Don’t Let Trump Steal the Show With ‘Stop the Steal’

You cannot actually debunk Republican accusations of voter fraud. You can show they aren’t true (and they aren’t), but that has no bearing on the belief itself.

“Voter fraud” is not a factual claim subject to testing and objective analysis as much as it’s a statement of ideology, a belief about the way the world works. In practice, to accuse Democrats of voter fraud is to say that Democratic voters are not legitimate political actors, that their votes do not count the same as those of “the people” (that is, the Republican electorate) and that Democratic officials, elected with those illegitimate votes, have no rightful claim to power.

In a sense, one should take accusations of voter fraud seriously but not literally, as apologists for Donald Trump once said of the former president. These accusations, the more florid the better, tell the audience that the speaker is aligned with Trump and that he or she supported his attempt to subvert the 2020 presidential election. They also tell the audience that the speaker will do anything necessary to “stop the steal,” which is to say anything to stop a Republican from losing an election and, barring that, anything to delegitimize the Democrat who won.

In the last days of the California recall election that ended this week, for example, the leading Republican candidate, Larry Elder, urged his supporters to report fraud using a website that claimed to have “detected fraud” in the results. “Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in third-world nations (such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran) have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor,” the site readElder himself told Fox News that the 2020 election was “full of shenanigans.”

“My fear is they’re going to try that in this election right here,” he said.

Never mind that the results had not yet come in at the time Elder promoted this website, or that he was a long shot to begin with. The last Republican to win statewide high office in California was Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, when he ran successfully for re-election after winning the 2003 recall vote against the Democrat Gray Davis. Newsom, a Democrat, won his 2018 race for governor by nearly 24 points. Elder was not doomed to lose, but the idea that the election was rigged — that he was robbed of victory by mass cheating and fraud — was ridiculous. But again, the point of voter fraud accusations isn’t to describe reality; the point is to express a belief, in this case, the belief that Newsom and his supporters are illegitimate.

There are other candidates running for office making similar claims. Adam Laxalt, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race, has promised to “file lawsuits early” in order to “tighten up the election.” Laxalt co-chaired Trump’s 2020 campaign in the state and supported the effort to overturn the results. “There’s no question that, unfortunately, a lot of the lawsuits and a lot of the attention spent on Election Day operations just came too late,” he said in a recent interview.

Trump endorsed Laxalt this summer, praising his commitment to the voter fraud narrative. “He fought valiantly against the Election Fraud, which took place in Nevada,” said Trump in a statement. “He is strong on Secure Borders and defending America against the Radical Left. Adam has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

This isn’t just rhetoric, either. The ideological belief in voter fraud is driving actual efforts to delegitimize Democratic Party victories and tilt the electoral playing field in favor of Republican candidates. In Florida, for instance, a member of the state House of Representatives introduced a draft bill that would require an Arizona-style election audit in the state’s largest (and most heavily Democratic) counties.

In Georgia, a Trump-backed candidate for secretary of state, Jody Hice, is running on a promise to do what the incumbent Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t: subvert the election for Trump’s benefit should the former president make another bid for the White House. “If elected, I will instill confidence in our election process by upholding the Georgia Constitution, enforcing meaningful reform and aggressively pursuing those who commit voter fraud,” Hice said in a statement announcing his candidacy in March. As a congressman, he voted against certifying the 2020 election in January and, the following month, told a group of conservative activists, “What happened this past election was solely because of a horrible secretary of state and horrible decisions that he made.”

There is also the question of Republican voters themselves. According to a Monmouth University poll taken in June, nearly one-third of Americans believe that Joe Biden’s victory was the result of fraud, including 63 percent of Republicans. If Republican politicians keep pushing the voter fraud narrative, it is as much because Republican voters want to hear it as it is because those politicians are themselves true believers.

If this voter fraud ideology were just a matter of bad information, that would be straightforward (if not exactly easy) to fix. But as the legal scholar Ned Foley has argued, the assertion of fraud — the falsification of reality in support of narrow political goals — is more akin to McCarthyism. It cannot be reasoned with, only defeated.

The problem is that to break the hold of this ideology on Republican voters, you need Republican politicians to lead the charge. A Margaret Chase Smith, for example. But as long as Trump controls the party faithful — as long as he is, essentially, the center of a cult of personalitythose voices, if they even exist, won’t say in public what they almost certainly say behind closed doors.

It is up to Democrats, then, to at least safety-proof our electoral system against another attempt to “stop the steal.” The Senate filibuster makes that a long shot as well, even as centrist Democrats like Joe Manchin insist that there’s a compromise to strike with Republicans. Let’s hope he’s right because at this stage of the game, it is the only move left to play.

Is it possible that Trump has convinced himself that he won the election so as not to admit he is a loser?

“Is it possible that Trump has convinced himself …”

This actually mischaracterizes the way that Trump has always worked. He has a narcissistic personality disorder.

One of the thinks that a narcissist like Trump cannot possibly do is to be a loser. To have to acknowledge that he had lost, even worse lost to a senile, barely competent old man hiding in the basement, would have been something Trump simply could not contemplate

But narcissists often have a particular symptom (or perhaps ability):

Since reality doesn’t support their grandiose view of themselves, narcissists live in a fantasy world propped up by distortion, self-deception, and magical thinking.

So, in contemplating what could happen in the 2020 election, Trump is aware enough that he could lose – even though he will tell his people to only show him the “good polls”. He knows that he can never accept being a loser so he creates his alternative world “fantasy” of massive fraud and stolen election. Whatever the initial motivation. this serves not only to deceive his supporters (on whom he will later rely on to defend the “big lie”) but achieves a “self-deception”.

For “normal” people, it would be, and is, very difficult to hold in your mind a factual knowledge and a non-factual belief of this type. But not for Trump. I would suggest, for instance, that he absolutely believes that his inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama’s (and it is important to him that it be so). I imagine, when he first looked out across the crowd in the Mall, that was the reality that he decided was true, and there was absolutely no way that facts would get in the way of that.

It is similar with the “If I lose, the election was rigged” fantasy. That is so deeply embedded, he probably believes it. Or at least, it is the only truth of relevance to him. And his acolytes and court followers gather round to feed him fatuous, imaginary and disproven “evidence” that fits his fantasy. And this same “evidence” is sufficient to “maintain the faith” for his supporters. Not such a demanding task, of course, as faith is belief not requiring evidence. All the supporters need is a few dot points to wave around like fig leaves, such as “but the suitcase full of ballots under the table”, ”but the statistical anomalies, the counting pauses, the sudden jumps”. They can roll out their top ten greatest hits and, even when you clearly show them the fallacy of the claim, they refuse to change their belief, going back to “well you haven’t disproved that there was fraud” and “but Trump was so much more popular”.

So it has been a fantasist populist leader, inspiring absolute faith from his supporters in a “big lie” fantasy.

Anchor asks Republican for concrete proof of fraud (Drop Boxes)

A CNN host just asked a freshman Republican for concrete evidence of fraud.

He maintains that election drop boxes are grounds for overturning the election.

  • Drop boxes were ligitated and dismissed with prejudice
  • Trump had the opportunity to object to drop boxes months before the election but waited until after he had lost.

 

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Gene Yaw: Let’s Get Things Straight

At the outset, and in the interest of full disclosure, I will state that I voted for Donald Trump every time his name was on the ballot.   I also supported his campaign financially.   Do I like the fact that the candidate I supported lost – NO.  Nevertheless, our system requires that, as a citizen, I respect the laws of this state and country.

Since the November 3rd election, I have been told that “I am not a Patriot.”  I am a military veteran and, of course, that previous comment came from a person who has never carried a weapon in the defense of this country.  I have been told “I do not understand the law.”   I am a lawyer, and, of course, that previous comment came from a non-lawyer.  I have been told that “I do not understand importance of the state legislature in the election process.”   I am a fairly senior member of the Pennsylvania Senate and, of course, that comment was made by a person who has never served in any elected office.    One misinformed soul even pontificated that it was clear I was “not running for office again.”  Of course, they fail to recognize that I have not yet been sworn into the term for which I was just re-elected.  A final threat I received is that if I don’t agree with those who don’t like the election results “I can guarantee you that you will never be re-elected to any other office again.”  Ironically, that comment came from a disgruntled citizen from Iowa.   For the record – I do not plan to run for office in Iowa.

Whether any of these misinformed comments mean anything is a question I will leave to my constituents.    Pending that, however, I will explain what my background and experience tell me about the November 3rd election and where we stand today.   For those who want to take the time to understand, hopefully this will help to close this issue and move us on to matters which need our undivided attention.    For the minority who think they have all the answers and disregard any facts contrary to their belief, this will do nothing.

There are two primary issues raised about the election.   One is that there is “widespread fraud and irregularities” in the election.   The second is that under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the legislature is the only body, which can determine how a states electors are chosen.  I will address each, but before doing so, I will make it clear that I am a firm believer in the “rule of law” because without honoring the rule of law, we are left with chaos.   In the current situation, there are laws which have been in existence for many years.   Those laws set the stage for the conduct of the election on November 3rd and we are bound by them, like it or not.

The Trump lawyers have talked about “widespread fraud and irregularities” since November 3rd.   Talking has led to allegations in lawsuits.   Therein lies an important point.    Making allegations in a lawsuit is easy.   In any lawsuit, however, allegation must be proven by testimony presented under oath from witnesses who have personal knowledge of the events at issue.   We have all heard about “100’s of affidavits” or “stacks of affidavits” supporting the talk about fraud and irregularities.    For whatever reason, however, none of this supporting proof or testimony from witnesses has been presented in any of the court proceedings.  Saying a problem exists is easy.   Proving a problem exists is difficult.  Repeatedly saying a problem exists is not proof of existence.

I am not privy to the rationale followed by the Trump lawyers as to why litigation was conducted in a certain way.  To my knowledge, Trump’s lawyers have filed at least 40 lawsuits throughout the United States, including several in Pennsylvania.   Thus far, the number of decisions favorable to the Trump claims of fraud and irregularities is zero.  It cannot go unnoticed that many of the decisions were issued by judges who we would say have a Republican leaning.  Some were appointed by Bush, some by Obama and some by Trump but all reached the same conclusion.  We all recognize a 0-40 record as not being a good performance.   The overwhelming consensus in those decisions is that there is no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities in the November 3rd election. Moreover, we cannot ignore the fact that United States Attorney General and the Director of the FBI, both of whom are Trump appointees, have publicly stated that there is no evidence to support claims of widespread fraud and irregularities.   Either Trump has the dumbest lawyers on the planet or there really is no proof of widespread fraud or irregularities.

Much blame for the Trump loss in Pennsylvania is laid on the mail in ballot provisions of Act 77.   My question is if the mail in voting of Act 77 was so bad, why did the Trump organization send out a mail-in ballot application to every registered Republican in the state?    At first, the Trump organization was against mail-in voting, but halfway through the campaign a flip flop was done and mail-in voting was encouraged.   The campaign flip flop clearly caused confusion among voters.

The November 3rd election resulted in Republican wins in state row offices for the first time in 40 years.  There were Republican gains in the Pennsylvania House majority and Republicans maintained their advantage in the Senate.  Clearly, Republicans did well in the election.   Were the elections in all of those races subject to fraud and irregularities?   The answer is, no.   So, the question is what happened to Trump?  The short and simple answer is that he did not receive enough votes in what used to be Republican strongholds such as the collar counties around Philadelphia.

With regard to presidential electors, Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature therof may direct, a Number of Electors…”    The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case Bush v Gore, stated “[w]hen the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental.”   Pennsylvania’s Election Code adopted in 1937, provides that in Pennsylvania, electors are determined by the popular vote for the office of President.  Pennsylvania’s legislature, 83 years ago, determined that the people would choose electors by vesting that right in its people.  In Pennsylvania, that is a fundamental right which has served to elect Presidents for the past eight decades.   In fact, Pennsylvania has followed this approach since the election of George Washington in 1789.    So, the rules of the game, so to speak, for the November 3rd election were set in 1937 and under those rules the people, not the legislature, choose the Presidential electors.

Many emails and comments I receive simply ignore the fundamental right that voters have in selecting electors and just say that the legislature should ignore that law and name different electors.    Not only does that suggestion run contrary to the provision of Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution but that suggestion also ignores the ex post facto provisions included in both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of Pennsylvania.    Ex post facto provisions prohibit the changing of laws after an event to make them applicable to an event which has already occurred.   This concept is at the very core of our system of government.   A very simple example is that if you are driving 70 mph today in a 70 mph zone, the constitutions prohibit changing the law next week to say that the speed limit was 60 mph and charging you with a 10 mph violation.   We can always change laws going forward, we cannot go backward.   So, the rules for who selects electors in Pennsylvania were established in 1937 and they are the rules applicable to the November 3rd election.   The people choose the electors by their votes and those results were certified by the governor according to the Election Law on November 24th, 2020.  Those are the persons who will vote on January 6th.

Talking about fraud and irregularities is easy.   Perhaps it is appropriate to say that talk is cheap.  Providing facts under oath in a court setting is a difficult challenge but that is what our rule of law requires.   That is what keeps our country civilized.

What arguments have you found to be effective in convincing others that the 2020 presidential election wasn’t stolen and/or didn’t involve significant voter fraud?

None. There is no argument that will convince these people.

You have to remember who we’re talking about. These are people who:

  • Actually believed Trump would build a wall all along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.
  • Actually believed Trump would bring back coal. (Seriously. They sincerely thought this would happen. For real. They actually thought coal would come back because the President said so.)
  • Actually believed that Trump had the biggest inauguration ever, bigger than Obama’s, no matter how many photographs they saw.
  • Actually believed that Trump had a plan that would replace Obamacare and would be cheaper and better. (“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”)

These are people who live in a world of alternative facts, a place where the truth is whatever you want to be true and anything that says otherwise—like, for example, photographs of the inauguration—are a lie.

And I mean, Trump has said this before. Every election he loses is “rigged.” Rigged, rigged, rigged, rigged. It’s the only thing he can say.

They believed him when he said this before, why wouldn’t they believe him now?

No argument can change these people’s minds. They don’t live in the real world.

(Hey, guys, how are those coal jobs doing? Coming back, are they?)

Dominion Software Intentionally Designed to Influence Election Results: Forensics Report

A forensic audit of Dominion Voting Systems machines and software in Michigan showed that they were designed to create fraud and influence election results, a data firm said Monday.

“We conclude that the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results,” Russell Ramsland Jr., co-founder of Allied Security Operations Group, said in a preliminary report.

The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud. Based on our study, we conclude that The Dominion Voting System should not be used in Michigan. We further conclude that the results of Antrim County should not have been certified,” he added.

Ramsland, a former Reagan administration official who has worked for NASA, and others from the group examined Dominion products in Antrim County earlier this month as part of an ongoing case.

The team inspected and performed forensic duplication on the county’s election management server, which was running Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5.3-002, compact flash cards used by local precincts in their Dominion ImageCast system, USB memory sticks used by Dominion Voter Assist Terminals, and USB memory sticks used for the poll book. They used X-Ways Forensics and other tools including Blackbag-Blacklight Forensic Software, and Virtual Box.

13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer approved the forensic examination in Bailey v. Antrim County, which alleges the infamous vote flip county officials reported last month may have not been the result of human error, as officials had alleged.

Elsenheimer earlier Monday agreed to let the report on the examination be published.

jocelyn benson
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 18, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Ramsland noted that Antrim County officials first reported on Election Night that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden received, out of 12,423 votes, nearly 7,800.

Two days later, they said President Donald Trump actually won the county, receiving nearly 9,800 votes out of over 17,000 cast.

But on Nov. 21, the officials again updated the figures, removing about 1,300 votes from Biden.

Ramsland said the tabulation log for the forensic examination of the server for the county showed 15,676 individual events. Of those, some 68 percent were recorded errors.

“These errors resulted in overall tabulation errors or ballots being sent to adjudication. This high error rates proves the Dominion Voting System is flawed and does not meet state or federal election laws,” he wrote.

“A staggering number of votes required adjudication. This was a 2020 issue not seen in previous election cycles still stored on the server. This is caused by intentional errors in the system. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, or audit trail. Our examination of the server logs indicates that this high error rate was incongruent with patterns from previous years. The statement attributing these issues to human error is not consistent with the forensic evaluation, which points more correctly to systemic machine and/or software errors. The systemic errors are intentionally designed to create errors in order to push a high volume of ballots to bulk adjudication,” he added later.

Ramsland was hired by William Bailey, the plaintiff in the court case.

Gary Miliefsky, a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security and publisher of Cyber Defense Magazine, told The Epoch Times that Ramsland and his team “have the cybersecurity and forensic capabilities and expertise that cannot be dismissed.”

“In fact, looking at their team, their patents, their experience, we now have a credible analysis that as I predicted, the Algorithms being used in the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed to create systematic fraud and influence election results and in this case, not in the favor of President Trump,” he added.

In a separate declaration filed by Bailey’s lawyers, Michigan resident Gustavo Delfino said he was involved in a 2004 election in his native Venezuela. He said he witnessed strange events and later found discrepancies involving Smartmatic computers. He said he was alarmed when he learned the technology was being used in the Nov. 3 presidential election and said the pattern of so-called glitches and voting machines being connected to the Internet mirrored what happened in his country nearly two decades ago.

Spokespersons for Antrim County and Dominion didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement after the report was released: “Let’s be clear: Michigan’s Nov. 3 general election in Michigan and across the country was the most secure in the nation’s history. There continues to be no evidence of widespread fraud.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel added: “Oftentimes, a party will hire an expert witness to support the conclusion that the party wants or needs to reach. It’s why we give the other parties in a lawsuit a chance to depose the expert and challenge their qualifications in court. Anyone can have an opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the opinion is based on fact or science.”

Officials alleged that the team behind the audit doesn’t have expertise in election administration and technology. In a court filing, Michigan Elections Director Jonathan Brater said the report “makes a series of unsupported conclusions, ascribes motives of fraud and obfuscation to processes that are easily explained as routine election procedures or error corrections, and suggests without explanation that elements of election software not used in Michigan are somehow responsible for tabulation or reporting errors that are either nonexistent or easily explained.”

Erik Grill, an assistant attorney general, told the judge during the hearing on Monday morning that the preliminary report was “inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading.” Haider Kazim, an attorney for the county, said it contained several errors the county believes were based on “faulty assumptions and incorrect assumptions.”