democratic leaders. Congresswomen Maxine Waters, chairman of the House Banking Committee, famously told participants in a California rally that, as far as administration officials were concerned, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Rhetoric and behavior like that can be intimidating. Few people want to open themselves up to the social sanction and shunning that attaches to being a supporter of the president. This may be why, as a recent Rasmussen Reports poll indicated, 17 percent of likely voters who give Trump’s job approval high marks say they are reluctant to let others know how they intend to vote in the fall. “A similar but narrower gap is evident between the two parties,” the polling firm said, with 16 percent of Republicans being less likely to tell others how they intend to vote, compared to 12 percent of Democrats.
This phenomenon was likely present in 2016 as well. Most pre-election polls showed former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton winning the White House easily. Instead, Trump won by the narrowest of margins by pulling together enough narrow victories in the 50 separate state elections that constitute a presidential contest to win a clear if not necessarily convincing victory in the Electoral College. If it is again present, as Rasmussen Report’s latest survey suggests, then most national and state surveys are undercounting the president’s level of support.
If that’s true, then the race is a lot tighter than people are being led to believe by most of the reporting on the race. Other surveys have shown GOP satisfaction with Trump to be much higher than the Democrat’s happiness with Biden. Republicans who say they are likely to vote are also showing much more enthusiasm as regards their participation in the upcoming election than their counterparts. These numbers too suggest support for the president’s re-election is being under-estimated rather than reported accurately even if the numbers in the national surveys say what they say.
The Donald Trump Show
The 2020 political conventions have drawn to a close with the dramatic (and late night) end of the Republican Convention. And what a show each party presented.
Last week we discussed the Democrats’ effort based on two criteria, technical and content. We’ll do the same for the Republicans.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) broke new ground technically with this production. The bulk of the time for the first 3 ½ sessions was a series of testimonies by a vast variety of people, mostly non-politicians, who told their personal stories. All were interesting, many were gripping – like the widow of the retired police chief in St. Louis who was killed by the rioters, or the young Congressional candidate, who rose from his wheel chair to salute the flag, or the young ex-Planned Parenthood staffer who was appalled by what she saw in a live abortion – and the list goes on.
From a technical point of view, the variety of settings for each presentation, the musical interludes, and, most of all, the pacing of the program was exceptional. The only way so many speeches could have been packed into the time allowed depended on strict discipline of timing, variety of material, insertions of video clips to dramatize the speaker’s prose, and of the settings – all of which were exceptional. This discipline included even time limits on usually long-winded politicians – one of the more impressive features of the program.
The program ended with a brief but spectacular fireworks display and a closing few songs featuring tenor, Christopher Macchio, although the lateness of the hour may have made this segment harder to appreciate.
In all, the technical framework of the convention set a new standard for this type of program, using many of the techniques of documentaries for live presentations. Actually, it is hard to imagine anything but a state-of-the-art production for a man who topped TV ratings for years.
Like last week’s content, the content of either party tends to be controversial, appreciated by the advocates, scorned by the opposition. So, it is with this convention. As a sympathizer with the Republicans, my vies are colored by my own preferences.
That having been said, I was very impressed by the messages of this convention. Among the most impressive features were the number and variety of the presenters. Most were ordinary Americans, whose stories varied in content, tone, accent, and perspective. All, of course, came to the same conclusion – they were voting Republican. The interesting part was the individual starting points. Especially interesting were the Black endorsements, some from Democrats. Also impressive were the young men and women who are the future of the party, led by Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, and Tim Scott, among several others.
The last half of the last evening was devoted to Donald J. Trump, sitting 45th President of the United States of America. The earlier testimonials were a mixture of endorsements of the President, criticisms of the Biden/Harris ticket, and explanations of generic preference for either the Republican party or specific issues, especially reasons for Black support for Trump over Biden. This last segment was devoted to endorsements of Trump by a variety of people, ranging from ordinary Americans to politicians. Finally, the President himself gave his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for the presidency.
The speech was an indictment of the Democrats’ prospective policies, Mr. Biden himself, based on his half century record of public service, recap of Mr. Trump’s own record of the past three+ years, and his plans for the future. His agenda is mostly well known, although he supplied a surprising detail of some of the planned initiatives. His tone was somewhat subdued compared to some other speeches, but he covered a wide range of subjects. As expected, his speech was very long.
While we on the subject of Mr. Trump, here are some observations I would like to share. I recently had occasion to watch some of his 2015-16 debates. There is no question that he was a brutal, bullying candidate. Never have I seen such behavior before in a formal setting like a presidential debate. It was prompted, I believe, by his distain for all politicians, especially in national office, although he also criticized Dr. Ben Carson as being “low-energy”. Looking back, I think that it was this behavior which gained him a bad reputation among many otherwise open-minded people. I believe he is still paying for that period, even though it did not stop him from winning both the nomination and the election.
I believe that Donald J. Trump has experienced some significant changes since he became President. One of the most significant changes has been his attitude towards politicians. He quickly realized that he needed their support in order to get done some of his most important priorities. He has succeeded in converting some of his most offended victims (but not the Bushes) as well as virtually all the Republicans in Congress from enemies into fervent advocates. Prime examples are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. He even persuaded Dr. Carson to join his cabinet. Since taking office, he has turned into a great advocate of the Republican Party, campaigning religiously for Republican candidates throughout the country. He has accepted the mantle of head of the Party and pursued it with his characteristic vigor.
Another area of his life has also seen change in my opinion. That is his private life, particularly his personal conduct and his religious practice. Like many other presidents, (not all) he has “grown into the job”. His life is now lived in a glass house – everything he does or says is noted and publicized. He cannot afford to be seen in any questionable behavior. He has become a straight arrow.
He also has, I believe, become more aware that he depends on a force beyond his or anyone’s control. Never known to be particularly religious, he is now seen praying in church and in public, seen as a strong advocate of freedom of religion, and generally deserving of the strong support he received from the evangelical community. Some would say he is masquerading. I believe he is sincere, influenced perhaps by Melania. Sincere or not, it is hard to contest the behavior.
The case for a Trump electoral victory was strengthened by the 2020 Republican convention, with its message of hope, prosperity and equality. We will see how long it lasts.
Everyone who has considered universal mail-in ballots for any length of time knows it would be disastrous.
With the upcoming presidential election, the left is increasingly dispensing with logic and common sense as they push for universal mail-in ballots. It doesn’t take much to see what a disaster this election would become under such an approach. As Attorney General Bill Barr rightly responded when asked if he had evidence that a mail-in ballot election could be rigged, “No, but I have common sense.”
The same logical fallacies that plagued the ridiculous 2+2=4 controversy are now repeated ad nauseam to convince Americans they should adopt universal mail-in ballots to ensure a fair and safe election. In states such as California and Nevada, residents have received mail-in ballots automatically.
Many have gone along with universal mail-in ballots because “experts” endorse them, not necessarily because they have examined the reasoning behind the movement. Arguments from authority, a popular logical fallacy these days, will successfully sway many people who have no interest in looking into the matter. If a so-called fact-checker such as Snopes labels “mostly false” the claim that universal mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud, many will agree and assume the issue is closed.
For those who bother to examine the reasoning for universal mail-in ballots, they will find more logical fallacies behind it all. Beyond relying on arguments from authority, many advocates of universal mail-in ballots will primarily mix up the terms to muddy the waters and derail the conversation, conflating absentee voting, early voting, and universal mail-in voting and treating them all alike. As a bonus, they then accuse President Donald Trump of being a hypocrite for applying for a mail-in ballot himself, and pop-star pundits such as Taylor Swift will stridently condemn his refusal to increase funding for a dysfunctional U.S. Postal Service.
To be clear, an absentee ballot requires an application and various forms of authentication from the person making the request. Universal mail-in ballots do not require an application or much authentication from the voter, so no one can say where they go or who is filling them out. Early voting is simply another option for people to vote before the Election Day rush. Each method works differently, so no one should equate the success of one method with the others. Trump successfully mailing his ballot to Florida doesn’t somehow justify sending a random mail-in ballot to a deceased cat.
Another tactic that abuses the same fallacy is to equate one state’s experience with that of every other state. Mail-in voting proponents love pointing to Utah’s universal mail-in ballots — and what conservative American could argue against anything Utah does? Utah, however, has built up the infrastructure to distribute and collect universal mail-in ballots while other states, such as New York and California, have not, which explains the long delays in tallying votes and innumerable ballots being voided.
If those opposing universal mail-in ballots can make it through these bad arguments, they will then run another one: that mail-in voting has shown little actual evidence of fraud. This statement begs the question because few people ever explain how fraud is detected for a mail-in ballot. In most cases, ballots are verified by a simple signature. If election officials detect a difference between the signature on the ballot and another signature presumably on file, they can report an instance of fraud, which a court can then arbitrate.
This means a person counting votes has every reason to accept a signature and no reason to contest it, unless he wants to go through a messy legal process he might not be able to win. If this is the case, there could be many instances of fraud in mail-in voting, but no one would ever really know.
Furthermore, instances of election officials losing ballots or throwing them away, which happens often, does not actually count as fraud. Even if one-fifth of ballots from New Yorkers might never be counted, that doesn’t necessarily translate to massive fraud in universal mail-in ballots, but massive incompetence. This distinction thus allows Trump’s opponents to attack him for using the word “fraud” when “failure” would be a much more accurate term.
Using universal mail-in ballots would be like giving a test to a class without bothering to proctor it, count out the number of tests correctly, nor even pass it out to the correct students. No one reports any cheating — not the students, the random kids who have a copy of the test, nor the negligent proctor. When the administrator collects the test, he finds many copies in the trash. In the end, however, everyone involved claims the test was fair and that changing this method of testing would be unwarranted and discriminatory.
That’s why everyone who has considered universal mail-in ballots for any length of time knows it would be disastrous. As Barr said, common sense strongly argues against universal mail-in ballots.
Nonetheless, common sense means little when so many people accept the false dilemma of risking their health to exercise their right to vote. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a woman who said marijuana could be used to treat COVID-19, declared without a hint of irony, “People should not have to choose between their health and their vote, and that’s very important.”
Pelosi is right to say voting is important, but she’s wrong to say it’s a choice between health and voting. It really a choice between accepting reason or succumbing to insanity.