Cultivating a Coup

Ah, yes. The age-old tale of dead, illegal immigrants stealing your granny’s purse as well as her vote.

Donald Trump isn’t the only person to allege voter fraud. He’s not the first person to allege voter fraud. He is, however, the only President to allege voter fraud on the massive scale he’s been bellowing about since 2016. He’s been building this farse for the better part of four years.

What we’re witnessing now, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, is totally on-brand for Lame Duck President, Donald Trump. If you didn’t see this coming, then you haven’t been paying attention. This was always going to happen, whether Trump won or not, because the outgoing president is both a sore loser and a sore winner. 

I mean, at least he’s consistent. 

Of course, it’s not just instances of illegal immigrants and dead people voting that Trump has been screaming about like that banshee on Darby O’Gill and the Little People. (Anybody else remember that movie? That damn banshee scared the shit out of me.) Trump has been alleging for years that United States polling stations are “absolutely rigged” by the “dishonest media” (BBC, 2016). Rudi Giuliani has been saying the same thing for just as long about Democrats. In 2016, he told CNN:

“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat… they don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats…I’m sorry. Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans.”

Not only is Giuliani suggesting that Democrats are more prone to cheating than Republicans, but he’s also being lowkey racist. The suggestion that inner cities would be more prone to cheating is also suggesting that People of Color are more prone to cheating or more willing to cheat, since inner cities are primarily made up of POC. 

Two birds, one stone, I guess?

Understand what I’m setting up for you here—alleging voter fraud is not just a talking point for the Trump campaign. It is cornerstone. It is a way of life.

Why? Why would Trump do this? Why would anybody go along with it? Well, let’s not forget that Trump’s win in 2016 was a huge surprise to many. He was behind in the polls the entire campaign. Looking at the data, there didn’t seem to be any way that trump could win. An infographic from the BBC on October 17th of 2016 showed Clinton with a lead of nearly four points:

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The only way Trump could ever justify this lead was to cry election fraud, even if the election hadn’t yet happened. If Clinton won, her win would be delegitimized by this narrative. Most election polls were calling it for Clinton. Most news outlets discussed this lead, continuing to suggest that Trump had no chance. 

Then election night happened. 

I took my then 5-year-old to vote with me before I took him to school that morning. I was excited to have him there with me when I voted for who I hoped would be the first female president. But unlike many of my friends, I was worried. I’d expressed this worry to almost no one, save my husband. The week before, my son came home from school and told me they’d had a mock election in his kindergarten classroom. Each student was asked to cast their vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. 

I asked him who he voted for. 

He drew a little “H” with his finger and said, “Hiwawy.” (That little speech impediment was so cute.) 

Then I asked him who won.

“Twump.”

He proceeded to tell me that there was only one vote for Hillary Clinton in his entire class—his. 

Now, I know the results of a kindergarten classroom election in a deep red county (and state) probably weren’t all that accurate. Still, I felt this nagging at my core. I was nervous. It wasn’t lost on me how “unlikable” Clinton was. It wasn’t lost on me that in the months leading up to the election, everything from her mannerisms to her emails had been scrutinized. She was investigated and then reinvestigated by James Comey and the FBI. Rumors swirled about her health. Rumors swirled about everything, especially her win over Bernie Sanders at the DNC. I, myself, had voted for Sanders in the primary. Not because I hated Clinton, but because she was simply too moderate for me. Feelings for her on my side of the fence were lukewarm at best and loathsome at worst. I wasn’t crazy about her running mate, either. He failed to get anyone excited. He was more of the same to many of us. (I’ve had to look up his name on more than one occasion since 2016.)

Donald Trump, on the other hand, was exciting.

People loved him. People where I’m from practically worship(ped) him. I’d never seen a presidential candidate’s name flying on a flag on the back of someone’s truck until 2016. I’d never seen campaign t-shirts and hats the way I had until 2016. I mean, I had an Obama beanie that I was afraid to wear. Every time I drove down to my parents’ house, a 20-minute drive in another (red) county, I passed by a giant billboard with a cartoon character of Barack Obama in a turban that read, “Barack “HUSSAIN” Obama.”  

(It was later set on fire, but that’s a (hilarious) story for another time.)

I passed a Trump Train (an actual mini locomotive) on my way to work that was placed among a field of tiny, white tombstones marked as the “graves of the unborn.” 

I went grocery shopping in an ocean of Make America Great Again hats. 

I’d been told on multiple occasions that I was a terrorist by proxy, because my best friend converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. I’d been deleted and blocked by people who’d been my friends since elementary school. I got messages on Facebook from men I’d never met telling me they hoped I’d get raped and murdered when I commented on local news articles (and listen, I’m not here to tell you I was minding my own business—if you’ve read anything I’ve written on this blog, then you know that it’s probably not in my nature to be quiet when given the opportunity to speak up). 

It felt increasingly possible that Donald Trump could win, especially since most people in the country were aware, on some level, of Russian meddling in the election–not with the actual voting process, but through a concerted social media campaign on Facebook.

 I watched the results unfold in our game room. I sat on the couch and watched the electoral college slip away, state by state.

I went to bed around 11 p.m. I didn’t want to see any more. 

And yet, even after the election turned out in Trump’s favor, he was Tweeting about election fraud. He couldn’t seem to handle the fact that Hillary Clinton had beaten him in the popular vote by more than 2 million. 

The last four years have been a leadup to the 2020 election, but Trump’s entire life was a leadup to 2016. Any time Trump doesn’t like the way something turns out, he claims fraud or that he was treated “unfairly.” Nothing is ever his fault. He never admits to losing. 

Poor guy. It must suck to spend your whole life as a victim.

In May of 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to form the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Integrity (whitehouse.gov, 2017). Vice President Mike Pence was named as the Chairman. It appears that the last meeting of the commission was on September 12th, 2017, which was just the second of two total meetings. 

The commission was disbanded in 2018, after it was forced to comply with a court order that required the Trump Administration to turn over documents from the commission to Maine Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap (Villeneuve, 2018). Dunlap found no evidence of the widespread voter fraud Trump alleged in 2016 leading up to, during, and after the election. Dunlap released his findings on a webpage that you can view HERE.

Despite what Donald Trump, many in the Republican party, and outliers like those in QANON and other groups want you to believe, we do not have widespread or mass voter fraud in the United States right now, and we haven’t for a very, very long time.

I’ve seen those who believe in this fraud say that Democrats keep saying “widespread” so that they can continue to keep the people in the dark about what’s “really” happening, but the truth is that widespread voter fraud is exactly what Trump and his cronies are talking about—voter fraud happening on a huge, country-wide scale. Widespread voter fraud during the last two elections and instances of voter fraud throughout the history of our country are two very different things. 

Back in the days of Tammany Hall in New York City, voter fraud was a huge problem. We all learned about that in high school history class. In the mid-1880’s, Tammany thugs would force people to vote more than once by changing their appearance, they paid people off, and they threatened violence when anyone dared to resist. Ballot stuffing was a regular thing, as was parties producing their own ballots on election day (Blakemore, 2020). It wasn’t just urban areas, though. This was an issue all over, and this problem was partly dissuaded with the advent of the “secret ballot.” 

Today, not only can you not beat the shit out of someone who doesn’t want to vote for you (Sorry, Donald), but you also cannot electioneer within the vicinity of active polling places. We have ballots printed in many different languages, voter machines have to be tested and certified, and poll workers are trained before an election to ensure optimum competence. 

Voter fraud is extremely rare, specifically because of what we’ve seen happen in our history with voting, and this country has spent quite a lot of time, money, and effort not only ensuring that voting fraud doesn’t happen with regularity, but we’ve also spent a lot of time, money, and effort trying to prove it when we think it does.

In 2007, the Brennan Center for Justice analyzed the returns from states where voter fraud had been alleged in the 2000 and 2004 elections. They found that “Incident rates of between .0003 and .0025 percent—meaning a voter had a higher likelihood of being struck by lightning (or a car on the way to the polling place). Instances of double voting, ballots cast by ineligible voters, or registrations with flawed addresses did exist, though they were rare and most of the alleged “fraud” came down to human error.”

In fact, The Brennan Center for Justice has a whole project related to voter fraud, and you can view it HERE if you’d like. They even published links to multiple studies (not performed by them) on voter fraud, and these studies date back more than a decade. They also provide exhaustive lists of court cases and government investigations, all of which found that voter fraud is, essentially, a myth. Time and time again, we see that instances of voter fraud that could swing an election one way or another simply doesn’t happen

Now, before we go any further, I want to make it very clear that voter fraud and voter suppression are not the same thing. In this country, we continue to have an issue with voter suppression of marginalized people. This goes back to the Jim Crow era when in order to vote, you had to be able to read, and continues on with the the strict voter ID laws we see in place today.

We’re seeing attempted voter suppression right now with our own government. 

Stop counting ballots! 

Stop the count! 

No, wait, keep counting. 

Oh, no, don’t count mail-in ballots. 

ONLY ELECTION DAY VOTES SHOULD COUNT! 

This month in Wayne County, Michigan, two Republican officials were on the verge of rejecting hundreds of thousands of votes in Michigan’s most populous county, which includes the city of Detroit. They’d initially refused to certify ballots because of small discrepancies that are common in every election and do not at all indicate fraud. One of the Republican officials, Monica Palmer, actually suggested certifying all of the results except for the results that came out of Detroit, where nearly 80% of the residents are Black (Astor, 2020).

It’s hard for me to find the words to express how I feel about this, but let me try—THAT SUGGESTION IS FUCKING RACIST, MONICA. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, MONICA? WHO THE FUCK RAISED YOU TO BELIEVE EVEN THINKING THAT THOUGHT, LET ALONE SAYING IT OUT LOUD WAS OKAY, MONICA?

Eventually, Monica and her buddy William Hartmann agreed to certify the votes, which was absolutely not what Trump had been hoping for. So, what did he do? Well, he picked up the phone to call them both. He had a nice, little chat with them, and afterwards, both Palmer and Hartman attempted to rescind their vote. 

I want to make sure that I hammer this point home—our President called two election officials after they certified a vote, and afterwards, both officials attempted to keep that certification from happening. 

Of course, Palmer and Hartmann were blocked from being good, little foot soldiers for Trump, due to the fact that it’s not legally possible to undo a vote to certify. Still, this was a concerted effort on the part of the President of the United States to meddle in the election certification process and to suppress votes that had been legally cast. 

You and I both know Trump didn’t call either of them to ask about Black Friday specials at TJ Maxx. In true Boss Tweed fashion, he called to apply pressure. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Trump will also abscond to Spain, be captured by Spanish authorities, and get sent right back to prison where he belongs. 

Seriously, is this Tammany Hall for Dummies or what?

But there is an added layer to the accusations of voter fraud. The running narrative seems to be, that there is a vast and deep conspiracy to steal the election from Trump and the Republicans through the voting mechanisms themselves. I touched on this in my first blog about Parler, where the theory of widespread voter fraud through Dominion voting systems is a favorite. This allegation of ballots being “switched” from Trump to Biden has been widely discredited, but that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump or Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani or even Lin Wood, an Atlanta based Trump wannabe lawyer who currently represents the likes of Kyle Rittenhouse, from continuing to spew the hot garbage theory all over cable access news and the Internet. Eric Boehm (2020) at Reason says the Dominion conspiracy theory was, “born in the fever swamp of a right-wing message board.” 

And I bet we can all guess which one.

From there, we don’t have to guess what happened. We all know. It made its way around the neo-conservative news outlets until Trump fished it out of an OANN dumpster and started to tweet about it.

There is zero evidence of Dominion voter systems switching Trump votes to Biden or deleting votes for Trump altogether. But let’s pretend for a hot sec that it did happen. Wouldn’t the hand recounts have caught that switch/deletion? In order to believe this theory, you’d have to believe that not only were the Dominion voting machines hacked, but that every single election worker (who are both Democrats and Republicans) in every single contested state is also in on the fix. You’d also have to believe that the entire state government in these states (some of whom are run by Republicans) are in on it as well. Furthermore, why wouldn’t the Democrats fix it so that they won by a larger margin and make sure to take both the House and Senate, instead of losing nearly 15 seats in the House while at the same time, subjecting themselves to 2 Senate runoffs in January? 

The Democrats cannot be both evil geniuses who rigged the election and shortsighted morons who didn’t think the plan through enough to take it all. 

It. Doesn’t. Make. Sense. 

I realize that “making sense” is not necessarily a phrase that people are troubling themselves with these days, but damn. Get with the program, 8kun. Can’t you bottom feeders talk to your Swamp Lord, Jim Watkins, and ask him to do a better job next time? This is getting really repetitive, and honestly, it’s not even fun to debunk anymore. Where’s a fucking Qdrop when you need one?

For his part, Trump has abjectly refused to concede, and until recently, he blocked President-elect Biden from having access to essential transition funds and materials he needed to prepare for the next four years as president. 

It’s no secret that Trump has sought to undermine democracy in this country since at least 2016, but now, in 2020, his efforts go far beyond simply tweeting lies about voter fraud. Now Tammany Trump and his underlings (Tammany Trump has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) are actually attempting to undermine democracy by preventing the President-Elect from becoming President of the United States on January 20th, and they’re doing it by submitting ridiculous lawsuit after ridiculous lawsuit through the courts system. The Trump campaign has filed at least 15 lawsuits in the states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona. 

To date, none of these lawsuits have held any weight in court, and states have gone on to certify votes. Not once have any of those lawsuits been able to prove fraud. NOT ONCE, and it should be noted that many of the judges dismissing these lawsuits are conservative judges. 

Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that at Donald Trump’s behest, lawyers and other members of the Republican party (we see you, Lindsey Graham) have sought to undermine the will of the people in this country by chipping away at Democracy and the laws that keep that Democracy in place. 

THIS:

AND THIS:

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are not what Democracy looks like. 

It shouldn’t be what a president looks like. 

Presidents shouldn’t fire the Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure over Twitter.

Presidents shouldn’t oust senior staffers at the Pentagon and replace them with their own henchmen.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shouldn’t be throwing his support behind a president who refuses to concede, even after it’s become increasingly clear that he’s lost by stating on the Senate floor, “Let’s not have any lectures, no lectures, about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election and who insinuated that this one would be illegitimate too if they lost again—only if they lost…Until the Electoral College votes, anyone who is running for office can exhaust concerns in counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction.”

North Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham shouldn’t be calling the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to pressure him to find a way to invalidate legally cast ballots. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shouldn’t be joking that there will be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Attorney General William Barr shouldn’t be sending out memos automatically authorizing voting fraud investigations, which prompted the top election crimes prosecutor to resign, because it flies in the face of a 40-year policy on ballot fraud investigations. 

Cybercrimes and cyberwarfare tactics against the United States are alive and well in nations like Russia and North Korea.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un don’t need your help, bro.

And yet…

Donald Trump persists in staging a coup.

It’s not going to work, and with each passing day, he looks more and more ridiculous, but that doesn’t negate the harm that he and anyone else working at his behest have done to shatter the faith in our elections, fray the smooth transition of power, and create a mockery of the highest office in our country. 

 And anyone who believes him, supports him, retweets him, or suggests in any way that the free and fair election held on November 3rd, 2020, should be undone is aiding and abetting him. 

You cannot, under any circumstances, call yourself a patriot if you support turning over election results with zero evidence of fraud, just because you don’t like the result. 

That

Is

Not

How

Democracy

Works.

Oh, and Sidney Powell, sweetheart, Hugo Chavez has been dead since 2013.

Yours Truly,

Tiny Blue Dot

References:

Astor, M. (2020, November 18). When Michigan Republicans Refused to Certify Votes, It Wasn’t Normal. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/us/politics/michigan-election-results.html

Background on Trump’s ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission. (2017, July 18). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/background-trumps-voter-fraud-commission

Blakemore, E. (2020, November 11). Voter fraud used to be rampant. Now it’s an anomaly. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/11/voter-fraud-used-to-be-rampant-now-an-anomaly/#close

Boehm, E. (2020, November 16). Don’t Buy the Debunked Dominion Voting Machine Conspiracy Theory. Retrieved from https://reason.com/2020/11/16/dont-buy-the-debunked-dominion-voting-machine-conspiracy-theory/

PACEI Docs Page. (2018, June 27). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from http://paceidocs.sosonline.org/

Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity Resources. (2018, January 02). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/presidential-advisory-commission-election-integrity-resources-2/

Published by tinybluedot2020

Just a tiny blue dot in a deep red state.

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