Category Archives: political news

Voter fraud issue is, um, a fraud

I want to give a serious full-throated shout-out to The Hill newspaper for providing a marvelous bit of perspective on the phony issue of voter fraud as it concerns the possibility of an all-mail vote for president of the United States later this year.

To sum it up: The fraudulent vote issue is a fraudulent allegation.

There you have it.

The Hill takes pains to point out that mail fraud is the rarest of political events in the United States. Moreover, it points out that in the state that began all-mail voting, the instance of mail fraud is even more rare than it is nationally. Oregon, the state where I was born, was the first of our states to conduct all-mail voting and has enjoyed great success in protecting the sanctity of this cherished right of citizenship.

Read The Hill story here.

Voter fraud has become a red herring, a canard, a phony excuse to keep more Americans from voting. Republicans are leading the amen chorus seeking to persuade Americans that mail-in voting invites fraudulent ballot-casting. The leader of that chorus is Donald John “Stable Genius in Chief” Trump, who of course tosses out that demagogic rhetoric without a scintilla of evidence to back it up.

All-mail voting is not the way I want to cast my ballot, but if the coronavirus is going to suppress the balloting because Americans fear potential deadly exposure to the virus, then all-mail voting is reasonable — and secure — alternative.

The voter fraud demagoguery needs to be called out for what it is: a bald-faced effort to suppress voter turnout as a dodge to protect certain politicians’ from losing their cherished perches of power.

Patrick swills the voter fraud Kool-Aid

Texas Gov. Lt. Dan Patrick must’ve been mighty thirsty.

So what does he do? He grabs a helping of the Kool-Aid being served by Donald Trump and his Republican pals to put down efforts to expand all-mail voting in time for the 2020 presidential election.

Patrick, a Republican, says all-mail voting is a ploy by Democrats to “steal an election.” Do you get where he’s coming from?

He allegedly thinks that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt, that it promotes rampant fraudulent voting. Well, it doesn’t. State election officials where mail-in voting occurs swear by its integrity.

However, at the risk of being accused of engaging in “what-aboutism,” I want to offer this brief note.

If Patrick thinks Democrats are trying to “steal” an election by encouraging more voters to cast ballots, it’s fair to wonder if Republicans are trying their own game of theft by limiting voter participation.

In some quarters, they call it “voter suppression,” which is what many GOP officials have tried to do in several states.

So, for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to toss out the voter theft accusation against Democrats, he ought to come clean on whether his own objection to mail-in voting is based on his own version of trying to “steal” an election.

What’s more, it isn’t “laughable,” as Patrick suggests, for anyone younger than 65 to fear voting “in person.” Really, Dan? He should talk to any of the family members of younger victims of the killer disease. Tell them how laughable it is.

What happens if Trump loses?

REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

This notion, as preposterous as it sounds, is worth pondering nevertheless, given Donald Trump’s extreme penchant for unpredictability.

What happens if Donald Trump loses the presidential election and (a) rejects the results and (b) refuses to vacate the White House?

You are entitled to snicker and maybe even guffaw at the notion. However, some learned political pros are talking about it out loud. That tells me that even though they dismiss the reject and refuse-to-leave notion as implausible, they are still talking about it … which means it’s, well, possible.

I have posed this notion already not long after Trump took office. Some of my Trumpster friends and acquaintances scolded me for suggesting such a thing. However, with this guy nothing on this good Earth is beyond the realm of possibility.

He has ranted already about “rigged” elections. He accused “millions of illegal immigrants” of voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but hasn’t yet produced a shred of evidence to back up the spurious claim. When every pundit on Earth was predicting Hillary would defeat Trump, the Huckster in Chief said he would lose only because the election would be rigged in Hillary’s favor.

Does anyone with a half a noodle in their noggin actually believe that Donald Trump would orchestrate a smooth and orderly transition to Joseph Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee?

The campaign already is shaping up to be the most hideous, the nastiest, the most innuendo-filled, defamatory campaign in anyone’s memory. It makes me shudder to ponder what could happen in case Donald Trump loses this election.

Trump will say anything, will resort to any tactic he can consider to win a second term. If he loses, well, we ought to prepare for the worst.

Memo to Trumpkins: Voting by mail is secure … period!

I have a number of Trumpkins among my many social media contacts. Some of them are actual friends of mine; others are members of my family; the rest are just, well, folks who take some measure of joy out of blasting my anti-Donald Trump thoughts on this blog.

Let’s try this one: Mail-in voting does not invite voter fraud. It is not corrupt, as Donald Trump his own self has alleged. It works in the states that allow it.

We ought to be able to vote by mail for president of the United States in November.

You know already that voting by mail is not my preferred method. I would rather troop to the polling place, stand in line and then cast my ballot on Election Day.

Circumstances, though, have overtaken that process. We have this thing called the coronavirus pandemic that’s infecting thousands of Americans daily. It has killed more of us than those who died during the Vietnam War and that number of fatalities continues to climb.

So what is the alternative to traditional voting for president this fall? Mail-in balloting works for me. It ought to work for all Americans who are interested in having their voices heard.

Have I mentioned that I want Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump in that election? I guess I just did.

My concern about the upcoming presidential election is steeped more in the preservation of our fundamental right as citizens. We should be always encourage more citizens to vote, not seek to suppress that participation, which could be one result of declining to allow mail-in balloting and exposing Americans to the threat of a deadly viral infection by requiring them to cast their Election Day votes in polling places.

Texas isn’t exactly clamoring for the chance to vote by mail. We remain behind the electoral reform curve on that issue, just as we have been lagging in testing equipment available to detect the COVID-19 infection among Texans. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, furthermore, said he plans to appeal a judicial ruling handed down recently that paves the way for mail-in voting in Texas.

Trump wants to tamp down voter turnout. He denigrates mail-in balloting by saying it is “corrupt.” He offers no proof. He just makes reckless, ridiculous accusations. Meanwhile, secretaries of states that work in states that do allow mail-in voting tell us that they secure those ballots; they require voters to prove their eligibility; they report the tiniest of fractions of voter fraud. In effect, they tell us that there is no evidence of the voter corruption that Trump and others say exists.

If we want good government, then we need to have more — not fewer — citizens participating in the fundamental right of citizenship. If mail-in voting is the cure for what ails us while we battle a killer infection … then bring it!

Report confirms it: Russians attacked our election in 2016

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

As if we didn’t know it already.

KHOU-TV in Houston reports that a Senate committee has determined that Russia attacked our electoral system in 2016, a notion that Donald John Trump has disputed, siding with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and denigrating our intelligence community’s analysis.

KHOU said: A bipartisan Senate report released Tuesday confirms the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to sow chaos. Senators warned that it could happen again this presidential election year.

What do you know about that?

This whole story became served as the starting point for the lengthy investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump fought it like crazy. He disparaged special counsel Robert Mueller III’s work to get at the truth. Trump kept insisting it was “fake news,” and a “hoax.”

It was nothing of the sort.

Then he stood before the world in Helsinki and said he believed Putin’s denial and dismissed the consensus developed by the nation’s intelligence network.

This investigation effectively closes the book on that terrible chapter in our electoral history. However, the warning from senators should not be ignored, that the Russians are doing it again this year. They are seeking to sow chaos once more.

Are we going to impose security measures that build impenetrable walls around our voting process? Isn’t this a matter of national security?

Donald Trump took an oath to protect our way of life, to be on guard against hostile actions from foreign nations and to take action to defend us.

This prediction is an easy one to make: Donald Trump is going to violate his oath of office once again by doing nothing to stop this likely attack from a hostile power.

Protests mar effort to save lives

Economic hardship has run face-first into physical hardship.

Governors across the nation have imposed stay at home, shelter in place and social distancing orders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Their intent is to save lives, to prevent the virus from infecting people and exposing them to possible death.

These actions have invoked clear economic consequences. Business is hurting badly. People have lost their jobs. Businesses have gone under; those that survive are doing so … barely.

Now we see protests mounting in capital cities. Americans want their governors to rescind those orders. They want the nation to get back to work.

And then we have Donald John Trump weighing in with his ridiculous Twitter tantrums and tirades, sowing the seeds of discontent.

He sent out messages that urge us to “LIBERATE” three state: Virginia, Minnesota and Michigan. The Twitter mantra takes aim at states governed by Democrats. Our pseudo-Republican president wants them scorned by their residents. He wants those residents to vote for him this November when Trump stands for re-election, most likely against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

While everyone understands that dissent is as American as any political act imaginable, we also must understand that dissent must have limits. People’s physical well-being sits squarely on the other side of that barrier.

So, when those folks protest against governors’ orders to protect them against a killer virus, and when Donald Trump tweets his desire to “LIBERATE” certain states, this great American concept of political dissent puts Americans’ health — and their very lives — in potentially mortal danger.

Still prefer old-fashioned voting method, unless danger lurks

Readers of this blog know already that I prefer voting in person on Election Day, standing in a voting booth, selecting my candidates in secret.

That is how I would like to vote for president of the United States on Nov. 3. However, circumstances — and you know what they are — might force all of us to change the way we cast our ballots.

I am OK with that change, if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t sufficiently put down in time for Election Day.

A Texas judge has issued a ruling that greatly enhances absentee and mail-in voting in Texas. The ruling’s most direct impact will be on the July primary runoff contests that were pushed back from late May. That damn pandemic got in the way of our runoffs, too.

Looking ahead to the big day in November, it remains my fervent hope that federal election officials are seeking ways to allow all Americans the chance to vote by mail if circumstances demand it. And — of course — Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump is railing against voting by mail.

He has leveled a specious argument that is similar to what he alleged after the 2016 election, that mail-in voting invites illegal voting by individuals. Again, just as he always does, Trump has leveled a charge without a scintilla of evidence to back it up. Do you recall how he alleged that 5 million undocumented immigrants cast votes in California enabling Hillary Rodham Clinton to roll up her impressive popular vote margin in 2016 over Trump? He never produced a shred of proof for any of that.

He’s at it again, saying a system that has worked well in the states that use mail-in voting is corrupt and that the results aren’t to be believed.

There is ample, overwhelming evidence to suggest that “widespread voter fraud” in this country is a phony argument. Yes, some ballots are cast illegally, but they comprise a teeny-tiny fraction of all the ballots cast.

Donald Trump likely is going to face Joe Biden later this year. The pandemic might preclude an election that we’ve always known it, resulting in a nationwide mail-in balloting system. We need not reinvent the wheel here.

Election experts in several states can help develop a mail-in national election system that is secure, that can be protected against potential fraud.

I am one American who prefers the pageantry of Election Day. I want to be able to cast my ballot the way I always have done when voting for president. If we cannot do so safely, without endangering our health, then I am all in on a mail-in system.

We must not knuckle under to the demagogic trash spewed by a president who — and this only is just my view — is sounding like someone who is petrified at the result a mail-in presidential election would produce.

Donald Trump: phony-baloney expert

It’s hard to make a determinative conclusion on this matter, but I have long been certain that Donald J. Trump is the prime No. 1 expert on dishing out phony-baloney nonsense.

He said this week that he opposes mail-in voting because it is fraught with corruption. The nation’s current president said mail-in voting invites illegal balloting, that those who aren’t registered to vote are able to do so.

Oh, and as he told his pals at Fox News, mail-in voting would deny the election of Republicans. Oh! That’s it! He said that the greater access to voting for Americans the lesser the chance of electing Republicans.

What an absolute crock of manure!

We face an election this November. We also are in the middle of a huge fight against coronavirus, which has killed more than 14,000 Americans. It is highly infectious and it well might compel this nation to fundamentally change the way we vote for president.

To be absolutely clear, I prefer the old-fashioned method of going to the polling place and casting my ballot while standing in a booth. I dislike early voting. I like the pageantry of Election Day.

But … I am not willing to risk my health or the health of others in the midst of this life-and-death struggle against COVID-19. So, I am willing to take part in a mail-in election.

Several states vote by mail already. Their elections are secure. The votes are calculated accurately. Registered voters get their ballots mailed to them at their homes. They are able to mark their ballots and send them back to the appropriate election agency.

It also increases voter turnout. Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we prefer that more citizens take part in this process than fewer of them? Isn’t that the essence of a democratic society? Not in Donald Trump’s view of the world.

The president wants to restrict voter turnout, sounding to my way of thinking that he endorses what they call “voter suppression.” What’s more, he is dipping into his treasure trove of “big lies” to persuade his base that mail-in voting is corrupt.

It isn’t any more suspect than what we have witnessed in our lifetimes already. Hmm. The 2000 presidential election and the Florida recount fiasco comes to mind.

Donald Trump’s shameless dishing out of baloney is on full display.

Despicable.

Bernie calls it a campaign

The long and winding road to the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination has begun finally to show signs of straightening out … even as it is paused for a time while the nation wages war against the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ decision to drop out of the race leaves the nomination wide open for former Vice President Joe Biden, who now becomes the party’s presumptive nominee. I had hoped Sanders would have made this call sooner, but then again no one is talking overly seriously just yet about politics while the nation is essentially shut down during this health crisis.

Sanders did put up a valiant fight. I’ll give him credit for that. The 78-year-old independent senator from Vermont has written a significant chapter in the nation’s 21st-century political history. He helped push forward some important progressive ideas and possibly dragged much of the Democratic Party along with him.

Many of those ideas, though, were non-starters with mainstream Democrats: Medicare for all comes to mind, as does free public college and across-the-board college debt forgiveness.

Indeed, the self-described “democratic socialist” cannot claim too many legislative victories during his lengthy time in Congress.

He fought hard and now it’s time for him to rally his legions of supporters behind the remaining candidate who can rid this nation of the Liar in Chief who masquerades as president.

Sanders and Biden share the same overarching goal: defeating Donald Trump. Any sort of third-party effort from the left is certain to produce a second term for the man many of us consider to be the most fundamentally unfit human being ever elected to the U.S. presidency.

I’m glad to hear the news that Sen. Sanders has called it quits in his bid to become president. It soon will be time to get to work to usher Trump out of the Oval Office for the final time.

But … first things first. We all have to wage this difficult fight against a killer disease.

Time to ‘re-defeat’ Donald Trump?

A late friend of mine in Amarillo, William H. “Buddy” Seewald, once told me during the 2004 presidential election season that he was working to “re-defeat” President George W. Bush.

Seewald was appalled at the manner in which Bush was elected in 2000, losing the actual vote by roughly 500,000 ballots but winning the presidency in the Electoral College by a vote of 271-266; and that vote came after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to stop recounting the ballots cast in Florida, giving Bush a 537-vote margin out of more than 5 million ballots cast in that state.

Well, Bush won the 2004 election by a relatively comfortable margin.

Now comes the 2020 election and there well might be a revival of the “re-defeat” mantra, this time against Donald John Trump, the current president.

You see, Trump actually lost the vote to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who collected just short of 3 million more ballots than did the guy who “won” the election. Trump won the Electoral College by a 306-232 count; when the electors cast their ballots in December 2016, the final tally ended up at 304-227, with some electors voting for other candidates rather than the two major-party contestants.

What has gotten lost in all the hubbub surrounding that election is that Clinton actually finished where almost all the public opinion polls said she would. She finished with 48.02 percent of the vote, compared to Trump, who collected 45.93 percent.

All the pre-election polling pegged Clinton ahead by about the margin where she finished ahead of Trump. The difference came when Trump narrowly picked off those three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that Barack Obama had won in 2008 and2012; those stated provide Trump with the Electoral College majority he needed to win the election.

I don’t dispute that Trump was elected according to the U.S. Constitution. Nor do I dispute the notion to which I subscribe that he needs to be “re-defeated” in 2020.

Wherever he is, I am certain my friend Buddy Seewald would agree.