It is pleasant and encouraging to read a substantial article about American conservatives in the New York Times Magazine and to come away with the impression that it is fair-minded, generally accurate, and intelligent—especially if it is an article not about just any conservatives, but about your friends and even, in passing, you.
Elisabeth Zerofsky’s 7,500 word essay on the Claremont Institute for the August 7 edition of the magazine is titled, “How the Claremont Institute Became a Nerve Center of the American Right.” She spent many hours over several months researching, reading, and interviewing to produce a mostly well-informed account of how, in her words, the Claremont Institute became part of the “new Republican establishment that the Trump revolution brought into power.”
The Claremont Institute is an old friend of American Greatness and will be familiar to most AG readers as a California think tank whose mission is to restore the principles of the American founding to beautiful authority in America. Introducing her article on Twitter, Zerofsky wrote that she “wanted to understand Claremont as Claremont understands itself.” As a director and senior fellow of the institute, I thought this was an admirable approach, one that would be familiar to and respected by all Claremonters.
Naturally, some portion of Zerofsky’s essay reflects on events that have recently brought the Claremont Institute more into the headlines than usual: notably, John Eastman’s role as an attorney advising President Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. John is a senior fellow and founder and director of Claremont’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.
He became famous for challenging the constitutionality of the 2020 election.
Zerofsky quotes me—accurately—saying that John Eastman is “an American hero.” My reasons for believing this have to do with another statement she makes in her essay, which doesn’t seem to me to rise to the journalistic standard she otherwise observes.
Surveying a variety of views about what happened in the 2020 election, she writes parenthetically: “There is no evidence of electoral irregularities sufficient to change the outcome of the election.” That is the kind of unsupported categorical statement one expects from the so-called January 6 committee and its media lackies, who repeat the mantra “baseless” and “debunked” and “disinformation” before every allegation or demonstration of “irregularities” in the 2020 election. I was surprised and disappointed to read it coming from the pen of a respectable journalist.
The five year-long and continuing Russia collusion hoax, the various FBI efforts to influence the election, the open conspiracy to suppress reporting on Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop, the $400 million Zuckerberg intervention—any one of these “irregularities” by itself could certainly have changed the outcome of the election. Combined with multitudes of other irregularities, they make the 2020 election, in Mollie Hemingway’s words, “unlike any in American history.”
No one has done more than Hemingway to bring to public attention the evidence that irregularities could certainly have changed the result of the 2020 election. There is of course her book, Rigged. But she continues on the case: see here and here.
Zerofsky, presumably, is using the term more narrowly. She refers not to the large strategic irregularities taking place over five years that amount, in my view, to a rolling coup, but to illegalities or fraud in the election itself. Still, contrary to her unsupported statement, there is abundant and growing evidence for such narrower “irregularities,” which—again, in my view—put the finishing touches on the rolling coup.
John Eastman has been accumulating this evidence (see, for example, here and here) for over a year and a half. It is certainly fair to disagree with his conclusions, but to claim that there is “no evidence” seems to be sinking to the level of the J6 committee propagandists. It was because he thought the unconstitutional violations of election law in several swing states could indeed have affected the outcome of the election, that John put his life on the line to try to stop what he had good reason to believe was an unconstitutional election.
I do not say lightly, “put his life on the line.” We have all seen over the past several years, how the increasingly Stalinist Democratic (bipartisan) machine comes to destroy anyone who dares to challenge or disagree with it. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is just one vivid recent example among many: first the machine sinks to the depths of evil to assassinate his character, then a literal assassin shows up at his door.
In John’s case, the Stalinist machine has not only imposed on him hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees, and sicced armed FBI agents on him in his neighborhood, it is trying to make it impossible for him to earn a living, and it is threatening to give him the un-American and tyrannical treatment meted out to the January 6 political prisoners (read everything Julie Kelly writes on this).
In the meantime, the local papers, part of the machine, publish the vicinity of his home and inform their readers how to obtain his address. Machine street thugs follow up, spray-painting his address on the street and on the bridge leading to his home, with “Eastman Traitor,” and even with an arrow pointing toward his house.
He finds long spikes buried in the end of his dirt driveway, which have damaged tires on family cars and cars of visitors. Demonstrators gather daily, becoming more and more aggressive. A constant stream of hate email and voice messages, some of them criminal, makes it impossible to answer either his landline or cell without going first to voicemail.
That is the way the Stalinist Democratic (and now, bipartisan) machine operates, and it has become increasingly violent, even frenzied, in the past five years.
John Eastman is standing up to the tyrannical violence of this machine, because he thinks the Stalinist (bipartisan) Democrats are not just tyrants but usurpers. I agree with him and so think he is an American hero.
Zerofsky no doubt disagrees with some or all of this. But I hope she will make a renewed effort to understand John as he understands himself. If she brought her intellectual curiosity and considerable investigatory powers to bear, she might even conclude that the irregularities (in the strategic and tactical sense) in the 2020 election constituted the greatest political crime in American history. Pulitzers, MacArthur Genius Grants, are in the offing.