All summer, as it became clear that Democratic activists throughout the country were seeking to change election laws midstream to provide for mass mail-in voting, the likes of which our republic has never seen, conservatives and other defenders of a secure and durable franchise pointed out any number of obvious problems. How could we ensure that only duly registered, active voters in a certain precinct receive ballots? What about photo ID, signature validations and postmark dates? All of this, of course, in a country with a long history of voter fraud; younger readers would do well to Google "Box 13 scandal," involving Lyndon Johnson's 1948 Senate race.
In early September, Hillsdale College lecturer and former Trump administration official Michael Anton published an eye-opening essay at the Claremont Institute's American Mind site entitled "The Coming Coup?" Anton quoted a leaked report from a war game simulation, consisting of Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans, to play out the 2020 presidential election. In that simulation, John Podesta, former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, was assigned the role of Biden. Podesta refused to concede, pressured states that Trump clearly carried to actually send Democratic electors to the Electoral College and contented himself with entrusting the military to handle the rest of the funny business.
A coup, that is, by any other name. The question now facing Republicans is: If the Democrats intend to effectuate a nonviolent coup, would they have done anything differently since Tuesday evening?
Early in the evening, it was immediately obvious that the polls were, yet again, wildly off. Trump won Florida, that most quintessential of swing states, by a wider margin than he had in 2016. He decisively prevailed in Ohio, the nation's other paradigmatic swing state and historic decider of hotly contested elections. He barely lost Wisconsin and Michigan, we are told, despite purportedly reliable pollsters assuring us the week before the election that Biden would prevail in each state by double-digits. Numerous outlets called Arizona early for Biden — an indefensible call in what will be a nail-biter of a finish.
Shortly after it was clear that Trump had Florida and Ohio in the bag, things turned problematic. Vote counting was oddly halted in parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and the three "blue wall" states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Even more peculiarly, on consecutive nights, in states where Trump led on election night, large tranches of votes were mysteriously "found." As Harvard Law School professor and Twitter wit Adrian Vermeule put it: "Kids, not sure if you knew this, but missing ballots have magical properties that make them visible only between midnight and 6:00 am."
Unbelievably, we are reliably informed from Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight site that one tranche of mysteriously "found" 23,000-plus overnight votes in Philadelphia were "all for Biden." One does not need a doctoral degree in advanced statistics to understand that that is simply an impossibility. This was around the same time, furthermore, that Democrats in Philadelphia actively sought legal recourse to prevent Republican poll watchers from being properly able to observe vote tabulation. Other examples abound: In Milwaukee, for instance, seven voting wards reported more votes in the presidential election than they had registered voters on file.
It is possible, in the end, that all of this will have been revealed to be perfectly kosher. But Republicans might be forgiven for harboring some deep skepticism. The message from the Democrat-media complex seems to be: "Trust us while one-party Democratic political machine cities seek legal recourse to prevent Republicans from properly observing vote tabulation while we report that votes 'found' in the wee hours of the morning 'all' went for Biden." That is not a message that should be well received.
Democrats this cycle were far likelier to vote by mail, and Republicans were far likelier to vote in person on Election Day, so it perhaps makes some degree of sense that initial voting leads for Trump in certain jurisdictions might be countered by ballots later "found" for Biden. But it is time for the Republican Party and conservative lawyers across the country to rally like never before to ensure that each and every vote cast and tabulated is a legitimate one. It is certainly also time for the Department of Justice to get more involved than it has, thus far. There are no other viable options — certainly not in an election of this profound magnitude.
Thus far, the Supreme Court's inaction on election law matters this cycle has not inspired confidence. The political calculus of the all-too-political Chief Justice John Roberts seems to have been that a Biden landslide would exculpate the court's decisions not to halt dubious last-minute election law changes in states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina. That Biden landslide clearly did not happen. It's time for conservative lawyers, and the Republican Party at large, to mobilize and do their job to secure the integrity of the election results across a myriad of closely contested states. For those who espouse a desire to unite our ever-fractious polity, it would seem natural to support all measures to ensure that only valid ballots have indeed been counted. Only then can a grieving nation begin to heal.
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