As readers have probably guessed, I’ve been taking a bit of a Christmas holiday and not posting much recently. (As an update from several weeks ago, I continue to work on an extensive article about Chinese land holdings in the U.S., and some implications for national security. That won’t be out until the New Year at this point.)
This Ready Room will be a little grab-bag of reflections on a few topics, the first of which is the Arizona judge’s ruling against gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s lawsuit over the conduct of the 2022 general election in Maricopa County. The evidence of irregularities is extensive, and a strong case was made that failures of preparation and operation on election day, including machines and back-up planning, ended up disenfranchising numerous voters. In the opinion of legal experts who were tracking the lawsuit and the court filings by Kari Lake, the evidence also showed an unmistakable bias in the political demographics affected by the irregularities, which were overwhelmingly Republican precincts.
I want to focus on just one aspect of the issue, however. Rachel Alexander at Townhall spoke for many in opining that the judge made politically biased decisions about which claim counts in the lawsuit he would allow, and then in ruling against Lake. But Alexander also did the signal service of listing many recent incidents in which judges in other states had ordered new elections, after they were presented with instances of far fewer irregularities than Lake’s team was able to give evidence of in her lawsuit.
It’s not so routine as to be uninteresting when a new election is ordered by a judge, and it’s generally not for the gubernatorial race. But it’s certainly not unthinkable. And if Lake’s case didn’t meet the threshold – numerous individually documented instances of effective vote suppression in Arizona’s most populous county – nothing would.
Here’s the one observation I want to make. It’s clear the fate of voting irregularities and their effect on elections shouldn’t be left primarily or solely to lawsuits in the state courts. Too much depends on the political bias of individual judges in that case. (And that’s only one of the problems. Invalidating an election, even though judges have done it a number of times, isn’t necessarily an indicated remedy for the irregularities found by the court. That’s even though it might be the fairest and most just outcome for the voters.)
The state legislatures need to think more proactively now about the likelihood of election irregularities, and consider writing remedies into the statutes governing elections in their states. As things stand, the requirement to review elections, require recounts and audits, and order new elections is either a function of a very narrow margin in the vote, or is completely at the discretion of a judge, if a candidate brings a lawsuit.
The outcomes that situation has been producing aren’t working for the people anymore. Judges can’t and shouldn’t be expected to recraft how law responds to the evidence of whatever is causing the growing number of irregularities. It shouldn’t be up to judges to decide whether enough discrepancies in signature matching on mail-in ballots, or voting machine operation, warrant a forensic audit or a new election, nor should judges have broad discretion to admit ballots that weren’t processed or didn’t arrive in conformity with election law.
Election law itself needs to exclude the “finding” of ballots “unexpectedly” in closets and transport vehicles. Basically, election law needs to stop falsely assuming that all functions are being executed in good faith, and start accounting for, regulating, and prohibiting the unregulated practices by which vote-counting has been extended for days and even weeks after the polls have closed on election day.
This must not be left to the courts. Legislatures need to tighten the laws up, and start writing the rules for holding elections as if the possibility of irregularities that adversely affect truthful, accurate outcomes is ever-present – just as criminal statutes are written on the premise that the possibility of robbery, assault, and murder is ever-present; which, of course, it is.
Common crimes are not assumed away by state laws; that would be a deranged approach. Common crimes are defined, so that a standard must be met to prove them. Election irregularities can’t be assumed away either; they need to be defined and to carry remedies envisioned in legislative intent.
One of the chief due-outs of this process should be revised expectations about how easy it is to exploit voting procedures, machine operations, and vote-counting to shape electoral outcomes by the “accidental; things happen” method. New elections should be required more readily when there are such irregularities. Either an election meets a tight standard of integrity, or the law, not a judge, is what dictates that its result cannot be accepted.
Keep in mind, this potential inconvenience is not too high a price to pay. If the American people are governed by the outcomes of elections, it is exactly the right price to pay. Throw out irregularity-ridden elections, even when it’s inconvenient, until the people can be assured that their votes counted and the final count was honest and auditable.
I don’t think this would have to be done very many times to get the point across: that exploiting the vulnerabilities of the election process will no longer be an avenue for potential manipulation. In most of America’s election venues – the vast number of smaller counties across the land, where irregularities have not been as much of an issue – it will hardly make a difference.
Holding and then certifying elections replete with unaddressed irregularities must not pay off, even in theory. And if irregularities are to be prohibited as a potential way of weaponizing elections against voters, legislatures – not judges – will have to see to that. Irregularities in good faith can happen, but even if they happen by accident, they shouldn’t disenfranchise voters. Happenstance should not govern Americans, any more than the potential for deliberate manipulation should.
The purpose of law in this case is to deter the potential for mischief with elections. The purpose isn’t finding miscreants, or merely expressing a wish list about the conduct of elections; the purpose is throwing out voting outcomes that are ridden with discrepancies and lack of accountability.
That’s how you deter the mischief: you don’t let it pay. Stop accepting electoral outcomes accompanied by widespread irregularities.
Lawmakers need to lose the irrational constraint of assuming that elections will simply be executed perfectly or in good faith, and reset the laws to keep vote-counters and ballot-harvesting groups from using that absurd constraint against the people.
The egregious George Santos
So this guy Santos, who got elected as a Republican in U.S. House District NY-03 (Long Island), appears to have lied about pretty much everything on his resume. There’s not much to say about Santos, although one of the things is clearly “Tell it to the hand,” when Democrats and the media express outrage about all the lying. George Santos will never live long enough to lie about all the things Joe Biden has lied about in his political career. And they’re all the same kinds of things: resume lies, who the candidate is, what background he came from. Joe Biden’s biggest moment of oratory about his own origins, back in the 1988 election cycle, turned out to demonstrate that he is actually UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.
Neither Biden nor Santos is the only one who has tried to sell such, er, exaggerated tales to the public. Other Democrats and Republicans have done the same thing. Move on from that; the posturing is cheap and everyone knows it. If actual evidence of honest indignation about these things is present, the people will know it. Currently, it’s not.
Only two points here. One, there’s no excuse for the New York Republican Party not vetting Santos better. I’m a Republican in California; you don’t have to explain feckless state party leadership to me. But this is what it results in. Stop the leaks, guys.
Two, meanwhile: so what do we know about George Santos? In a very odd twist, it seems we’re told, by Santos, that he was straight and married to a woman until shortly before the 2020 election (in which he first ran for the same House seat, but lost), when he decided he was gay. That also appears to be when he decided he was [quote] Jew-ish [unquote] (although he apparently was raised Catholic, but there were Jew-ish cheekbones in his ancestry or something), and had worked for Goldman-Sachs and some other untrue things. This sounds more like a psychotic break or an elaborate, planned ruse than anything else.
My question: how do we know Santos is even an actual, politically committed Republican? I’m guessing he’s registered as a Republican, but clearly, with Santos, that doesn’t mean anything. The situation is extremely weird, but in a way it’s something of a blessing to have it come up.
It’s by no means out of the question to imagine that some Democrats, somewhere, might try to run Sudden Republicans in states (like New York) where the GOP isn’t doing its job very well. In recent primary elections, Democrats have funded and boosted Republicans they think it would be easiest to defeat in the general election, even encouraging crossover voting for them, where party-favored Democrats were certain to win their primaries anyway (i.e., not all Democrats would need to vote for the Democratic candidates to ensure they got to the general election). There were numerous claims that that’s what they – Democrats using a crossover tactic – accomplished by getting Kari Lake selected as the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona. Similar claims have been made about elections elsewhere.
It’s not a stretch to envision running what are essentially fake candidates. I emphasize that I’m not asserting any such thing happened in NY-03. But if candidates aren’t being vetted properly, it could happen. And to insist no one would even think of doing it is to behave, as a former POTUS-in-Chief might say, stupidly.
State GOPs, vet your candidates.
The federal government and its frequent-shipping practices with illegal migrants
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was blamed for busing illegal migrants to Washington, D.C. over the Christmas weekend and dropping them off near Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence. Apparently he hasn’t yet acknowledged being the one to do that, so we’ll suspend a conclusion on it until we’re sure.
But to cut to the chase, the point of this topic in the grab-bag is to reiterate that the agencies of the federal government have been shipping illegals hither and yon around the country since Biden took office, and continue to do so. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) isn’t even really doing its actual job for homeland security anymore. It’s devoting its agents’ time and its budget to moving illegals inland from the border, redistributing them by bus and plane all over the country.
ICE (and CBP, closer to the border) isn’t sending them to Martha’s Vineyard or the neighborhoods of senior public officials, of course. In San Diego, as in many other places, it’s simply dropping them off at bus stations, in the dozens or hundreds in short periods of time. Tent cities immediately spring up, or grow near the ones that already exist, and community workers and police are quickly overwhelmed by the arriving numbers. In Texas and parts of Arizona, “overwhelmed” passed a long time ago, and the meter is simply broken on how much local communities can handle.
The illegal border crossings are on pace to bring 8 million migrants into the country by the end of Biden’s current term. That’s just the ones who receive minimal processing but are at least theoretically known to be here. It doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands of “got-aways” who are observed by the Border Patrol and other agencies watching the border (sheriffs, state police, state Guard reconnaissance), but are never processed.
In calendar year 2022, 78 persons on the terror watch list have been identified by CBP and ICE as entering illegally this year (that figure, from DHS, was reported on Fox News Tuesday morning). That’s four times the number directly involved in the 9/11/2011 attack. What we don’t know is how many of the border “got-aways” include known terrorists, repeat violent felons, and human and drug traffickers.
Previous reporting has also indicated that illegal border-crossers are coming from 160 nations around the world, many of them traveling from Asia and Africa and then through Central America into Mexico to get to the U.S. southern border. They’re not doing this for free. It reportedly costs $5,000-7,000 (paid to the cartels) for the inside-Mexico trip to the U.S. border and the border crossing. (The cartels control the border on the Mexican side.)
Travelers from Africa and Asia are paying up to three times that for a complete trip: to get to their first waypoint in the Americas, and then into the hands of the cartel “coyotes” in Mexico. That money is coming from somewhere.
The facts militate against the myth that migrants are fleeing desperate poverty and danger. Some no doubt are, but video of the mass arrivals never bears that out.
For those who watch only the legacy mainstream media, the tweet streams of reporters Bill Melugin and Sara Carter are a good place to start for comprehensive coverage. Carter in particular is good at getting native-language interviews with illegal border crossers, and has documented many times how many migrants aren’t coming from poverty or danger, but are coming to the USA for good jobs, and who say the news in their countries of origin advertises that the U.S. border is open. They have printed instructions on how to answer questions from CBP and ICE in order to simply be released into the country, and there are loaded Visa cash cards waiting for them at mail-and-ship businesses in American cities.
It’s really time to cut the crap on all this. The Biden administration is literally lying about everything that’s happening and everything it’s doing with respect to border security, and the finger of guilt pointed by the uninvolved at the average American people who just want their border secured and their law enforced is equally a lie. The finger-pointers don’t bother to actually know what they’re talking about.
I’ve always been a friend of legal immigration, and while I don’t necessarily think there’s any call for admitting 8 million people to the U.S. in the space of four years, I’m by no means opposed to immigration. America is enriched by bringing in immigrants of all kinds – legally. But for national security, we need a secure border, and for the continuation of a healthy civic life we need our laws enforced.
We have neither condition in place right now, and that’s exactly what the Biden administration and the media are lying about. That’s unsustainable. It can only produce destructive and debilitating tendencies that, if left unchecked, will drive our nation to ruin.
Many people have said in the last few days that they hope 2023 will be more peaceful than the last few years. I don’t think it will be. We can’t be ruled by lies and expect peace. There will be a reckoning, and our level of control of it may not be that favorable.
But a reckoning is better than lies and festering situations. And I pray for all of us that we will have peace in our hearts and homes even when storm clouds gather.
Feature image: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Felix Garza Jr. (Via Wikimedia Commons)
2 thoughts on “TOC Ready Room 28 December 2022: Grab bag – AZ election lawsuit; George Santos; illegal migrants”
There’s a fundamental problem with your proposal to remedy election malfeasance/misfeasance through state legislatures. How does anyone become a state legislator? By election. Once the election process itself has become corrupted, it’s impossible to vote your way out of the fraud. That’s not to say going through the courts will improve anything as they have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to obstruct the will of the legislatures. And, coincidentally, a lot of judges are “elected”, too.
At this point, we are beyond any meaningful procedural remedy barring a miracle. Until concerned citizens are willing to rise up against this mess à la Brazil, nothing is going to change it. Peacefully, of course.
The North Carolina General Assembly (Legislature) has repeatedly had their election integrity laws overturned by the elected NC Supreme Court, which just did that for a second time on Voter ID.
2018 law. Dec 16, 2022:
2013 Voter ID law had been upheld by Federal District Court, but overturned on appeal to 4th Federal Circuit. From July 29, 2016:
NC Legislature took two paths:
1) Moore v Harper primacy of the Legislature, had oral arguments before SCOTUS on Dec. 7, 2022. Their decision will be HUGE.
SCJ Gorsuch still steamed over refusal, Oct. 28, 2020, of SCOTUS to consider Moore v Circosta after they upheld similar Wisconsin case, about ballot deadlines enshrined in statute. 10 28 2020, quotes Gorsuch dissent:
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e0af34484292c2b6e71c238cc6fc6dc3df5a9678ed3adc17aa35e18ff1b52cac.png(Tim Moore is Speaker of NC House of Representatives)
2) In 2022, NC GOP did have a Red Wave, overlooked by most media because of the House election loss due to court-ordered gerrymander. R-Constitutionalists swept the contests for NC Supreme and Appeals Courts. State Senate gained a veto-proof super-majority, and House will only need one D to also be veto-proof. (NC still has moderate Ds.) Gov. Cooper has vetoed more laws than any other D-Governor.
Delaware’s appointed Supreme Court just ruled that the Legislature can NOT bypass the Delaware Constitution with vote-by-mail and same day registration.
Of course, other states have super-majority D legislatures. It was New York Court that overturned, and replaced, their blatant gerrymander in time for the 2022 election with four GOP flips for the new 118th Congress. About Santos? I wonder what Lee Zeldin is thinking. Santos came close in NY-3rd in 2020 – he was ahead until NYS slowly counted for weeks, the absentee mail-in ballots. House Rs should close ranks to see him seated. Yeah, because, Biden et al.
MAGA-R NC Rep. Dan Bishop won a do-over special election for NC-9th, Sept. 10, 2019.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_North_Carolina%27s_9th_congressional_district_special_electionBishop hit his 2020 and 2022 re-elections out of the park.
Hope you saw his Twitter thread on the omnibus “budget”.
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1605253710753501186.htmlSeveral news media used those details, $, without citation. Musk replied “very informative thread”
Bishop is likely new Chair of House Homeland Security Ctte. He’s been in the crosshairs not just for J62021, but, because, as a NC State Senator, he authored the 2016 “Bathroom Bill” HB2.
Oh – Arizona is toast with Governor-elect Hobbs. Perhaps Lake will win on appeal. I can not keep track of AZ, but 20″ paper should be illegal for 19″ ballots.
Very thoughtful post: Dec. 24, 2022 Sanctions Won’t End Russia’s War in Ukraine. Although Western sanctions against Russia have imposed high costs on all parties, economic warfare alone won’t end the war in Ukraine. by Mariya Grinber (Prof Mearsheimer protégé)
No time to edit, especially while struggling to find a reason to look forward to 2023 after the Great American Family Channel Xmas movies are over. Hallmark Channel’s best stars migrated to the new, traditional family GAF.
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