While we of God’s Own Party had our eyes on the House and the Senate, Democrats in Michigan and their funders nationwide had their eyes on the real prize: the rules by which votes are cast and counted.
There is an international consensus that secure, trustworthy elections means strict voter ID requirements and in-person voting rather than drop boxes or vote-by-mail. In response to the chaos of the 2020 election, in which many Detroit precinct totals simply didn’t add up, the Michigan legislature passed an effective voter ID law, which Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed.
To prevent any threat of honest elections in Michigan’s future, Michigan Democrats came up Proposal 2, amending Michigan’s Constitution to mandate drop boxes, allow unlimited third-party funding of ballot harvesting, prohibit election audits except as conducted under the supervision of the secretary of state, and ban effective voter ID laws.
Drop boxes and ballot harvesting means that canvassers can cajole, bribe, or scare you into voting their way and then drop off the ballot anonymously. The prohibition on legislative or independent election audits means that there is no effective check on any fraud scheme to which the secretary of state is a party. The ban on effective voter ID laws means that all anybody has to do to vote as somebody else is to sign in as them at the polling place.
Until it was too late, until after Election Day, I heard nothing about Proposal 2. Its proponents outraised its opponents three to one, with almost half of the contributions laundered through the Democrats’ national dark money slush fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund.
Why should those of us beyond Michigan have been alarmed before it was too late? Michigan now joins Pennsylvania, which prohibits signature verification of completed mail-in ballots, the only even theoretically effective way to prevent mail-in voter impersonation, in the Blue Wall of Fraud. That is my name for a set of states which as recently as 2016 went Republican in statewide and presidential elections, but (in part during the darkest days of the COVID panic) erected voting laws that made their procedures untrustworthy and unreviewable. How Republicans can recapture the presidency while the Blue Wall of Fraud stands is frankly beyond me.
By constitutionalizing a ban on honest elections, Michigan has gone even further than Pennsylvania, because the Michigan legislature cannot roll back any of this wickedness without first getting statewide voter approval under these utterly dishonest rules. Legislative elections, which in the United States are always local, are less vulnerable to fraud and force than statewide elections, in part for the cynical reason that if you can steal an election in a legislative district, you probably have the local organizational muscle to win it more or less honestly. But a statewide election can be stolen by a single locality stuffing a ballot box, with the active complicity or willful blindness of partisan state executive officials.
What can be done now? Beyond Michigan, be on guard against similar steals.
But in Michigan, not much. Election theft is so easy in Michigan after Proposal 2 that it hardly counts as a crime and I cannot see any state-based legal strategy that would work to fight it. True, such manifestly dishonest ways of running elections are clear civil rights violations, subject to congressional policing and federal executive action, and the Feds can trump the Michigan Constitution if they have the will to do so.
But without honest elections in every state in the Rust Belt can Republicans even win the presidency to enforce civil rights in Michigan? The 2024 map looks pretty bleak to me.
The only way I can see to apply nationwide pressure from below against these corruptions of the electoral process is for actual partisans of democracy to boycott the states that offend against it. Forget Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler, patriots: buy a Tesla from Texas, or a Toyota from Kentucky—and remind at every opportunity your relatives and former friends from Michigan that under their new constitution they are either slaves or fools of the fraudsters and their billionaire funders.