Every vote counts

Does it? In a true Democracy, three Presidents since 1988 would have lost.

 In a simple system of majority rule, Mr. Biden’s thumping margin of more than seven million votes would have been the last word. For that matter, so would Hillary Clinton’s national margin of nearly three million votes in 2016: Mr. Trump would not have had a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address in which to barricade himself in 2020.Jedediah Britton-Purdy in the January 2, 2022, issue of the New York Times.

It is true that we are not a true Democracy, as Britton-Purdy, a professor of Constitutional Law, contends in a commentary leading up to the preceding statement. Not even close, and we nearly lost what’s left of it with a systematic and strategic scheme to steal an election that the incumbent President lost by millions of votes— an average of more than 140,000 votes per each of the fifty states.  Not only is the claim properly known as the Big Lie, but such massive election fraud is certainly beyond the grasp of Democrats who couldn’t even gain control of the Senate and in the same election saw their advantage in the House to dwindle from 35 seats to 10 over the Republicans.

Now the man whose name as a verb is synonymous with “devised fraudulently,” as in trumped-up, is getting just what he wants from the political party he seduced into acquiescing to outright sedition on his behalf. It has come to a rewriting of history this past week by the Republican National Committee, diminishing a horrific attack on Democracy to a protest akin to MLK’s peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations. The events on January 6, 2021, are a long way from a peaceful sit-in at an all-white diner or marching on behalf of racially discriminated workers. These protestors took their lumps and were hauled off to jail for standing their ground, and they attacked no governmental institutions.

The Republican National Committee stated for the record that the assault on the U.S. Capitol thirteen months ago was nothing more than “legitimate political discourse.” Now if you kill and injure people protecting the seat of your government, it goes well beyond discourse, which is defined as a verbal expression or verbal exchange. Yes, there was the verbal part in the exclamations of those erudite trespassers that day like “kill Mike Pence,” “string up Pelosi” and “where’s that &%&#@ Romney?” Let’s just say they weren’t there to conduct a town meeting.

The Republican honchos went further than that after a year of vacillating on whether sedition and treason are acceptable forms or protest or tourism. They censured, after discoursing behind closed doors, two of their Republican peers, Congresswoman Liz Cheyney and Congressman Adam Kinzinger, for condemning the assault on the Capitol and for participating in the investigation into the causes and effects of the events of that day.

Of course, we got to witness a lot of it in real time, and it was overwhelming. At first, even Republican faithful like Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz were shaking in their boots on the heels (pun intended) of the attack with McCarthy calling the deposed President and begging him to call it off. Graham was moved to lament the following day, and I quote: “The first thing that stands out to me is how embarrassed and disgusted I am that the United States Capitol could be taken over by domestic terrorists while we’re in session, transferring power from one president to the other.”

A year later Sen. Graham preferred to vent his anger over that dark day on the current administration for “politicizing” the attack by calling attention to it on its first anniversary. At this point, it is not known whether he, too, has downgraded what happened that day from domestic terrorism to harmless verbal exchange, but his outrage quickly dissipated.

Trump has already been implicated by his publicly uttered words as the inspiration and behind-the-scenes supporter for those who carried his flags into what you might call the Battle of Election Rejection in their quest to wrest the Presidency back to him. Much to his great displeasure, his defeat was confirmed that day by Vice President Pence. Much to his pleasure, he excitedly watched what happened next— the deadly fruits of his haranguing speech that fueled the attempted invasion and kept a live alive more than a year later.

But we all know about that. It’s just a matter of interpretation. Terrorism or discourse?

By the way, to the credit of the Republican National Committee, they did back off total repudiation that what happened that day was just another day on Capitol Hill by saying that they were not necessarily excusing the violent actions of “the ordinary citizens” who did break the law that day. Seems pretty clear to me that everyone who invaded hallowed ground that day were breaking the law and certainly exceeding the definition of discourse.

Okay, “hallowed” is a little over the top. This is the same institution where the seeds of secession were planted on behalf of slavery. Make that states’ rights. Yeah, that’s what it was. It was the right of states to enslave human beings. There were a lot on unhallowed things that happened there before and since, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep hoping for the better. The fact that this stolen election scenario is still accepted by a large percentage of Americans, particularly Republicans, is not reassuring.

As for the censured congressional pair, Romney summed it up best when he stated: “Honor attaches to Liz Cheyney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so came at great personal cost.”

I know this is never going to happen, but I think things would be a lot simpler in a real Democracy. The winner, or the person with the most votes, takes all, and let’s dump this Electoral College process with all the gerrymandering, the complexity and confusion it brings with it. Jedediah Britton-Purdy, the Constitutional Law expert mentioned previously, points out that the extreme elements benefit most from not deciding the winner of a Presidential election by a majority vote. There were ordinary citizens there that day, but the ones who turned it into domestic terrorism were extremists. Extremists don’t make as big a difference in the popular vote.

So Biden wins by over seven million votes, but, according to Britton-Purdy, by flipping barely 43,000 votes in three closely contested states Trump would have won. No wonder we’re all confused, and it’s no wonder Republicans aren’t that enthused by any prospect of a real democracy. Only one Republican has won the presidential popular vote since 1988, and yet three Republican Presidents spanning a total of four four-year terms, starting with George H. W. Bush, have occupied the White House over that 32-year span up to Biden. This expands to presidential appointments of I don’t know how many Republican conservative judges over those 16 years of presidential power.