by Roger Kimball
Many people, including some good friends, believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election fair and square.
Many others – and I place myself among them – believe that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or, to be more specific, in the cities of Milwaukee, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, not to mention Maricopa County, Arizona. I think what happened was so rotten that I regard the election as illegitimate.
What proof, you might ask, do I have?
Quite a lot, in fact, and I’ll get to some of it in a moment. First, I want you to behold the evolution of the Narrative about voter fraud in the 2020 election. At first, the memo came down and said, “There was no voter fraud.”
On November 12, for example, the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a “Joint Statement From Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees” that “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.” That’s from an official U.S. government entity – so game over, right?
Not quite. The CIA and the FBI are also official government entities. Do you trust them?
Anyway, stray ballots started turning up, analysis revealed massive statistical anomalies in voter turnout, the size and timing of votes for Joe Biden, and other irregularities. There were troubling videos of Democratic vote counters pulling out hidden suitcases of ballots after they kicked the GOP observers out of the room, for example. Another seemed to show one Democratic worker surreptitiously hand a thumb drive to another minutes before a massive influx of votes appeared for Joe Biden. There have been scores of affidavits attesting to voter fraud and scarifying testimony from witnesses who reminded their questioners that they made their statements under penalty of perjury.
We’ve all heard a lot about Dominion Voting Systems. How easily can the company’s machines be hacked? What is their connection to China? Maybe we’ll find out. It is interesting, is it not, that a Dominion representative who was supposed to testify in Pennsylvania got cold feet and bowed out. Why? What about reports that “the firm which owns Dominion Voting Systems received $400 million from a Swiss bank with close links to the Chinese government less than a month before the election.” To me, that seems interesting. Not to the media, though.
Still, all that static meant that the Narrative had to receive a tweak: “Yes, of course there was voter fraud, but there is always voter fraud. There just wasn’t widespread voter fraud.” George Stephanopoulos tried a variation of that on Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota. It did not go well for George.
As more and more “anomalies” surfaced, the Narrative had to shift again. A couple of weeks ago, the line became, “Maybe there was pretty widespread fraud – it’s a big country, after all – but it was not so serious as to alter the course of the election.”
I thought that an odd response because – speaking of “after all” – Biden’s margin of victory varied between thin and razor thin: some 11,000 votes in Arizona, about the same in Georgia, 20,000 votes in Wisconsin. Biden’s margin in Pennsylvania is 80,000, but that, too, is thin when one considers that around midnight Trump was ahead by some 700,000 votes. What happened?
I think I know, but let’s check back in on the Narrative here next weekend. Now the voice of the Narrative is saying, “Maybe be there was widespread fraud, and maybe, just maybe, it affected the outcome in some places, but it is too late now. The electors meet on December 14, and to persist with any challenge would be to disrupt the process, which is sacrosanct.”
Ah, the process! When Donald Trump won in 2016 there was incredulity followed by hysteria followed by resistance weaponized by the strong arm of the actors in the Justice Department, our intelligence services, and deep-state bureaucrats. That has continued for four years.
Now the nearly 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump are supposed to acquiesce calmly to a process that appears to be thoroughly rigged.
What happened? Let’s leave Dominion Voting Systems and direct cyber interference out of account for the moment. Think about this. Generally, about 5 percent of the vote is by absentee ballot. Traditionally, the presumption was that one would vote in person if possible. If, for some good reason, it was not possible, one would request an absentee ballot. This time, under the cover of COVID-19, millions upon millions of ballots were sent out. Somewhere between 90 million and 100 million were returned – 60 percent of the vote. What checks were in place to authenticate them? Essentially none. No signature verification, no easily audited trail from voter to vote counter, nothing really. It was an invitation to vote manipulation.
I suspect the 2020 election was rigged six months ago, when the Democrats understood that they could use the hysteria over COVID-19 as a cover for the most massive ballot stuffing scam in history. Donald Trump warned about it, but did nothing. Maybe he couldn’t do anything. Maybe the inertia of the bureaucracy was too strong. I do not know.
Some observers who are upset by the fraud put their faith in state legislatures, whom they expect to refuse to certify electors. Others look to the courts. Perhaps some of those appeals will prevail. But I would not be surprised if the pressure of the Narrative wins out. “It is too late,” the courts will say. “We can’t overturn the process because then people will not have faith in our electoral process.”
But what of those nearly 74 million people who voted for Trump, who are convinced that the election was stolen, and who see in the process, not an affirmation of orderliness but a permanent betrayal? What of them?
Hard cheese, probably. I write in the afternoon of December 5. In just a few hours, Donald Trump will take the stage in Valdosta, Georgia for his first post-election rally. He is due to be joined on stage by GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are battling in a close-run race to hold on to their seats in a run-off election January 5. If they lose, the Senate will be split 50-50, handing effective control of the body to the Democrats—assuming that Joe Biden assumes office January 20 and Kamala Harris is his vice president and therefore also president of the Senate, able to cast the tie-breaking vote when the Senate is deadlocked.
I am told that something like $1 billion is being spent in that Senate battle. It is hugely important, and I believe that Lin Wood and others who seem to be advising Republicans not to vote are advising a destructive course of action. (Is Lin Wood even on the side of the GOP? For all his very public stomping for Trump, some people have questioned that.)
I think that maintaining Republican control of the Senate is an essential stopgap to the triumph of the radical Left agenda that put up Joe Biden as its moderate-looking puppet who was in fact a sort of Trojan Horse for a program that is anything but moderate.
But I also believe that if Biden prevails, our electoral system will not be vindicated but violated. We’ll hear people like Chris Wallace assuring us as the inauguration unfolds that “the orderly process of the transfer of power has once again prevailed.” Very few people who voted for Trump will believe that. It’s not just that they remember what happened in 2016—where were the newscasters then warming each other with their bromides about the orderly transfer of power that the election of Donald Trump represented? It’s also that they know that the election of 2020 was rigged, awash in voter fraud and voter manipulation.
In 2016, the deep-state machine did not do much to rig the election because it assumed that Donald Trump could not win. Hillary was a shoo-in, so why bother?
In 2020, they knew that Trump could win, so they intervened beforehand to make sure that he wouldn’t.
I believe that is what happened, which makes all the talk about “respecting the electoral process” and the “voice of the people” ring hollow.
If the legislative and legal powers being asked to scrutinize the election acquiesce in the Narrative and reject Donald Trump, I believe that the “process” they affirm will be that process through which the election was manipulated and then stolen. It will be an affirmation of illegitimacy in the guise of principled face-saving. The real goal – unstated but omnipresent – is to make sure that no one like Donald Trump can ever again be elected. They might just succeed in that. The cost will be the further, perhaps fatal, undermining of our electoral system’s legitimacy.
I understand, of course, that for the Democrats and their flaks the issue is not legitimacy but control.
It used to be that we’d have an election, often hard fought, and one side would win, the other would lose. The losing side would accept the result partly because it had faith in the fundamental fairness of the system, partly because it assumed that everyone involved maintained an underlying allegiance to the American way of life. Despite our differences, we were all Americans, in it together. The faith in fairness has been shattered beyond recovery and the assumption of anything like a shared consensus seems more and more like a naïve pretense when it isn’t just a cynical hustings gambit.
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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).