Diary

Counting the Votes

When faced with events totally unconnected to your expectations and frame of thought one has the option of re-thinking your assumptions or looking for a conspiracy with your adversaries playing some angle which you do not understand. There is a fragment of the Left which is just unable to comprehend that the Deplorables delivered a majority in the Electoral College to Donald Trump. In the progressive tradition of San Francisco and their oft-beaten cousins in Madison, Wisconsin, if you don’t like the result that the system gives you, throw some sand in the gears.

Jill Stein’s hopeless quest for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and Donald Trump’s rejoinder of millions of fraudulent votes undermine the reality that a timely, definitive, reasonable result is more important than an impossible, totally accurate result. Nixon acceded to that reality in 1960 when he did not challenge Mayor Richard Daley’s delivery of the election to Jack Kennedy. Al Gore contested it fruitlessly when his 35 day challenge in Florida ended at the Supreme Court. Barrack Obama understood it when he disavowed Stein’s challenge.

Some thoughts on the current state of affairs:

1. The question of integrity of elections has very little to do with high-minded principles, and much to do with raw political power. Each side employs armies of lawyers to oversee elections, challenge counts, and file lawsuits. With tens of thousands of people – many with biases; a few not – managing a highly decentralized process, there is no such thing as a precisely accurate answer. This is sausage making, with the hope of keeping visible inaccuracies to a minimum.

2. There is no conceivable outcome of Stein’s recounts which would reverse the result. Even if these states were to somehow have their electors disqualified with nobody getting 270 votes in the Electoral College, the question would go to the House and Senate where Trump and Pence would easily carry the day. At most, the objective is to de-legitimize the Trump administration.

3. The thrashing about will continue to January 20 – bribes and threats to get 37 Electors to violate their oaths; much discussion about the irrelevant popular vote and the need to banish the Electoral College (requiring a Constitutional Amendment against the interests of a majority of states); a movement for California to secede (perhaps followed by a secession of the conservative rural areas from the liberal coastal enclaves).

And some longer term thoughts:

1. The concern about hacking election systems needs to be addressed before there is a real domestic scandal or international plot. This is difficult with systems and processes being controlled at the county or municipality level, but there should be clear “best practices” relative to data bases, transmission of raw voting data, and connection of voting machines to the internet.

2. Where “absentee” or other “vote by mail” systems are in effect, there is no guarantee who fills out the ballot. (Oregon is 100% vote by mail; California over 50 %.) It is no longer necessary for partisans to run buses from the union halls and nursing homes.

3. According to the Pew Center there are some 1.8 million dead people on the voter rolls and 2.75 million are registered to vote in two or more states. Getting rid of bogus voters is more important than the marginal election day tampering after votes are cast.

4. The time is ripe for voter ID laws.

We are entering a new age where many of the things the public has come to accept will be swept aside. Ballot integrity is probably not a priority, given the breadth of the Trump agenda, but it just may be that Jill Stein’s pointless quest and Trump’s overblown verbal response will lead to some progress during this unusual and limited period of Republican national and state-level ascendancy.

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This week’s bonus is an exceptionally cogent explanation of why Trump won, “Uniquely Talented: Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump” by Fred Reed at LewRockwell.com – thanks to an alert Florida reader. With mainstream media still bonkers and much of the Establishment opposed to Trump, some new sources of “Truth” are necessary.

www.RightinSanFrancisco.com – 12/2/16