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How to destroy democracy It's not just Trump: the Democrats also have form when it comes to questioning an election's legitimacy

In Pennsylvania, they're convinced that Joe Biden has cheated. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty

In Pennsylvania, they're convinced that Joe Biden has cheated. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty


November 10, 2020   5 mins

“I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”, tweeted President Trump on Saturday. Then, on Sunday: “This was a stolen election.”

Many were shocked to hear him speak in such terms. But in Africa, this sort of language is commonplace, and disputed elections are routine. I remember one presidential ballot in Togo, during which the incumbent stopped the count and declared himself the winner. I quipped that his was “le vote d’or”, and an African friend just reminded me of this, seeing sharp parallels with Trump’s behaviour.

As a society polarises, so questions of legitimacy surround elections. In the past few months alone there have been allegations of voting irregularities, fraud and cheating in Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Guinea — the losers crying foul, and calling for civil disobedience, supporters being beaten to death. This isn’t just a question of bad losers; this is about the destruction of democracy. Indeed, in many places in Africa, such as Tanzania, it seems close to death.

Many Americans, not least Trump himself, will doubtless find this comparison demeaning. The myth of American exceptionalism will die hard. But what the nation is facing fits a generic pattern: America would be wise to learn from Africa, before the damage is such that it cannot be repaired.

Once a society is split by polarised identities, each seeing the opposing group as an existential threat, any losing candidate benefits from claiming that the winner cheated. It seeds a narrative that in the eyes of supporters — such as the 70 million Americans who voted for the Trump — undermines the legitimacy of the winner. And the consequences can be devastating.

The business of a democratic government is to achieve the collective purposes for which it was elected. This depends upon many people accepting that they should comply with actions necessary for achieving those purposes, even though they would prefer not to do so. Conversely, they accept that they should refrain from other actions that would frustrate those purposes. This acceptance is the practical meaning of legitimacy.

In America, even more than in Africa, once opponents are able to tell themselves that they are under no such obligation, they will stop at nothing to frustrate a presidential agenda. America has so many potential checks and balances that if abused, like filibusters, specious court cases, and misleadingly phrased plebiscites, government can grind to a halt. The slide towards opposition without bounds does, as we are seeing now, seem well under way — and the Democrats have inadvertently helped it along. First with Bush, and then with Trump, they questioned the validity of the electoral process. And when it becomes a salient bipartisan political activity to challenge the prevailing rules and procedures of the electoral process, democracy will start to unravel.

What, then, can be done to halt and reverse the damage

The courts can’t help. In fact, they’ll probably make things worse. Trump has already threatened to try it. While Biden will, of course, win, in the eyes of many Trump supporters this will not restore legitimacy. Lawyers for each side will put forward rival narratives, and polarised supporters will accept their own side’s version. The judges, however, are no longer seen as above politics: they are widely seen as having been appointed for their political allegiance. This is especially so among Trump’s supporters, who perceive lawyers and the judiciary as being predominantly Democrat. So, Biden’s success in the courts will merely accentuate, in the eyes of Trump’s people, the intransigent self-righteousness of Democrat activists, which is already part of the problem.

In my experience, there is only one way of resolving these sorts of differences — and it doesn’t involve the courts. The first mover has to be the winner: think Nelson Mandela, and Yitzhak Rabin. Instead of victor’s justice, there has to be a “dialogue” established on the electoral process which establishes a “common core” of agreement. A “dialogue” is not a shouting match: it is a non-abusive conversation between equals, in which each party accepts that the purpose is to find some mutual understanding on the basis of which something can be agreed. It is how American politics used to be conducted.

A “core” is a concept in game theory: the deals that neither side would walk away from, back into the status quo of limited legitimacy, rather than accept. That will require mutual agonising. I fear, though, that the “common core” is going to be quite limited. I will suggest two propositions that might make it into that zone of agreement, one on the Electoral College, the other on vote eligibility. Given the temperature of current hostilities, both would doubtless provoke outrage — from both sides.

Repeatedly in American elections, disputes have centred on a tiny number of votes in a few large states. This arises because of the practice, followed in most but not all states, that all of the state’s votes in the Electoral College should be awarded to the winner. The motivation for this practice is that it inflates the political importance of the state at the expense of those that divide their College votes in proportion to the vote of their citizens. This is a zero-sum game which skews government attention and finance between states for no good reason.

In the process, it results in a common loss to all: ambiguous results and the consequent loss of legitimacy. It would, therefore, be better for all if the practice already followed in two states – Nebraska and Maine, one Republican the other Democrat — became mandatory. They both divide their delegates according to the vote of their citizens. On reflection, it is extraordinary that on such an important matter there has been no nationally-agreed rule. Perhaps it is a legacy of “state’s rights”. An agreed rule would be like mutual disarmament. It could prevent another presidential election being determined by a few hanging chads.

The second proposition concerns postal voting, which, perhaps because of the pandemic has suddenly become far more common, and which Trump is most exercised about. When postal votes were negligible, there was no cause to be concerned about them. They are, though, inherently less satisfactory than in-person votes. Most obviously, there is no means of guaranteeing the fundamental principle that the casting of a vote by an individual is secret to that individual. More subtly, it systematically lowers the cost of voting to people like myself: well-educated and familiar with planning ahead, who take it in our stride to write to request a form, fill it in, and send it off well ahead of time. Not everybody is like that: they face the higher costs of voting in person.

There is a reasonable argument for ensuring that the voting behaviour induced by Covid does not become part of the “new normal”. Not only should every citizen have the right to vote, but we should also all face the same cost of doing so — in person on the same day — unless there are clear and agreed grounds for a postal vote, a medical-certificate, say. In retrospect, it was perhaps a mistake of the Democrats to direct the passion of their supporters into postal votes. I doubt that it was necessary in order to get the Democrat vote out; hatred of Trump is at least as widespread as support for him. While fully justified when linked to the pandemic – and matched by the socially distanced Democrat rallies — inadvertently it opened a line of attack which Trump supporters will embrace.

These lines of attack — not only from the Right; the Left got busy after the last election — are now creating dangerous fissures in American democracy. The trouble with democratic societies is that those insiders who run them can become dangerously complacent, as if there were some magic gold dust making their societies existentially immune from problems common elsewhere. This is why Americans won’t care to be compared with Africa. But the US urgently needs to wake up: the longer polarisation is allowed to take hold and fester, the more difficult it will be to reverse.

The lesson from Africa is that in the long run there are no real winners from polarisation. Society is left struggling to function with an ineffective state and the consequences play out in both social and economic distress. We can see America already going down this path. Both its health care and its education system have become staggeringly expensive at the top, and embarrassingly inadequate for everyone else. Its tax system has become a bad joke, even among the billionaires; and its once-lauded product markets are no longer as competitive as those in Europe. Given the potential from the technical progress in which America still excels to improve all American lives, outcomes such as these are manifest symptoms of severe public policy failure. And that, in turn, is ultimately attributable to dysfunction in democracy. If the sacrifices needed to avoid it aren’t made, then everyone, not just Trump, is a loser.


Sir Paul Collier is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government.


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grllopez
grllopez
3 years ago

I agree…vote in person, on one particular day, and with ID.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  grllopez

So that those willing to risk Covid would be disproportionately likely to vote?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

So that those who can legally vote are able to vote without coercion and those who are legally barred from voting can not do so.

COVID is temporary and could easily have been handled through the existing absentee system. We voted during the Spanish flu and the polio epidemics. For the Democrats, mail balloting was never about COVID; it was about power.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

And? All those folks who fought for the right to vote did not do so in order to be able to hide. They wanted to vote in front of god and everyone, to include those who wished to deny them that right. Since then, voting has been made almost too easy, what with early ballots and the rest. And Covid is not the plague. There is no such thing as risk-free life.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Many Americans very sensibly eliminated the risk, and standing in line for hours, by voting by post in accordance with their own States’ laws on voting. But now you don’t want to count those – legal – votes, because Trump lost.

Any idea just how hysterical and absurd you appear to everyone else?

Jenn Usher
Jenn Usher
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

No. Social distancing and masking, we are told by our masters guided, of course, by science, have told us that it would be safe, or at least minimally risky.
The same people – Democrats – who supposedly are afraid to vote for fear of risking Covid apparently still shop in the supermarkets, go to the bank, go to work, attend universities and “peaceful” protest rallies and so forth. Those truly at risk, those over 70 with co-morbidities, could and should apply for absentee ballots.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Jenn Usher

If it works fine, but every system is a target for cheaters.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Masks, distancing? So long as these are in operation on balance it would be better than suspect postal votes.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  grllopez

Any piece of sophistry in order to avoid counting the votes cast by Americans in conformity with their own State’s laws governing elections.

If Trump can show that any State broke its own elections laws, then good luck to him. But that’s not going to happen, is it?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Who knows? It’s not the medias job to decide elections. Obviously serious investigations need to happen. The comparison with Africa is not valid at least not yet.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Pennsylvania broke its own election laws, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled the state legislators and allowed mail-in votes to be accepted if they were received after election day. It’s not something Trump has to prove. It’s a known fact. Also there are signed affidavits alleging that Michigan mail-in ballots, which also must be received by election day to be valid, were being stamped with a valid date by election workers even though they were late. I’m not sure if Michigan’s electoral votes can just be thrown out of the count, but maybe the rules should be changed so that it could happen to a state like Michigan, where the degree of Democratic cheating was disgusting, but it is uncertain whether it changed the outcome.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago

The elephant in the room is being talked about by none. It is so pathetic. The election breached the fundamental principle specified in the Human Rights Act and European Charter of Human Rights. Because it was not a secret ballot.

A crucial principle of democratic elections is the secret ballot. Secret voting booths were introduced because previously voters were intimidated by “superior” more powerful people to vote for candidates not of their choosing.

With postal voting it is impossible to prevent such intimidation, because the voting no longer takes place in a supervised voting booth. It follows that an election with any significant proportion of mail-in voting is invalid due to breach of the secret ballot principle. Postal voting can be justified only in respect of people who would be unable to travel to a voting booth.

It is no secret that people were intimidated (by big rich people) from voting for Trump, and that consequently the mail-in votes were far more against him. It follows that Biden “won” only in terms of illegitimate votes.

So while Trump’s words about vote-stealing are incompetently-expressed, they actually have a profound truth behind them. Trump IS the proper winner of this election.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin P

Many of us have a hard time imagining this since we life in stable, middle-class environments in our own homes. But imagine living in a bario housing project in South Central LA. The local MS-13 rep comes to your door (you know who he is, everyone does) the day after ballots drop in your building. He tells you how MS-13 wants you to vote. You fill out your ballot that way, show it to him, seal it in the envelope and hand it to him.

How common it is, I don’t know, but broad, in person, secret voting completely eliminates these risks.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

“How common it is, I don’t know”
Exactly you don’t know. So leave it there.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Hear that, everyone? No discussion allowed. Accept what your political masters decree and keep your traps shut.

Stefan Hill
Stefan Hill
3 years ago

The system is designed so that the outcome of the election may depend on one vote in one pivotal state.
A system where the popular vote determine the outcome the outcome may depend on one vote in the entire country. The state with the most relaxed legislation for practices like vote harvesting will be rewarded.
Thus: A system without a electoral college requires one system for the entire election. The system must be so safe that it is trusted by everyone.
Sweden has such a system. It works but comes at high costs.
– The electoral roll must be created from state registers of the population.
– Voters must have a valid legitimation.
– No mail voting – but post office voting,
– And of course a high financial cost for the implementation.

The problem to create such a system is that it requires
– Practices that the Democrats consider racism (based on racist assumptions but anyway).
– A non corrupt postal service
– A functional nationwide records of all citizens

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Stefan Hill

I agree with your points, and I’ll also add that truly “one system” voting would require changes to the U.S. Constitutional system. Elections – including federal voting within their borders – are run by states. In practice, most states then delegate much of the work down to county governments, who have to operate in accord with state election law.

There are some limitations. The combination of the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act notably results in a degree of federal involvement – often judicial – if claims are made that election practices discriminate against racial minorities.

But, to take some examples of structural differences:

(1) Some states require that the winner of a (non-presidential) election secure at least 50% of the vote. A mere plurality results in a run-off, which is why Georgia will have a special election in January to fill U.S. Senate seats.

(2) Other states – notably California – have so-called “jungle primaries” with many candidates of both major parties on the ballot, and the top two finishers then competing in the November election. This means that, on the November ballot, the two candidates for a federal office might be from the same political party. It happens commonly with U.S. House candidates in California, usually Democrats. Two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate were on the 2018 ballot.

(3) Some states hold elections for governor and other statewide offices in presidential elections. Others have them in so-called off year elections.

(4) Some states have state constitutions that commonly result in specific propositions put to voters on the ballot. Others have few if any of these.

For points 2-4, all of these measures can have an impact on voter enthusiasm and therefore turnout, sometimes disproportionately impacting one of the two major parties.

I’ll also note that some of the innovations in U.S. voting have come about because of experimentation by the states. Going back to the 19th century, that’s how the secret ballot was gradually adopted – state-by-state. More recently, in-person early voting started in the late 1980’s and 1990’s in a few states and has gradually spread to over 30 states. A truly nationalized system would make such changes difficult, because of the cost and complexity of implementing changes nationally at the same time.

So, it would be a big change, both practically and legally. Coming back to the legal point, it’s possible that a truly standardized voting system would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing the federal government to take over the states’ role in elections. The federal government could get some changes with a few sticks combined with the carrot of offering funding to states, but I don’t think it could get to full standardization with just those measures.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Stefan Hill

Exactly. Germany gas such a record and it’s mandatory to keep it current for each citizen.
You have an ID card with your main address on it, and the ballot is either only sent there, on your request, or you need to show it in the booth and it is cross-checked.
No ballots are sent out without a specific request, or to second residences etc..
There is no corruption and no problem at the mail,and the counting happens manually, locally and overseen by representatives of all parties, as does the reporting of the local results.

Miriam UĂ­
Miriam UĂ­
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

It’s the same in Ireland.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

US has a healthy tradition of political corruption at the state/local level (both parties BTW).
If you travelled in time in 1900 German political system was far cleaner than the American one.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
3 years ago

The Electoral College is simple. It was designed to ensure the winner had both population and geographical support. Simply, the winner has to have support across large swaths of the electorate and over a large part of the country. If you think things will improve by getting rid of this and allowing a few population centers to dictate to everyone else, you are an idiot.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

They already do – look at the county maps, the rural ones are mostly red and the urban centres mostly blue, across the nation.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Look at any state map; cities (and suburbs) vote Dem, rural vote Rep.
That is why Dems just won the election.
So what you “fear” has come to pass.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, it’s that crazy system called, “one person, one vote”. Maybe the USA should try it.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

If they US had tried a proper Secret Ballot system, as required by the European Charter of Human Rights (accredited by all European countries), there would not have been allowed such indulgence in postal votes, and Trump’s win would have been clear from the start. If “Democrats” support breach of the Secret Ballot principle, then they are the very opposite of democrats. (Which they are anyway, but that’s for another day.)

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin P

As of now Trump lawyers have provided no evidence in the court of law that there was fraud. In Michigan, Georgia and Arizona their legal cases have been rejected by the judges.

Christin
Christin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

That’s absolutely false. You have the “right” to speak falsehoods but doing so diminishes your credibility to zero.

James Barry
James Barry
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

There are many issues with that the way the US votes today. There is no one election system, but 50. If all the voting requirements were the same, one vote might work. Some states opened voting 4 weeks before the election, CA is allowing voting this week to. The election day was only a midpoint. CA allowed people in prison to vote, most do not. CA requires no ID or proof of who you are, others require a valid photo ID. Some require you to be a citizen of the US, others do not. Some states purge their voter rolls by matching deaths and change of address monthly, some never unless the court orders them to do so. CA in 2019 purged 5 million people from their rolls (google it) after a court order. Many of the voters voted for years illegally. I lived in CA and later moved. Every election I dutifully got a boot, until the purge, and I asked to be removed. This year, many states opened up mail in ballots for the first time and did zero validation on where these ballots were sent to. Others like Colorado where I live have a strict long established way of mail in balloting that is secure and works, but then we purge rolls monthly, as for ID when you register etc.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

did Dems win the election? The jury, almost literally, remains out on the presidency, but Repubs picked up House seats, did not lose any ground at the state level, and may hold the Senate. If that’s what a Dem win looks like, I’d be curious how a loss shakes out.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“The jury, almost literally, remains out on the presidency,”
Pretty much is a done deal no matter what you like to believe!
Aside from Pennsylvania case (Alito’s ruling less than 8,000 votes) all legal cases by Trump team in MI, GE, NV, AZ have been thrown out for lack of evidence.

mhl outsidebeltway
mhl outsidebeltway
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

But the writer is not only an Oxford Don but an OBE, so not only does he enjoy officially immunity from being called an “idiot;” he enjoys the right to hurl that term at anyone with whom he disagrees. Although George Orwell long ago warned that only intellectuals believe the stupidest of ideas, little has changed since then. In any case, Prof. Collier demonstrates that he is completely ignorant of the history that led to the creation of the greatest and longest lasting constitution of any democracy in the world (the UK has no constitution). Remarkable that he gets away with teaching political science or “government.”

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago

I do believe that we (the UK) does have a constitution. Not all of it is written down. Some of it is (statutes and such like) and some of it is court judgements (precedence) and convention. Many argue it provides that bit of flexibility which the US constitution arguably lacks.
So, on that basis, I’d like to claim that we have the longest lasting constitution which may or may not be the greatest.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

Iceland has the oldest parliament and their constitution has been a long term evolutionary document.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Live and learn. Thank you. 🙂

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

Longest lasting until now. Even now the Law Society has been given the brief to extend hate speech even to the extent of what you say in your own house. How long will it be that it will be hate speech to say “I believe marriage is between a man or a woman” or “I believe Christ is the way to God”.

Shon Ellerton
Shon Ellerton
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

For many years, I thought the electoral college seemed unfair. After all, why shouldn’t a vote be counted the same as avote elsewhere. However, I agree with you, the geographic portion is not properly addressed. Moreover, the United States depends on much of the sparsely populated midwest for food (ie the Bread Basket). With a popular vote, this could disadvantage policy to those living in those sparse areas, particularly farmers. Interesting to note that India has a similar system. Having proportional votes based on the populations of Mumbai or New Delhi may not be truly representative of what India needs.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago

Like in the UK or Germany, there is no problem in the US with proper absentee ballots.
The problem is with mail-in ballots sent out without any identity of other checks.
Such ballots simply don’t exist in Germany or the UK.
Further, voting early in person for weeks doesn’t exist there either.
Doing no ID checks in the booths is another problem that doesn’t exist in Germany or the UK either.
The counting process there is entirely manual, done locally and overseen by representation es of all parties there: technology has no place in a voting booth or at the count, it is part of the problem here, not of the solution.
The partisan zealousness, often leading to a low threshold of committing individual fraud or even institutionalized fraud (e.g. at USPS or in City halls), has no equivalent in Germany or the UK and seems to be a particular US, and here in particular a regional Democrat, problem.
How that can be fixed, I have no idea.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Joerg Beringer

Yes, it’s been obvious for years that US electoral process are open to all manner of skullduggery whilst also being afflicted by technical problems. The fact that every state has its own systems and rules – which were altered just days before the election in some states this time – only adds to the chaos.

A sensible solution this Covid year would have been to have a weekend – or three days – of in-person voting in all states. But politicians and institutionally incapable of doing ‘sensible’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

We all know that mail-in voting enables fraud to a greater or lesser extent. We have seen it in the UK over the last 20 years and we have seen it for some time in the US.

The Democrats therefore seized on Covid as an excuse to implement mass mail-in voting. The result is fraud at worst and mass ballot harvesting/laundering at best. This is clear from a number of electoral/process/turnout anomalies almost too numerous to mention here.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If it is as massive as you say it should be easily proved in court.
Courts in GE, AZ, MI, NV have thrown out – FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE – Trump’s cases.
And Pennsylvania case is a completely different beast.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Proving election fraud in court is notoriously hard. But when it does happen, it pretty much takes 2 forms: an inside job (think Mayor Daley), or ballot harvesting. In the era of smartphones and everyone posting everything on Twitter, pulling off a Daley vote fraud machine would be pretty hard today. But mail-voting lends itself uniquely to coercion and violation of the “secret ballot” principle.

You don’t have to agree with Trump’s fraud claims to realize the risks of sending out ballots to every voter on the rolls.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

I don’t have to agree or disagree with Trump, my views are pointless . It is up for Trump team to prove the cases. He has failed over and over again – as of now.

Angela Frith
Angela Frith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The postal vote fraud in the U.K. is very small. It has predominantly occurred within immigrant communities with a tradition of voting as directed by the head of the family, enabled by postal votes. It was spotted
The USA has no such problems, or if so, they are insignificant within a population of 300 million.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Frith

The postal vote fraud in the U.K. is very small.

But that is only because the level of postal voting has been very small. High levels of postal voting are incompatible with Secret Ballot which is a requirement of the Human Rights Act and European Charter of Human Rights (endorsed by all European countries). Secret Ballot was introduced to stop the sort of intimidation by “superior” people which is exactly what has given Biden so many false votes in this election. The election is therefore invalid on any decent principles. Unfortunately the US legal system doesn’t operate to those decent principles, so the election will probably be stolen by the pseudo-democrats.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin P

who are these “superior people” and how did they manage to intimidate?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Angela Frith

Whether “the USA has no such problems” is basically unknowable. How would you learn whether elder care workers were marking ballots for residents in ways those residents didn’t want? How would you learn whether MS-13 was extorting residents in their territory to vote a particular way?

It isn’t that I know those things are happening. But you’ve asserted they are not without demonstrating how you would ever know they were. You say it “was detected” in England — are you sure it was minor? How much did you miss?

If you trap 1 mouse, you can safely assume there are 8-10 more. With mice, as with voter fraud.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Mice voter fraud is basically a risible analogy.
It is your duty to prove fraud not the other side to prove the opposite.
Innocent until proven guilty.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

We have not “seen” mail-in voting fraud on any scale in the UK. What we have seen is mini-me Trump element shouting about it in their echo chambers, encouraged by those who want to suppress voting because a low turnout helps the Right.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

How would you “see” mail-in voter fraud in the UK? What are English authorities techniques for detecting coercion when the ballot is filled out?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

I’m speculating, but given the unstable dynamics of families and patriarchal communities, what gets accepted/covered up one year would be likely to become grist for the mill for settling scores a while later – in a proportion of cases. Think of the way male criminals get their wives/girlfriends to cover up for them, only for relationships to break down and the woman then makes an allegation to the police. There have been a couple of cases of electoral fraud in the UK but not more.

In any case, as someone else on this site pointed out, if you want to argue that fraud is going on, whether it’s in the UK or the US, you have to provide evidence – not demand that others disprove it. If you go down that route, you end up insisting that the world is controlled by a three-headed lizard which is invisible hence evades detection but cannot be disproved!

Not that the presence or absence of electoral fraud in the UK is automatically relevant to the US where people care more about politics. If there is any similarity at all, it’s that in the UK tendentious claims of voter fraud are used by the Right to promote vote suppression measures, but that’s our problem.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

If by “on any scale” you mean on a large scale then you are correct.

If you mean on a scale necessary to change who gets voted for at council level you are manifestly wrong.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In Georgia, the election commissioner is a Republican. He denies that there is any evidence of vote fraud. Biden is ahead in Georgia.

ky.cao
ky.cao
3 years ago

Dreary article that, like the myriad preachy nothing writings that have populated the chattering class these last few years, starts on the wrong premise that has Trump acting in a vacuum. Sir Collier would have made some relevant points had he started correctly from 2016, when Trump won a free and true election only to be demonized and crucified by the arrogant establishment, persecuted by treasonous and treacherous operatives in the opposition party, media and big tech hell bent on keeping their power and privileges by endorsing public riots to intimidate citizens while funding a wholesale rewriting of history. The war waging has not been Trump’s making. It’s beyond stupid to keep saying Trump is the cause instead of the symptom of and response to the failing cultural and political elites’ travail over the last few decades. Far from destroying Democracy, Trump is barracking it for America. Pay attention to the 70 million who stood in line for hours to vote for Trump rather than the ballots that had been distributed unsolicited and were collected en mass by cadres from those who wouldn’t otherwise bother to get off their couches to exercise the sacred rights to cast a vote either way. This American story is far from over.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  ky.cao

“Trump won a free and fair election”

Trump was defeated by 2.9 million votes, in an election influenced by Russian troll farms. Without the Kremlin pulling strings, he would have lost by more votes and therefore lost rather than won in the Electoral College. Which, incidentally, awards one Elector to each state over and above the Electors awarded in proportion to population, and therefore over-represents rural states with small populations which tend to vote Republican.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

(in 2016)

Jenn Usher
Jenn Usher
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The Mueller Investigation, run by 13 angry and highly partisan Democratic lawyers spent two years and $48 million dollars investigating that charge and found no evidence of Russian collusion. However, the Russians did provide Hillary with The Dossier with which her people investigated and tormented Trump – and the country – for 3 years. So much for the Kremlin pulling strings.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jenn Usher

Focussing on whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians is a neat way of distracting from the fact that in 2016 the Russians did use social media to get Trump elected.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Even liberal election analyst Nate Silver says the tiny Russian troll operation wouldn’t make it into the top 100 list of reasons why Trump won. Focussing on it is pathetic.

Jenn Usher
Jenn Usher
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The Russia! Russia! clarion call again. Won’t you people EVER stop with that rubbish? Why would they work their troll farms for him when they bought and paid for Biden through a $3.5 million gift to Biden’s son from the wife of the mayor of Moscow? And Trump, who sold anti-tank missiles to Ukraine (Obama-Biden sent blankets) and massively sanctioned Russian elites is hardly their choice.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You think if you just keep saying it, someday it will be true?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Can we please stop talking about Russia, Russia, Russia? It’s gotten old.

Trump won in 2016.

Biden likely won in 2020.

Everyone get over these two facts and move on.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The latter is not yet a fact. It may become one but that has not yet occurred.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  ky.cao

Well said.

Jenn Usher
Jenn Usher
3 years ago

The United States is actually a federal republic, not a straight unitary democracy like many European countries. Germany would be the closest equivalent to the US federal system. Originally, Senators were chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote. It took a constitutional amendment to allow direct election of Senators.

The electoral college was designed in the Constitution as a check by the smaller states on the otherwise overwhelming power of the larger states. It is not a perfect system, but if each state’s electoral college votes were awarded based on the proportion of votes, we would be back to a pure form of democracy where a majority party would have unfettered power.

Given that the current leadership of the Democratic Party have an unquenchable lust for total power (as tipped by their promise to end the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, pack the Senate by adding two additional states which would give them four more Senators, granting citizenship to 11 to 30 million undocumented aliens who are assumed to the vote for the Democrats, and other measures) it is understandable that the Republican Party would and should resist removing these checks on assumption of power that have worked well for 230 years.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago

Trump managed to enlarge the amount of votes he received from the black community, the latino community and the hispanics. Biden managed to get the votes from dead people. Nothing to see here.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  blanes

Trump even increased his support dramatically with the LGBT community.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  blanes

Sure Blane… and they got six million of those dead people to come to vote!! Did you even read the article about the danger of spreading lies that create a loss of faith in the system that has served us for 240 years?

daniel2
daniel2
3 years ago

While I am (as an American citizen) not opposed to ‘mail-in ballots’, it seems QUITE clear that, going forward, it would be useful (without discounting state’s rights – a touchy subject in the USA) to employ a number of wise, Federal standards regarding these absentee/mail-in ballots. So, going forward; (1) these ballots must all be printed by a single Federal printing house”without exception; (2) they would be branded/customized for each state; (3) they would possess a unique serial number and (perhaps) other security measures, such as a watermark; (4) they must ONLY be available via in-person pick-up at select Government outlets, where the voter MUST present government ID (like I do every time I vote in-person on election day); (5) once completed by the legal voter, the ballots MUST arrive back and be cast no later than a fixed (pre-election day) DEADLINE, via mail or in-person drop off (using local Post Offices would be a great solution). A suggestion might be 7 days before election day. This is an absentee ballot; a mail-in ballot. They should be the exception and not the rule. In-person voting should be the preferred norm. (6) These ballots can be available (perhaps) 90 days ahead of the deadline for being DUE (as stated, 7 days before the election). (7) The idea of having the ballots in 7 days prior (at the latest) allows them to be tallied to feed into the final flow of numbers and counting ON election day. Using the above measures in good faith would eliminate even the appearance of FAKE or dumped ballots. The fact that they are Federally printed and distributed to states; that they are from one source and one design ELIMINATES fraud. Simple and civil. That’s my 2 cents.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  daniel2

In short, Daniel, the US system of both how to carry out a federal election, and how to decide who wins need a serious update. Where else do we use an 18th century design in the 21st century. Let the states do as they choose, but federal elections are a different kettle of fish.

daniel2
daniel2
3 years ago

I mentioned respecting state’s rights. Not an issue. I get it. I live in South Carolina for crying out loud. Ever hear of Ft. Sumpter? The states already do as they choose in most every way . . . which should remain respected . . . I am only speaking of the physical ballots themselves, and why? BECAUSE it IS the 21st Century! Thanks for your comment.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
3 years ago

In our recent election in NZ, even though we’re covid free, the system change somewhat to manage the risk if there was an unknown carrier somewhere. Selected polling stations simply opened every day for two weeks ahead of the election to reduce the population density on polling day itself. About a third of the votes were cast early but the integrity of the system was maintained. There are still special votes by post of course, but these remained at traditionally low levels.

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
3 years ago

As I and others keep pointing out until we’re blue in the face, The election was not free and fair because it was not a secret ballot for the large number of electors voting by post.
Trump won the free and fair (polling station) vote, Biden won the not free and fair postal vote. This admittedly is circumstantial but it is a stong pointer to suggest that the vote is not valid.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Ferro

Nonsense. Both in-person and by-mail votes were cast according to the laws of the respective States. You just don’t want the votes cast by people who didn’t want to catch Covid while queueing for hours to be counted because they were mostly votes for Biden.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You just don’t want the votes cast by people who didn’t want to catch Covid while queueing for hours to be counted because they were mostly votes for Biden.
You mean the same people who’ve gathered for mass celebrations? The same people who had no issue with protests and riots? You don’t get to claim Covid panic for some circumstances but ignore it for others. And those “queueing for hours” are not turning up sick, either.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Around 50 million Americans (guess) voted by post, in line with State laws. Claiming that they were on “protests and riots” doesn’t add up – at another guess, those would have been 50,000-500,000 ie 0.1% to 1% of those voting by post.

But the real agenda of course is that having discouraged his supporters from voting by post and encouraged them to vote in person, something they were anyway more inclined to do because they are less concerned about catching the disease which has so far killed 239,000 Americans (around 70x 9/11s) Trump has created a situation in which his supporters have a motive for persuading themselves that voting by post is illegitimate.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You can’t have it both ways. Voting in person cannot be dangerous while mass protests are non-events. The postal service is notoriously unreliable with far less important parcels. Mail-in exists in some states and they’ve had the opportunity to spot and work on bugs. That’s not the case nationwide.

By the way, the virus has NOT killed 239,000 Americans. Even the CDC is honest enough to admit that. More than 90% of those Americans died with covid, not because of Covid.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You just don’t want the votes cast by people who didn’t want to catch
Covid while queueing for hours to be counted because they were mostly
votes for Biden.

This is simply not true. I don’t want people’s votes to be coerced or stolen, under any circumstances. I also don’t want people who should not be voting to do so. Both are self-evidently much harder when voting in person with ID vs by mail.

COVID could have been handled as a one-off using the existing absentee ballot system. Instead, it has been used an an excuse to broadly adopt a less secure form of voting, one which favors both of these types of fraud.

That’s the problem.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago

I think America’s problems with fraud will grow and grow. In two or three elections time there could be a scandal. And given America’s current levels of anger, that can’t be a good thing.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago

It is certainly far from over in many U.S. states and the country as a whole has a lot to uncover. Many of the things alleged to have been done by the Democrat party cannot even be confirmed as to the impact on votes, like varied access to voting depending on a county’s party leaning or pre-dating mail-in votes. We need to get to the bottom of what happened in this election no matter what it takes or no election will ever be safe, valid or accepted again.

Frustrating that so much of what has been done to allow this to happen here in the U.S. is written in The Communist Manifesto, Manning Johnson’s writings, George Orwell’s 1984, etc. As a parent of two millenials and a gen z, our family managed to raise our children to know and respect the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, instill values through going to church and having many, many discussions at the dinner table and throughout every day on these important topics.

I pray we get the chance to reform the voting system in this country to protect each citizen’s right to have a voice. It will not be pretty going through the process, and the many people who have chosen to be ill- or uninformed will be very difficult to get up to speed on what is going on and why it is right to do. The alternative, falling into Communism, is unfathomable.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

Given your concern for democracy, here are some suggestions:

– Stop excluding black voters who are not actually in prison from electoral rolls using fancy rules.

– Stop underproviding polling stations in black areas so that queues there are several hours longer than in white areas, as demonstrated by a study published recently

– Grant Senate representation to DC – blocked by Republicans. What other country excludes part of its population from representation in one of its representative chambers?

Maybe topics for your dinner table discussions? You could try persuading your millenials/gen z youngsters that “America is a democracy and we all elect Senators. Well, apart from the black folks in DC, but that’s not undemocratic, we’ve got some constitutional sophistry about the historic status of DC to explain why they don’t get a vote for the Senate. And anyway, Democrats are Commies, so any trick is good for keeping them out”. Good luck with persuading them of that!

But all of this would make the Democrats more likely to win, and you would call that “Communism”, I gather.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The jumping to “you’re a racist” is the standard Leftist retort to arguments they cannot refute. Fortunately, this election seemed to demonstrate that it is is losing its currency.

Unfortunately, since Democrats have been using “racist” as an epithet to discredit their opponents for so long, it makes talking about real racism in America very hard.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

I am assuming that you and other black people you are talking about are U.S. citizens, so I am suggesting a vote for all these people. Not sure how you heard otherwise.

I would love to see more polling stations in black areas if this is an issue. No one should have to wait unreasonable lengths of time. Most states had early voting so maybe it’s possible this could have been avoided? I would need more information to be sure.

D.C. is not allowed under the U.S. Constitution to have Senatorial representation because it not considered a state, only states have Senators. D.C. has electoral votes under the 23rd Amendment and House representation, although no voting rights.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

Julia, look up the Voting Rights Act passed by Lyndon Johnson and try to understand why it was necessary and what the remedies were that it proposed… and then look to see who it was that brought suit to end it.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago

Yes, the VRA appears to have had some very positive impact, “To take just one example, in the twenty years following the law’s passage, the disparity in registration rates between white and black
registration rates dropped from nearly 30 percentage points in the early 1960s to eight just a decade later.” I certainly support this.

In the case of Shelby County vs Holder, this section of the decision strikes me: “1) State legislation may not contravene federal law. States retain broad autonomy, however, in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government, including “the power to regulate elections.” Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U. S. 452, 461″“462. There is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States. Northwest Austin, supra, at 203.

“The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles. It requires States to beseech the Federal Government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have the right to enact and execute on their own. And despite the tradition of equal sovereignty, the Act applies to only nine States (and additional counties). That is why, in 1966, this Court described the Act as “stringent” and “potent,” Katzenbach, 383 U. S., at 308, 315, 337. The Court nonetheless upheld the Act, concluding that such an “uncommon exercise of congressional power” could be justified by “exceptional conditions.” Id., at 334. Pp. 9″“12.” It causes me to wonder if the court believes these “exceptional conditions,” no longer exist.

I will say, this case and all that it encompasses could be an entire dissertation that I will not quickly be “all knowing” as to the catalyst or purpose of Shelby County’s petition, all the justices reasoning to remove those provisions or what could or should be done to mitigate these issues in voting accessibility.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The fact that DC, as the federal capital district, does not have Senate representation has ZERO to do with the fact that there are black people living there. Stop race-baiting.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon LM

Its demographic means it would vote Democrat. That’s why the Republicans would never allow it representation in the Senate. It’s naive to suppose otherwise. Flim-flam about it being a District not a State is a cover for realpolitik.

Is there any other democracy in which the citizens of the national capital are denied representation?

The fact that the Republicans on this site refuse to accept the basic democratic right of DC citizens (who are, yes, black, another reason for Republican hostility) to be represented shows how extreme and lacking in good faith you people are.

Nick Wright
Nick Wright
3 years ago

`’ I doubt that it was necessary in order to get the Democrat vote out;
hatred of Trump is at least as widespread as support for him”

Why drag up “hatred of Trump”? (Though admittedly there is plenty. )The USA happens to be in the middle of a pandemic, with a record-breaking number of deaths. That is ample reason for voting in safety.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wright

That is ample reason for voting in safety.
yet the riots and protests, and the celebration events are somehow immune? Please explain this dichotomy. Perhaps it’s time to stop pretending that this virus is the plague. That while it’s worth taking seriously, it also preys on a very predictable population, something CDC numbers cannot ignore.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

I understand that a study found that the queues to vote in high-black-population areas were a couple of hours longer than those in high-white-majority areas. I wonder what the motivation of Republican-controlled state administrations in under-providing voting facilities in high-black-population areas could possibly be? Oh……..

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
3 years ago

In 2016 Hillary Clinton made a concession speech on the night of the count. It is true that there have been allegations that there were interferences from outside the USA but those were not used to prevent Trump from preparing before inauguration day for his new administration.

In 2000, the situation in Florida was tight and Florida was a the crucial state. Gore for the Democrats requested a recount as he was entitled to and the issue hung on certain votes which were not counted because they did not appear to be officially punched (“hanging chad”) Gore challenged this legally to the supreme court and accepted the result. Neither Gore not Clinton’s behaviour is remotely comparable to Trump’s

There is nothing undemocratic about postal voting. I did it twice in 2016 both for the GLA elections and the eu referendum. There is a double envelope procedure which means that my vote can be separated from my identity before it is counted. There is still a link between the number on my ballot paper and me, but that is the case if I had voted in person when the number on the ballot paper is written against your name on the special register but that would only ever be used if allegations of electoral fraud were ended.

When you speak of secret ballots you mean the right to keep your voting secret. You do not have to do so if you do not wish, I am quite happy to say I voted Labour for the GLA and remain in the referendum, but I am under no obligation to do so.

In the last few years in the USA there has been blatant rigging in some areas in the US with disproportionate allocation (or lack of allocation) of polling stations . Scenes of, largely poor and black people in bits or Georgia queuing for hours to vote is an indication of serious malaise and the adoption of postal and advance voting for lots of Americans, disproportionately Democrat. Trump’s last throw, to appoint a lackey to wreck the postal service was symptomatic of the man.

Trump will get a recount in Georgia, he can produce legal challenges (several have been thrown out already) but he needs to raise something of substance or shut up

I

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

In 2016 Hillary Clinton made a concession speech on the night of the count.
On the night of the count, John Podesta was sent to make a speech and it was not exactly a “congrats to DT” talk.

Gore challenged this legally to the supreme court and accepted the result.
And for 36 or 37 days, there was no declared winner.

Neither Gore not Clinton’s behaviour is remotely comparable to Trump’s
This is true, but not for the reasons you want to believe.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Alex, it is a simple fact that Hillary conceded to DJT on the night of the election. Full Stop.
Gore’s challenge took 36 days because the Republicans did everything they could to stop the vote, ultimately leading to a decision by the SCOTUS in a case wherein they had no say (the STATES decide state election law) and with a decision that they themselves stated could never be used as precedent in the future. 537 votes. Automatic recount. To compare either election to what Trump is doing, as he’ll need to overturn 60,000 votes somehow in order to win the vote is well past grasping at straws. Reread the point of the article, as you’re doing exactly what the author is pointing out is so dangerous to democracies.

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
3 years ago

“It’s not just Trump..”

The understatement of the century.

We were dragged through the “Russian collusion” gauntlet for three years, told the outcome of the 2016 election was completely illegitimate because voting systems were hacked and disinfo spread on Facebook.

And somehow doing a completely normal thing by litigating some questionable ballots is “eroding our democracy”.

I don’t care who wins. I just want to know how much f*ckery we’re dealing with here, so we can fix it. That shouldn’t be remotely controversial. Yet here we are.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago

We can hardly criticise anyone in America for failing to accept a democratic decision when you look at the behaviour of the remainers after the referendum.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

What is the connection?
1) UK GOV handed over the Exit Paper exactly when TM said the country would. The Supreme Court ruling simply confirmed that the authority lies with Parliament and not Executive.
2) The WA was rejected not only by Remainers but ALSO Hard Leavers (ERG). Did ERG refuse to accept the democratic decision?

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

There was a campaign fought on several fronts including the HoC, HoL and though the courts to overturn the result of the referendum. Trump is behaving extremely badly as did the remainers after the referendum. It’s exactly comparable. Democracy only functions if the loosing side accepts the result of a popular vote. Otherwise you are in Banana Republic territory where the election is just the preamble to the real battle.

Jon LM
Jon LM
3 years ago

It seems the article is saying that *alleging* fraud is the real problem, not fraud itself. This is utterly wrong-headed.

Trump is being his usual bombastic self, but the fact is that he was significantly ahead in all the key swing states when those states suddenly took the unusual/unprecedented step of stopping counting at midnight. Then, at 4am (when most Americans were asleep), huge vote dumps mysteriously came in that flipped them to Biden. That is how elections are stolen in Third World countries.

Also worth noting that while Trump increased his vote share in all major American metropolitan areas including ultra-liberal Portland, he was blown out in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta (all in important swing states).

That doesn’t raise an eyebrow? Trump isn’t wrong to be suspicious.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

I’m not a Trump supporter, but from what I understand there were a lot of irregularities surrounding the voting process. I think it’s fair that there is a recount and an investigation, but after that I hope Trump vacates the presidency peacefully if it looks like the votes were counted fairly.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

States (GE, WI) are already doing recounts. An investigation on what? Trump has gone to courts and all his claims have been thrown out for lack of evidence.

Susie Lawler
Susie Lawler
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Some, not all, cases have been thrown out. Also, it’s GA not GE for Georgia.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie Lawler

I only know the Pen case thanks judge Alito’s ruling. As far as I can tell the cases in MI, GE, AZ were thrown out for lack evidence.
Were there new developments last night? I haven’t read anything new but maybe I missed it.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

the Real Clear Politics site has taken PA out of the Biden column, and I believe CNN did likewise with Arizona. What this mostly does is make the media look foolish in its desire to declare victory for Joe. It may well be that he does win, but we’re not there yet.

Joerg Beringer
Joerg Beringer
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

I am no Trump fan either.
But if that election doesn’t smell to someone, he/she should urgently get a Covid test…

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago

“It would, therefore, be better for all if the practice already followed in two states ““ Nebraska and Maine, one Republican the other Democrat ” became mandatory. They both divide their delegates according to the vote of their citizens.”

That’s not in fact the process in either state. They each award 2 electoral votes – representing the ones attributable to Senators – to the winner of the overall presidential vote in the state. The others are awarded to the winner of the presidential vote within each district for the U.S. House of Representatives.

One notable point about both states is that they do not have many House districts due to their small populations. Nebraska has 3, and Maine has 2. That therefore greatly reduces the opportunity to gerrymander districts for partisan purposes. Such gerrymandering is common in larger states.

These outcomes in Nebraska and Maine House districts are also, of course, generally not *that* significant electorally. Given the current voting trends of each state, Republican presidential candidates sometimes pick up 1 district in Maine (but lose the state) and Democrats sometimes do the opposite in Nebraska. Both occurred this year.

Whatever the theoretical merits of the plan, there are already bitter fights over Congressional maps. They’re drawn every 10 years by states after the Census, in what’s often a partisan process dictated by the party that controls a state’s legislature and governorship. It would only turn up the temperature of that process if it also influenced the outcome of presidential elections.

Peter James
Peter James
3 years ago

“its once-lauded product markets are no longer as competitive as those in Europe” Seriously, leave it out! The rest of your article makes a lot of sense but this sort of nonsense is something I’d expect to come from an FBPE zealot.

occam2436
occam2436
3 years ago

In discussing the system by itself, you’re missing how politicians use the system. Both parties LOVE the Electoral College because it saves a tremendous amount of effort. They don’t need to appeal to the country, so they don’t campaign in the whole country. They craft highly specific messages to move the few thousand voters who actually count.

With simple popular vote, politicians have to design their campaigns to reach a variety of people in ALL states, not just a few hundred easily identified people in Florida.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  occam2436

I teach American Government and have managed local political campaigns. This is 100% incorrect historically and practically.

The EC was designed to prevent the rural, agrarian states of the South from being electorally trampled by the dense, industrial Northern states. It serves the same purpose as the US Senate in that sense. Our current urban/ rural divide is not North/ South but coastal / flyover. However, the underlying purpose of the EC is the same, and it’s working just fine.

What is your goal in electing the President? You appear to believe the goal is to elect someone who represents a majority of Americans — Americas founders would not agree. The anti-federalists wanted balloting for president to be 1-vote-per-state (popular election for Pres was not common until the 19th century.) That didn’t fly at the Convention, but the founders did want a President who represented the largest cross-section of American states, not just the majority of “Americans” (few even thought in terms of such a national identity at all.) Again, the Electoral College is still working to accomplish that goal today.

Whether the EC is still relevant in an era of mass media and public elections for President is certainly a fair question. Our identities as “citizens of united States” has largely been subsumed into “citizens of The United States”. Maybe it is time to adjust our election procedures to reflect that reality. But suggesting that the Electoral College itself causes large swathes of the country to be ignored is simply backward. It is the EC that makes the vast majority of states worth campaigning in at all.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago

thanks for those comments, Brian, but a few thoughts. I think you’ll find that nearly 85-90% of all campaign money was spent in the 6 main swing states… so the “vast majority of states” were actually totally ignored. As to why the EC was formed, and as blacks were not counted as huiman and thus not allowed to vote in the 1700’s, the EC was formed to protect southern agricultural states interests. Full stop. Otherwise, they feared, rightly, that under a one man one vote winner system… they would lose. Thus the EC.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago

Good article about the dangers of risks being presented to the very basis of a democracy, the sanctity of the vote, by Trump’s outrageous post election actions. the subtitle of the piece, however, state’s “The Democrats have form, too”, and the author, in order to bolster this claim, cites the Bush and Trump elections in an absurd example of bothsidesism.

Why absurd?
The Bush/Gore election hinged on a 537 vote difference in one state, while the Trump/Biden contest would require a change of at least 60,000 votes to change the outcome of the election, a margin not only 100 times greater, but not remotely within the realm of possibility. In plain words, Gore had a real chance to overturn the results with a recount, and indeed Florida law mandated the same due to the tiny margin. There was NO DEMOCRATIC EFFORT to delegitimize the election writ large, nor the election in Florida.

The Clinton/Trump election, in which Trump lost the popular vote but won in key electoral states by margins far smaller than Biden is now leading him in those same states… what happened? Hillary Clinton called and conceded to Trump ON THE NIGHT of the election. Again, there was no attempt to delegitimize the vote or the voting process. Period. None.

The subsequent investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia was about that only, made necessary by 17 different US intelligence agencies agreeing that Russia had indeed put it’s fingers on the scale. It was NEVER about an attempt to delegitimize the vote itself. There was NEVER any argument made by Democrats that the vote totals were ‘rigged’.

So, other than that highly misleading title and the sop thrown into the essay to justify the authors claim, the balance is excellent, and points out the obvious; Trumps antics right now are terribly dangerous to the nation itself.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

“The subsequent investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia was about that only, …. It was NEVER about an attempt to delegitimize the vote itself. There was NEVER any argument made by Democrats that the vote totals were ‘rigged’.”

In fact. it was an attempt to delegitimize the Trump Presidency. Even the Wall Street Journal, stated so in yesterday’s editorial. The Democrats along with the FBI & NSA did as much damage as possible to stop Trump.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I’ll say again, Cathy, 17 US government intelligence agencies and the bipartisan US Senate report on the 2016 US presidential election all concluded the same thing; that the Russians intervened in many ways TO HELP TRUMP WIN the election. It was UNANIMOUS, shared by top Republicans and Democrats alike… so one would think that that truth obviously demands the answer to the question; exactly how legitimate was Trump’s victory? (They regularly take Olympic medals away from athletes caught cheating, and for good reason.)

Therefore an investigation was necessary into the extent of the help given to Trump… but you appear to believe that it wasn’t necessary, and that it was all just those damn Democrats, the”Deep State”, the FBI and NSA who were ‘out to stop him’. Nothing to see here folks… move along. OK… sure.

Geoff Rankin
Geoff Rankin
3 years ago

You seem to forget that the democrats have form on this very matter of questioning results. The stats of the final count of the US election do not stack up. No party should object to a recount. that is democracy in action. Your vapid African comparison is hardly relevant.

brian_asktv
brian_asktv
3 years ago

What is result if electoral colledge votes given out proportionaly?

Then 1000 votes here or there does no matter so much?
Anyone got spreadsheet of states, colledge votes, trump % and Biden %?

cjhartnett1
cjhartnett1
3 years ago

Only ONE of the US political parties has been cheating and chiselling since 1992.
And increasingly emboldened and brazen, right up until November 4th, after the Ohio result.
When the election was stolen in full view of us all, the summit of all that Obama’s holdovers had been working tirelessly on since Nov 9 2016.
Your equivocations and honeyed qualifiers represent a gilded class who offer vague contributions when it suits. But no chance of any sacrifice.
Whereas, we see our votes treated like trash. The Deep State and it’s Transition Integrity Project of June 2020 is being played out day by day.
Now whether we get Ukraine, Bahrain, Belarus or Georgia 08 is still ongoing
I defer to your African experience. Might I suggest Kenya 2007, a smattering of Tsvangerai 2008 and Kenya 2016 as out current arc of history?
Trump was robbed. Now whether we settle for a quiet life for a while is a personal matter. But there will have to be a reckoning. American history demands one.

Sidney Eschenbach
Sidney Eschenbach
3 years ago
Reply to  cjhartnett1

And I’m quite sure that if proof exists for your idiocy, it will be presented by one of Trumps lawyers in any one of the many venues where this terrible crime was allegedly committed, right? Of course, when that doesn’t happen, your opinion won’t change one iota, will it. You’ll remain just as convinced, because you’re immune to facts. If you think I’m wrong, wait two weeks and see if you agree or disagree with all the many judges who throw all these ‘cases’ out of court. Your opinion will be that the deep state got to all lthe judges. Like Alice, lost down a rabbit hole where up is down and down up. Good luck with that.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  cjhartnett1

It seems at least somebody understands this staccato offering. It would help those less au fait with the Deep State and what happened in Kenya in 2007, etc, if we didn’t have to spend the next hour or two studying the references. One note of sympathy, though. After the UK’s Brexit referendum, 48% of voters, presumably 48% of the population, became unrepresented. As the government is making a dog’s dinner of negotiating with the EU, the other 52% may eventually be obliged to compromise. By analogy, President Elect Biden cannot, and I’m sure will not, leave 70 million US voters unrepresented – that is, assuming they let themselves be represented.

sheldonnorberg
sheldonnorberg
3 years ago

Apparently the author has never heard of Greg Palast, who has been documenting wholesale election fraud (a wholly Republican practice) for over 20 years. The advent of voting machines makes every vote hackable, and occasionally guaranteed to Republican candidates by the machine company execs (fact check me), while gerrymandering and elimination of polling places means wealthy vote with ease while poor wait for hours. Civilized countries have week-long elections, mandatory voting, and universal registration, the US doesn’t because giving voice to the people has always been onerous to the powerful.