Despite an almost superhuman mass effort to pretend that the Trump era has been unceremoniously renounced and condemned, the election verdict on the evening of November 8 remains unclear. As was widely foreseen, there are serious problems with the invocation of the coronavirus as an excuse for plunging into a system of mail-in voting in which unsolicited ballots were sent to everyone on the voters’ register, assuring a huge number of physical ballots floating about un-received by voters who have moved or died, or unused by voters who have chosen to vote in advance polls or in person.
This seems to have been used by the Democrats in selected swing states that they govern to tilt and stack the vote. There was no difficulty in getting all the votes in on time in the most populous states which either had Democratic governors and assured Democratic victories or in states with Republican governors, even where there were relatively tight elections. There are no significant allegations of electoral skulduggery in any Republican-governed state.
What’s more, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio—states with a total of 187 electoral votes and three governed by majorities of both major parties—managed to count approximately 50 million votes on Election Day with no serious suggestions of technical failures or dishonest conduct, and Florida and Ohio, though they were not ultimately close, were hotly contested states.
The problems have been where large numbers of mailed ballots came in late and in suspiciously uniform blocks or without verification by scrutineers of both parties required by election law in all states (the Constitution consigns the administration of elections to state legislatures). These problems have arisen in closely contested and relatively large states governed by Democrats.
Thus, the Nevada vote is coming in unevenly and with questions about whether the many out-of-state condo owners have, voluntarily or otherwise, contributed to Democratic ballot harvesting, but neighboring Republican-governed Arizona has conducted an extremely close election with meticulous care.
There were no problems in Republican-governed Iowa and Ohio, which were thought to be in play, while there have been very strange goings-on in hotly contested, Democrat-governed Michigan and Wisconsin. Similarly nothing unusual is reported in larger but one-sided neighboring Illinois. Georgia, also desperately close and with a Republican governor, has proceeded uncontroversially, though slowly, toward its decision.
As this is written, Arizona and Georgia are legitimately undecided because they are very close. It was evidently irresponsible of Fox News to call Arizona for Biden on Election Night, and indicative of the apparent defection of that network, the admirable exception to the Trump-hate of all of its competitors for the last four years.
If Trump ultimately wins Arizona and Georgia and the networks finally accord him North Carolina and Alaska, which were both clearly states he won by late on Election Night, that will bring his total electoral votes to 259, against Biden’s 263, the entire difference in the election result residing in Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
The allocation of Pennsylvania to Biden must also be considered very uncertain. Those administering the election, in Philadelphia at least, have ignored the legislative requirement for scrutineers of both major parties to be able to verify every ballot. They also for a time ignored the order by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that all ballots cast in the period authorized by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court but not by the state legislature as the Constitution requires, be segregated in the event of a need for a separate recount.
Alito’s order is now apparently being honored and the proceedings before the full court on presidential voting in Pennsylvania will begin Monday morning. The Biden camp cannot possibly be confident of the outcome. If Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania come for Trump, the president wins reelection.
In the circumstances, it was completely irresponsible for the news networks and Associated Press to take it upon themselves to declare that Biden had won the election on Saturday morning. It is difficult to see this as anything other than the coruscation of the American national political media’s four-year orgy of Trump-hate. This expedition grossly oversold the phony and probably criminal Trump-Russia collusion scam and the spurious impeachment over an unexceptionable telephone call with the president of Ukraine. It went on to indulge the manipulation of the COVID-19 crisis to open up a superhighway of fraudulent vote counting, while their allied polling organizations deliberately or negligently bombarded the public with unfounded claims that Trump would be buried in a landslide on Election Day. It did not happen, as all the world knows, and this is the last throw.
Joe Biden may indeed have won the election, but we don’t know that and the media don’t know that either. By their action on Saturday, the American national political media may have permanently forfeited their customary right to announce the winner of American presidential elections. After the election result announcement, most of the television network media commentary was as rabidly partisan as in a traditional totalitarian country celebrating an almost-unanimous election result.
As NBC celebrated the end of racism and division, it was reminiscent of the international broadcasts from Romania following Nicolae Ceaușescu’s unanimous popular reelections—that is, prior to his being driven from his palace by mobs, seized and convicted of attempted genocide, and singing “The Internationale” as he was conducted before a firing squad, swollen to a virtual battalion by the large numbers of people who wished to join it. No one seeks or expects such a fate for Joe Biden.
On Sunday morning, Michelle Obama sent out her sequel to Joe Biden’s call for a reduction of partisan hostility in his victory speech of Saturday night. Obama wrote the Democrats must recognize that 71 million people had voted for “lies, hate, chaos, and division” (including sharply increased numbers of African Americans and Latinos). That is certainly a promising overture to national reconciliation.
Even if the media’s call for Biden had been remotely sincere, it would be premature. The Democrats and media (they are now almost wholly coextensive) respond that the Republicans have yet to produce solid evidence, the same response that they gave when President Trump first announced that his enemies had tapped his telephones and spied on his campaign, prior to the confirmation that Trump’s allegations were entirely true. In this case, the Republicans would not have the evidence; the elections officers would and it would only be released on judicial demand for its production which has now occurred in many cases and many states.
As authoritative legal commentator Jonathan Turley tweeted on Saturday night, these Trump lawsuits are “torpedoes in the water, and it is impossible to tell where they will strike and how much damage they will do.” But they are not just the firing of the scattergun as Trump’s enemies have suggested. There is room for great doubt about the probity of this election. The Democrats made their supreme gamble: they may win, and win fairly. But if a comprehensive fraud is exposed, the anti-Trump movement will blow itself to pieces.